Each year thousands of U.S. citizens adopt children from abroad and many families in other countries adopt U.S. children. Intercountry adoption is governed by both the laws of the country in which the child lives and the country in which the adoptive parents live. Under U.S. law, there are two distinct intercountry adoption processes: The Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. Which process you will follow will depend on whether or not the other country involved is also a party to The Hague Convention. To date, 90 countries have joined the Convention, including the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen adopting a child from one of the 89 partner countries, the following process applies to you.

Both The Hague Convention Adoption Process (Convention adoptions) and the orphan adoption process, (or non-Convention adoptions) involve two basic U.S. determinations: 1) The suitability of the adoptive parents, and 2) Whether the child’s adoption meets eligibility requirements in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. The differences between the two procedures are the prospective adoptive parents receive more protections when adopting from Convention countries.

Hague vs Non-Hague Adoption Process

The Hague Adoption Convention entered into force in the United States on April 1, 2008. All cases filed on or after April 1, 2008, seeking to adopt a child who habitually resides in any country outside of the United States that is a party to the Convention must follow the Hague process. The prospective adoptive parents who filed the I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, or the I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, before April 1, 2008, may continue to process their adoptions under the current orphan regulations, provided that the laws of the country of the child’s origin allows for continuation under the current orphan regulations. The Convention process provides additional protections to children, prospective adoptive parents, and birth parents. The primary principles of the Convention are to ensure that each adoption is in the best interest of the child and to prevent the abduction, sale, and trafficking of children. The United States strongly supports these principles. When a U.S. citizen wants to adopt a child from any of the countries that is a part to the convention, Convention rules apply. When adopting a child from a country that is not a party to the Convention (a non-Convention country), the rules of the orphan visa process apply, and you may also want to talk to Attorney Joanne Zhou to find out more possible resolutions.

CategoryAdoption, English