Who can be AdoptedLast Updated: November 2012
Convention Adoptees (Convention Countries)
Children being adopted from a Convention country must qualify as a Convention adoptee in order to immigrate to the United States. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines whether a particular child meets the definition of a Convention adoptee. To apply to USCIS for this determination, you use the following forms:
- Form I-800 - Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative
- Form I-800 petition - Instructions
Form I-800 and the required supporting documents are required for USCIS to determine that a child is eligible for classification as a Convention adoptee. In order to file Form I-800 with USCIS, you must have an approved, valid Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. See our eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents for more information about filing Form I-800A.
There are five primary elements to the Convention adoptee classification. In addition to other applicable requirements, all of the following must be true for a child to be eligible for the Convention adoptee classification:
- The child is under the age of 16 at the time Form I-800 is filed on his or her behalf (taking into account special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16), is unmarried, and lives in a Convention country. Since November 30, 2010, a child aged 16 or 17 may also qualify for Convention adoptee classification, provided he or she is a biological sibling of a child adopted, or who will be adopted, while under the age of 16 by the same adopting parents. Note that if a child turned 18 on or after April 1, 2008 and is the biological sibling of a child adopted or to be adopted by the same adopting parents, the parents have until November 30, 2012 to file a Form I-800 petition with USCIS on the older sibling’s behalf.
- The child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, habitually resident in the United States, whom USCIS has found suitable and eligible to adopt (Form I-800A approval) with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship. Note that at this stage the child must not have been adopted yet, unless that adoption has been voided by the country of origin.
- The child's birth parents (or parent if the child has a sole or surviving parent), or other legal custodian, individuals, or entities whose consent is necessary for adoption, freely gave their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the child's emigration and adoption;
- If the child has two living birthparents who were the last legal custodians who signed the irrevocable consent to adoption, they are determined to be incapable of providing proper care for the child; and
- The child has been adopted or will be adopted in the United States or in the Convention country in accordance with the rules and procedures elaborated in the Hague Adoption Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), including that accredited adoption service providers were used when required, and there is no indication of improper inducement, fraud, misrepresentation, or prohibited contact associated with the case.