United States citizens residing in the U.S. and seeking to adopt a child resident from any county must meet all HAC prerequisites. U.S. prospective parents must be 21 years of age to meet the adoption age limit for child custody. In some cases, the individual age requirements may be set higher.
2018 annual reports from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) listed the number of intercountry adoptions by American families. Although the request applications for an adoption orphan has declined over the past ten years, the process of how to adopt a child from a foreign country hasn't gotten any easier.
Since 1999 more than 200,000 children ranging under the age of one to seventeen years of age have been adopted from partnering countries as part of the Hague Adoption Convention (HAC). HAC is an international agreement to safeguard the child's welfare and regulate the standards of Convention country (intercountry) adoptions.
Adopting a Child From a Foreign Country
The child’s country of origin determines how to adopt a child from a foreign country. There are three governing sets of laws for immigrating an adoption orphan into the United States.
- U.S. federal law
- Laws of the child's resident country
- Laws of the prospective parent's state residence
Intercountry adoptions offer a stable home when an agreeable family is not available in the child's country. As the U.S. Central Authority (CA), the DOS requires international countries to establish a CA as its authoritative source of information and point of contact in that country.
- U.S. Citizenships and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine prospective adoptive parent(s) eligibility.
- Country of origin and the U.S. authenticate the child's eligibility for adoption.
- Family-based petitions allow a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to request a related child adoption.
Processing Guidelines for Intercountry Adoption
Processing time is dependent on meeting all of the adoption requirements imposed by the country of origin and the U.S. Working with a professional immigration lawyer can help to curb some of the anxiety as prospective parents prepare the legal documents. In the event of unforeseen complications during the processing, consulting with an experienced attorney can provide the legal support associated with intercountry adoptions.
- U.S. Consular office verifies the child meets the criteria for visa eligibility before the adoption custody is granted.
- U.S. Embassy will issue a Hague Adoption Certificate permitting custody.
- Once the intercountry adoption process is arranged, the child may immigrate to the U.S. for the final adoption process.
Intercountry Adoption Measures
U.S. entry and immigration adoption regulations are strictly enforced to protect foreign orphans from threat or harm. An experienced family lawyer can explain the laws and common problems that occur with some intercountry adoptions procedures.
- Records of the application must be accurate and correct.
- Prospective investigations are required for financial stability, background checks, education, and home life.
- Visa eligibility is essential for the child's departure and entry.
- Consideration of naturalization is needed to become a U.S. citizen.
Contact An Experienced San Antonio Immigration Attorney For Help
Adoption age limit for child custody is reviewed on a case by case basis. Once the child arrives in the U.S. routine visits are conducted to assure the child's well-being is secure and the living environment healthy. Before beginning this process, you need to talk with an attorney. If you're interested in learning more about international child adoption laws, reach out to Salmon & Haas.