Adopted Children

An adopted child may enjoy immigration benefits based on the adoption if:

  1. The adoption occurs prior to the child's 16th birthday;
  2. The adoptive parent(s) have had legal custody of the child for at least two years (before or after the adoption); and
  3. The child had resided with the adoptive parent(s) for at least two years (before or after the adoption).

If an alien child is adopted within the U.S. before the child's 16th birthday, there should be no problem establishing the relationship between the adoptive parent(s) and the child. If the adoption occurs outside the U.S., full legal documentation is extremely helpful for establishing a relationship that is valid for immigration purposes.  An adoption unaccompanied by legal papers, such as a common law adoption, may be more difficult to prove to an immigration officer .

Adopted Sibling:

A sibling of an adopted child is also considered a child for immigration purposes, if the following qualifications are met: 1) the same adoptive parent(s) also adopt the sibling while he/she is under age 18; 2) the original adopted child was adopted while under the age of 16; 3) the sibling has been in the custody of, and has resided with the adoptive parent(s) for at least two years.

For example, Niki, a 14 year old girl was adopted by a U.S. citizen couple. Six months later, her 17 year old brother Joseph was also adopted by the same couple. Joseph may enjoy immigration benefits based on the adoption if he has been in the custody of, and resided with this couple for two years.

For other information about Adoption and Immigration, please click on one of the following topics below:

A Brief Background for Adoption
Who can be considered as a child?
What about an adopted child?
Adopted by a US Citizen
Adopted by a Permanent Resident
Adopted by an Alien with a Valid Non-immigration Visa
The Immigration Procedure for Adoption
Citizenship of the Adopted Child
Adopted Child and His Natural Parents


Orphan Adoption Program and Eligibility
Advance Processing and Orphan Petitions
The Immigration Procedure for Adopted Orphans
Citizenship of the Adopted Orphan


Hague Convention Adoption and Eligibility
Differences between Hague adoptions (I-800) and orphan adoptions (I-600)

Frequently Asked Question about Adoption and Immigration

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