Steps in the Non-Convention Adoption Process

  • Optional Filing of Form I-600A with USCIS
  • USCIS must determine your suitability as an adoptive parent; you are required to file Form I-600A (Application of Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) to establish this. Form I-600A is not designed to evaluate a particular child's classification as an orphan. Filing it can help you get a head start on the intercountry adoption process. Together with Form I-600A, prospective adoptive parents submit a home study, their fingerprints, and other documents. You can download Form I-600A and the instructions to that form here and here.  See the USCIS website for special fingerprint instructions for Forms I-600A and I-600.

  • Adopt or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child
  • Adopt or obtain legal custody of the child in his or her country of residence.

  • File Form I-600 with USCIS
  • File Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) and supporting documents with USCIS to establish that the child qualifies as an orphan under the INA. If you file the I-600 with a USCIS office in the United States, you may submit proof of your suitability to adopt at that time instead of using Form I-600A. If you are residing abroad, file the I-600 with the USCIS office in that country. For countries with no USCIS presence, consular officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates may accept I-600s under limited circumstances, including prior USCIS approval of an I-600A that remains valid.  You can download Form I-600 and its instructions here and here.

  • USCIS or Consular Officer in Child's Country of Residence Completes Form I-604
  • 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 you should take. A USCIS or consular officer in the child's country of residence then completes Form I-604 (Determination on Child for Adoption) to ensure the child has been properly classified as an orphan as defined by INA.

  • Schedule Visa Interview and Submit Visa Application
  • Once your Form I-600 has been approved, the Embassy or Consulate will schedule the child's visa interview. Submit the immigrant visa application (Form DS-230) at the interview. (Certain cases require the nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-156, instead; check with your adoption service provider or the Embassy or Consulate.) The Embassy or Consulate will inform you of the documents needed for the interview, which include evidence of the adoption or grant of legal custody, and the results of the child's medical exam.

  • Embassy or Consulate Issues the Visa
  • If no ineligibilities are found, the consular officer issues your child the IR-3 or IR-4 visa.

    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).

For more detailed information on immigration Process for Orphan Adoption from a Non-Hague Convention Country, please visit on one of the following relevant links: