Orphans & Adoptions

Certain foreign national children may be classified as orphans and immigrate to the United States on that basis. U.S. immigration law defines how a child may be classified as an orphan for immigration purposes and that definition controls whether or not a child may immigrate as an orphan or an adopted child.

Orphan & Adoption Basics

The child must not have any parents because both the child’s parents died, disappeared, abandoned/deserted the child, or the child was separated or lost from the parents.

A child who has a sole or surviving parent, but the parent is unable to care for the child may also qualify as an orphan if the sole or surviving parent has given up all of their rights as a parent. The release must be in writing; must also comply with the laws in the particular foreign country of origin, and must irrevocably release the child for immigration purposes.

The Hague Adoption Convention

Many countries, but not all, are party to The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (referred to as the “Hague Adoption Convention”). The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty that seeks to prevent the trafficking of children and protect the best interests of children. Generally, if the child to be adopted habitually resides in a country that signed on to the Hague Adoption Convention, the Hague convention’s process of adoption is used, not as an orphan. However, there are limited exceptions to this rule.

Speak with an Immigration Attorney

Sunil C. Patel Immigration Law has extensive experience helping clients obtain immigration benefits for their children. We are always committed to honest, cost-effective immigration advice and services in every case. Schedule a consultation with attorney Sunil.