USCIS Clarifies Guidance on Adopting a Child Through the Hague Adoption Convention Process

USCIS Clarifies Guidance on Adopting a Child Through the Hague Adoption Convention Process

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On June 14, 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify how prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) can adopt a child through the Hague Adoption Convention process. This policy manual update affirms our commitment to the standards and principles of the Hague Adoption Convention, including safeguards to protect the best interests of children.

What You Need to Know
This update consolidates and clarifies existing guidance to provide clear requirements for the Hague process. The update: 

  • Explains how a foreign-born child may be eligible to be adopted through the Hague process; 
  • Describes the required order of immigration and adoption steps, including that a PAP should not adopt a child or obtain legal custody of a child for purposes of emigration and adoption before they complete certain required steps in the Hague process; and  
  • Clarifies requirements for using adoption service providers, including the use of an accredited or approved primary provider and requirements following a loss of accreditation.   

The Convention of May 29, 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, known as the Hague Adoption Convention, is an international treaty that provides safeguards to protect children, birth parents, and PAPs in intercountry adoptions. The convention ensures the appropriate authorities in a child’s country of origin deem a child eligible for adoption before placing the child with a PAP for intercountry adoption.   

The convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008. Since then, U.S. citizens who are habitually resident in the United States must generally follow the Hague process if they seek to adopt a child who is habitually resident in another country that is a party to the convention. For the Hague process, a PAP must file both an application for USCIS to determine their suitability and eligibility as an adoptive parent and a petition to determine the child’s eligibility as a convention adoptee.

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