Steps in the Hague Adoption Convention Adoption Process

  • Choose an Accredited ASP (Adoption Service Provider)
  • First, select an adoption service provider from the State Department's list of accredited providers. The adoption service provider will guide you through the adoption process and provide services such as performing the home study.

  • File Form I-800A with USCIS
  • USCIS must find that you are eligible and suitable to adopt a child from a Convention country. Submit Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country to USCIS along with your home study and other documents.  You may download the instructions for Form I-800A here and the form itself here. As part of the review, prospective adoptive parents submit their fingerprints to be checked against criminal and child abuse registries. See the USCIS website for more information on fingerprinting. Once approved, you or your adoption service provider transmits the I-800A and supporting documents to the country from which you plan to adopt.

    Form I-800A must be filed before being matched with a child (and before Form I-800).

  • Convention Country Matches You with a Child
  • The Convention country where you plan to adopt reviews the Form I-800A and accepts you as a prospective adoptive parent. The country then matches you with a child and sends a report on the child's medical and social history - called an Article 16 Report - through the adoption service provider. You have two weeks to accept the match.

  • File Form I-800 with USCIS
  • In order to accept the match, you must file Form I-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative) and the Article 16 Report with USCIS.  You can download Form I-800 here, and the instructions to Form I-800 here. USCIS reviews Form I-800 to determine whether the child qualifies as a Convention adoptee. If needed, submit any waiver applications to cover known or suspected visa ineligibilities at this time as well. USCIS then provisionally approves the I-800 and any waiver applications and sends the file to the Department of State.

    The INA identifies ineligibilities, or reasons that disqualify a foreign national from receiving a visa. In some cases, a visa applicant may apply to USCIS for a waiver of ineligibility. See the USCIS website for more information on waivers and filing Form I-601 ( Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility).

  • Submit Visa Application (Form DS-230) to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • The National Visa Center will notify you by letter when your case has been assigned to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The embassy or consulate will provide instructions on the next steps including submission of the immigrant visa application (Form DS-230) to the embassy or consulate. Certain cases require the nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-156, instead; be sure to check with your ASP. At this stage, a consular officer reviews the application to determine whether the child appears to qualify for the visa.

  • Consular Officer Sends Article 5 Letter to Foreign Central Authority
  • After reviewing the visa application, the consular officer sends the Convention country's Central Authority notification - through what is called an Article 5 Letter - that you are approved as a suitable adoptive parent and that the child will be able to enter and reside permanently in the United States. The Central Authority is the entity designated by each Convention member country to serve as the central point of contact for Convention adoptions. For the United States, the Central Authority is the Department of State.

    WARNING: Do not adopt or obtain custody of the child until the consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter.

  • Adopt or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child
  • With the issuance of the Article 5 Letter, you may adopt or obtain legal custody of the child.

  • Convention Country Issues Article 23 Certificate or Equivalent
  • The Convention country certifies that the adoption or grant of custody complies with the Convention by issuing an Article 23 Certificate. This may take the form of the adoption or custody decree and may be sent directly to the consular officer at the Embassy or Consulate.

  • Final Visa Interview at the Embassy or Consulate
  • Once the child's file is complete, the Embassy or Consulate will schedule the final visa interview. The child must appear before the consular officer if he or she did not do so at the time of the initial visa application review. During the interview, present the valid adoption or custody decree.

  • Embassy or Consulate issues Hague Certificate, Approves I-800, and Issues the IH-3 or IH-4 Visa
  • At the final visa interview the consular officer issues you a Hague Certificate to certify that the adoption or grant of custody meets the requirements of the Convention and the IAA, grants final approval of the I-800 petition, and issues your child the IH-3 or IH-4 visa.

For more detailed information about immigration Process for Adopting a child from a Hague Convention Country, please visit on one of the following relevant links: