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International adoption using IR-4 and IH-4 visas

For many parents, adopting internationally is key to growing their family. However, it does not take long to understand that this process is often lengthy and complicated, especially when it comes to actually bringing a child into the United States from another country. The U.S. government issues several different kinds of visas to children entering the country on an adoption basis, and the privileges and status of the child may vary significantly depending on the type of visa issued.

If a child is outside of the country when the adoption process takes place, then he or she must obtain an immigrant visa, commonly an IR-4 or IH-4. The issuing agency is usually the Department of State housed in the embassy or consulate of the United States in the country where the child resides.

Children who receive IR-4 or IH-4 visas automatically obtain permanent resident cards, or green cards, upon arrival. This means that such a child does not automatically receive citizenship. Rather, the child receives permanent resident status, which converts to citizenship once the adoption finalizes, provided it occurs before the child's 18th birthday.

If you hope to grow your own family through international adoption, it is important to make sure that you have all the legal understanding necessary to navigate this complicated process effectively. An experienced immigration attorney can help you examine the circumstances of the child you hope to adopt and prepare a personalized strategy to keep your privileges and rights protected as you work to bring the child you love to the U.S.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Before Your Child Immigrates to the United States," accessed April 25, 2018

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