Last Updated: June 2013

What is Intercountry Adoption

Intercountry adoption is the process by which you:

  1. Adopt a child from a country other than your own through permanent legal means; and
  2. Bring that child to your country of residence to live with you permanently.

Intercountry adoption is similar to domestic adoption.  Both consist of the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parent(s) or other guardian to a new parent or parents.

Intercountry adoptions are different from domestic adoptions because of the laws that make it possible to bring the child to live where you live.  Generally speaking, to qualify as an adoption for immigration purposes into the United States, the adopted child must have the same status and relationship to the adoptive parents as a child by birth. What some countries call “adoptions” are more accurately described as guardianships under U.S. law and are not considered adoptions for U.S. immigration purposes.

Although the process can be intimidating, families from the United States adopt thousands of children in need of permanent and loving homes from other countries each year.  This website can provide you with valuable information on completing an intercountry adoption.  Please see our helpful guide on intercountry adoptions: