Outgoing Cases: FAQ’s

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Q: How do you determine whether the Convention applies in a case involving U.S. citizen prospective adoption parent(s) residing abroad who seek to adopt a child in the United States?

The Convention applies to an outgoing (emigrating) adoption of a child resident in the United States by a prospective adoptive parent(s) resident in a foreign Convention country (receiving country), where the prospective adoptive parent(s) will move the child to the receiving country after the adoption is completed in the United States or if custody is granted in the United States for the purpose of final adoption in the receiving country.

U.S. citizens living abroad in another Hague Adoption Convention country who plan to adopt a child residing in the United States or a third country, should be aware that the country in which they live may require them to follow local adoption laws and procedures as the receiving country in a Convention adoption, in order for the child to enter that country legally.

Prospective adoptive parents should therefore consult the Central Authority of the receiving country prior to initiating an adoption. Contact information for Central Authorities can be found in the Country Information section of the adoption website, www.adoption.state.gov. Prospective adoptive parents may also contact the Office of Children’s Issues to seek assistance in accessing information from the receiving country on the applicable adoption and immigration requirements.

The receiving country may require that an adoption be processed as a Hague Convention intercountry adoption even in cases where the child and the prospective adoptive parents are U.S. citizens. Adoptive parents’ failure to comply with local adoption laws and procedures to which their adoption may be subject could result in the adopted child’s inadmissibility to enter the receiving country or if admitted, difficulties regarding status and even custody. .

Q: Do U.S. laws implementing the Convention apply to an adoption of a child resident in the U.S by a U.S. citizen residing in another Convention country if both U.S. and the other Convention country’s Central Authorities have determined the prospective adoptive parent to be habitually resident in the United States?

No, U.S. domestic adoption laws and regulations of the U.S. State where the adoption takes place would apply. However, if the Central Authority of the Convention country where the U.S. prospective adoptive parent(s) reside considers the prospective adoptive parent(s) to be habitually resident in that country, the prospective adoptive parent(s) should proceed with the case as an outgoing Convention adoption case and comply with the Convention country’s local adoption laws and procedures so that the child can enter and reside in that country.

Q: When does the “transition rule” apply to outgoing cases?

Under the Intercountry Adoption Act’s “transition rule,” the Convention and the Act do not apply in the case of a child emigrating from the United States “if the prospective adoptive parent(s) of the child initiated the adoption process in their country of residence with the filing of an appropriate application” before April 1, 2008.

The Department considers the phrase “initiate the adoption process in their country of residence with the filing of an appropriate application” to mean any formal, written effort undertaken prior to April 1, 2008, to initiate the adoption process in the prospective adoptive parent(s)’ country of residence filed with (received by) an authorized entity in that country.

Such formal, written efforts may include a written application or request to start the adoption process to the foreign central authority, to the responsible government office, or to any other entity delegated the authority to receive such applications/requests. This could include, depending on the legal structure of the country where the adoption was initiated, an application for determination of the prospective adoptive parent’s eligibility and suitability to adopt filed with the entity with jurisdiction over such process.

Q: Who may conduct home studies in outgoing Convention cases?

The foreign-authorized adoption service provider working with the prospective adoptive parent(s) is responsible for completing the home study. The home study must be prepared in accordance with the laws of the receiving country and must include the content described in 22 CFR § 97.3(d).

Q: I am a U.S. citizen residing abroad, but my spouse or partner is not. Would the Convention apply to our adoption of a U.S. child?

If a U.S. citizen residing abroad in another Hague Adoption Convention country, whose spouse or partner is not a U.S. citizen, plans to adopt a child residing in the United States, they should consult the Central Authority of the country in which they are residing prior to initiating an adoption. The Department would consider an adoption of a U.S. child by a U.S. citizen to be a U.S. domestic adoption if the prospective adoptive parent is domiciled in the United States or is planning on returning to establish a domicile in the United States at any point before the child’s 18th birthday. However, if the prospective adoptive parent holds dual citizenship in the United States and another Convention country, their spouse or partner is not a U.S. citizen, and/or the country in which they live considers them to be habitual residents, that country may require them to follow local adoption laws and procedures as the receiving country in a Convention adoption, in order for the child to enter that country legally.