Once you have adopted your child in the foreign country and the adoption is finalized you will need to file either:
USCIS Form I-800 “Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative
USCIS Form I600 “Petition to Classify an Orphan as Immediate Relative”
These forms are filed with Citizenship and Immigration Services to ensure proper immigration and citizenship for your child. The I-800 or I-600 is usually submitted at the United States consulate in the country where the child is located. In some cases such as escorted adoptions, the form is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office for approval before the child is escorted or you travel to transport the child yourself. Your Primary Provider (aka International Adoption Placement Agency) should assist you with submitting this form.
These forms can be downloaded from the Citizenship and Immigration Services website www.uscis.gov
Now that you are home:
After immigrating into the United States with your child you may obtain your child’s original immigration documents from your Citizenship and Immigration Services District Office (New York City, Albany, or Buffalo for residents of New York State). You need to submit a “Request for the Return of Original Documents” (form number G-884) to your District Office. There is not a filing fee required for this form.
This form can also be downloaded from the Citizenship and Immigration Services website www.uscis.gov.
United States Re-adoption of the International Child
After you welcome your child home, you will need to decide whether or not to re-adopt your child in your county family court. The United States Department of State recommends the re-adoption of all children adopted internationally even if the adoption is finalized overseas. In New York State, you must re-adopt your child if the child immigrated into the United States with an “IR-4” or “IH-4” visa, which occurs if:
- Only one person travels to adopt the child in the foreign country
- The child is escorted to the United States by an adoption professional
- The adoption is finalized in the child’s country of origin prior to you seeing the child
- The child comes home under guardianship
Re-adoption is, however optional if both parents or a single parent sees the child before the adoption is finalized in the foreign country and your child is issued an IR-3 or IH-3 visa. New York State recognizes such foreign adoption decrees but not all US states recognizes such adoptions.
Most of the time adoption finalization or re-adoption is a straight forward process but be prepared, in some cases a judge may ask for documents that don’t exist or are not available to you. For this reason, Family Connections, Inc. strongly recommends that you use an adoption attorney to assist you in the re-adoption. Family Connections can help you locate an attorney upon your request.
If you choose to re-adopt or are legally required to readopt, Family Connections recommends that you readopt soon after you arrive home. Try to do it close to your first post placement visit and it may save you some money, as many courts will accept the post placement reports. If you are in a tax time crunch, begin the process as soon as you arrive home. Some courts may require you to wait 90 days after arriving home before you apply for re-adoption; please check with your local family court or your attorney.
For re-adoption, in New York, you will need the following paperwork:
- Marriage certificate – certified copy
- Divorce decree(s) if applicable – certified copy
- International adoption decree and translations – attorney certified copies
- Child’s birth certificate and translation (court will need to see originals)– attorney certified copy
- Passport – attorney certified copy with alien registration number stamped
- State forms prepared by attorney
- Post placement report(s) (Some courts require the post-adoption placement visit to occur within 30 days of the re-adoption so schedule accordingly)
- Home study
- Child abuse clearances - updated
- Screening from the Vulnerable Person’s Central Register
- Criminal clearances - updated
- Medicals for parents
- Other documents requested by the court
A Special Note Regarding Clearances: Some County Courts do not accept the adoption agency’s criminal clearances or child abuse clearances and they will make you do them again.
A Special Note Regarding Original Adoption Documents: Since you usually only have one copy of original international adoption documents you do not want the court to keep them. The Court may however wish to view the original documents.
Registration of Foreign Adoption In New York Courts
If both parents or a single parent sees the child before the adoption is finalized in the foreign country and the child immigrates into the United States with an “IR-3” or “IH-3” visa you are not required to re-adopt the child in New York courts. However, you can register your foreign adoption and complete a legal name change for the child in your county’s Family Court. To determine how to register the foreign adoption and complete a name change please contact your county’s Family Court.
New York State Birth Data Record
After finalization of your adoption (re-adoption) or the registration of your foreign adoption in your county court, your child may obtain a New York State Birth Data Record (equal to a birth certificate) from the State Department of Health. For more information on obtaining a New York State birth data records: www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/
United States Citizenship
If your child’s adoption was finalized overseas and both parents traveled to adopt the child, the child is a United States citizen as soon as the child enters the country through immigration with an “IR-3” or “IH-3” visa at your point of entry. You will receive your child’s citizenship certificate from Citizenship and Immigration Services approximately 45days after arriving home. If the child is escorted into the United States or only one spouse travels or the adoption is finalized before the parents travel the child will immigrate with an “IR-4” or “IH-4” visa and be considered a Permanent Alien Resident. The child will receive an Alien Resident card (aka Green Card) from Citizenship and Immigration Services shortly after the child arrives in the United States. The child will become a United States citizen upon the re-adoption of the child in your county’s Family Court. You will need to apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Services after the re-adoption to receive the child’s citizenship certificate.
Application For Social Security Card
After you return with your child from the country of his/her birth, you will have to apply for a social security card or a tax identification number in order to claim the tax credit and/or the deduction on your federal income tax return. You will need to apply by going to the Social Security office and apply in person. You will need to take your original adoption and citizenship documents and a photocopy of those documents to the Social Security Administration. Do not let them keep any original documents, as there is no way to replace them.
Some countries let you choose the name for the child and some just give the child their original name and your last name. If you are changing the name of the child to something different than his/her legal name at the time of the adoption, it may be better to wait for the re-adoption or the citizenship process before you apply for the social security card. If you apply for a social security card with your foreign documents, you will have to fill in a form and change the name on the social security records at some future date.
If the tax season is upon you may apply for a “Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions” using form W-7A. You can find form on the www.irs.gov website. It takes approximately 4 to 8 weeks to obtain an identification number. The number will expire 2 years from the date it is issued.
Keep the joy of your future child in mind as you climb this mountain of paperwork and negotiate this seemingly endless bureaucracy.
If you would like more information on international adoption click on the link below to download our International Adoption Guide.
Family Connections, Inc. is a New York State authorized child placing agency that has achieved Hague Accreditation through the Council on Accreditation. Our agency provides home study and post adoption/post placement supervision services.