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U.S. Citizens Adopting Abroad
If you live abroad, wish to adopt a child in that country, and plan to continue living abroad after doing so, your adoption must follow the laws of the foreign country. Refer to our Local Adoption Requirements for U.S. Citizens Abroad and Country Information for more information about country specific requirements for prospective adoptive parents. You may need to adopt using that country's domestic adoption system, depending on local requirements.
If have you have already adopted and you wish to naturalize your child as an American citizen, you may apply for a B-2 tourist visa for your child only if you do not intend for the child to immediately immigrate to the U.S. For your child to obtain a B-2 tourist visa, you must demonstrate that you have had physical and legal custody of the child for two years, or you must present an approved I-600. When applying for a nonimmigrant visa for your child, you must also show that you have made arrangements with the USCIS office for naturalization and that you intend for your child to continue living abroad.
Parents who qualify under the two-year legal/physical custody rule and who will continue to reside abroad can avoid the cost and paperwork of both the I-130 and the I-600 by using this procedure. Expeditious naturalization in all cases must be complete before the child turns 18.
The United States Government considers U.S. government employees, including U.S. military personnel, on assignment abroad to be "habitually resident" in the United States for the purpose of completing an intercountry adoption in accordance with U.S. law and regulation.
If a U.S. military service member or civilian employee adopts an American child in the United States while on assignment overseas, the adoption will be considered by the United States Government to be a domestic adoption, not an intercountry adoption. If a U.S. military service member or civilian employee wishes to adopt a child in a foreign country in which he/she is stationed, the adoption will be considered an intercountry adoption under U.S. law.
Home Studies Abroad
If you live abroad in a country not party to the Hague Adoption Convention and wish to adopt a child in that country, U.S. laws and regulations do not limit who may prepare your home study, except to say that you are subject to the laws and regulations of the country where you reside. Any rules that country places on home study preparers in orphan adoption cases would apply. If required by the country where you live, agencies and individuals who provide home study services must be licensed (or otherwise authorized) under that country's laws or under the U.S. law to conduct a home study. Before you can submit the homes study to USCIS, however, it must be reviewed and favorably recommended by a public adoption agency or a licensed adoption service provider in the United States.
If you live in a Convention country, your home study preparer must meet the U.S. requirements for Convention home studies.
- Local Adoption Requirements for U.S. Citizens Abroad
- Conducting Home Studies for American Citizens Residing Abroad in Incoming/Immigrating Convention Cases
- Technical Guidance on Becoming Accreditated / Approved
Please refer to our information on How to Adopt for more information about the intercountry adoption process.