Intercountry Adoption


Adoption Process

Hague vs Non-Hague Adoption Process

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.

So what's the difference?

Below is a chart outlining the differences between the two procedures. In general, prospective adoptive parents receive more protections when adopting from Convention countries.

Procedures Convention Countries Non-Convention Countries
Your Adoption Service Provider Licensed in U.S. state of residence
Accredited or approved by one of the Department of State's designated
Accrediting Entities
Licensed in U.S. State of residence
Adoption Services
Adoption services contract contains information about agency's policies, fees, history, relationships with supervised providers, etc. Though many ASPs disclose policies, fees and relationships with supervised providers, they are not required by most state laws to do so.
Home Study Must meet both State and Federal requirements; Prepared by an accredited agency, supervised provider or exempted provider Must meet State level and USCIS federal requirements
Adoption Fees Itemized in adoption services contract


Parent Education 10 Hours of parent education Parent education only if mandated by U.S. State of residence or voluntarily provided by agency
Adoptive Parent's
Form I-800-A;
Must be filed before being matched with a child (and before Form I-800)
Form 1-600-A;
Can be filed at the same time as the Form I-600.
Provisional Petition Approval;
Child's Eligibility
Country of Origin must determine the child is adoptable with Convention consents and other protections, must meet definition of Convention adoptee Form 1-800 Must meet orphan definition
Form 1-600
Child's Medical Records Prepared, and provided by Convention country's competent authorities; Prospective adoptive parents given at least 2 weeks to review


Visa Type IH-3 or IH-4 Visas IR-3 or IR-4 Visas
Visa Application Submitted before foreign adoption/
legal custody proceedings
Submitted after foreign adoption/ legal custody proceedings (except Guatemala and Vietnam)
Adoption Records Preserved for 75 years