Going Through the Adoption Process

Little girl holding her mom's handWhen initiating the process of adoption every applicant needs to file an application form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The application procedure comprises of completing a form USCIS, undergoing an assessment of your household, paying a filing fee and providing additional supporting documentation.

Each foreign country has its designated adoption applications. Learning which form to submit depends if the adoption process is under the Hague Adoption Convention.

Example: Filing from a Convention Country a Form I-800A must be completed. A Convention country is subject to the Hague Adoption Convention. Applicants must fill out Form I-600A when applying within countries not associated with the Hague Adoption Convention.

Two Types of Adoption Forms

  1. Form I-800A – Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.
  2. Form I-600A – Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition

Both I-800A and I-600A forms, allows possible adoptive parents the opportunity to prove that they are qualified to provide, protect and give good care to a child.

Both forms contains pertinent questions about the applicant and his or her status. Additional family members residing in the same house of adoptive parent(s) will also need to include a form.

Hague Adoption Convention

Applicants seeking to adopt a child from a country that is within the laws of the Hague Adoption Convention must file Form I-800A. Accepting any adoption placements before receiving a decision on the Form I-800A can lead to trouble.

Countries Not Subject to the Hague Convention Adoptions

Parents who intend on adopting a child from a country that is not linked with the Hague Adoption Convention are encouraged to file form I-600A. In cases where the child is recognized and you want to travel to the home country of the child, fill out Form I-600.

Regardless of the circumstances, the child must continue living at his or her current residence until the adoption application has been approved and U.S. visa can be obtained for child to enter the United States.

Application Fee

Although other application forms are available online for free, USCIS has a fee of $720 USD for adoption forms. USCIS also charges $85 USD for any extra adult person living with the family of the parents who plan on adopting a child.

For recently updated information on application fees visit the USCIS website or talk to your licensed immigration attorney.

Mailing Address

Form I-800A can be submitted or mailed at the USCIS office in Lewisville, Texas Lockbox premises at the mentioned addresses:


P.O. Box 299008

Lewisville, TX 75029


Attn: Hague

2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business, Suite 400

Lewisville, TX 75067

Concerning Forms I-600A or I-600 applicants living in the United States of America, can submit their forms at their corresponding USCIS office within their region. Only in special circumstances, applicants can file Form I-600 abroad.

Estimated Time Frame For Application Forms

After you submit your adoption application forms USCIS will review them and determine if you are eligible to adopt a child. Once your application is approved, you will receive a written document from USCIS notifying you of your approval along with instructions on how to proceed with the next step.

Estimated timeframe for a valid approval of a Form I-800A, from USCIS is around fifteen months, beginning from the date USCIS received your Biometrics results.

After submitting Form I-600A you will need to wait approximately eighteen months before your adoption authorization notification is released by USCIS. To learn more about this visit the USCIS website or speak with an immigration attorney.

Get FingerPrinted

One of the stipulations set by USCIS for all future adoptive parents is getting fingers printed. The fingerprinting is done so that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) can orchestrate a criminal background check to guarantee the moral uprightness and quality of the adoption procedure.

Get fingerprinted at any designated office in your area. Fingerprinting can done at Application Support Centers, USCIS agencies, U.S. Consulates or U.S. Embassies in foreign countries, and military base camps overseas.

Normally, USCIS provides applicants scheduled dates to get their fingerprinting done at any authorized U.S. government agency after adoption forms have been filed.

Remember that an $80 fee must be paid. Once you receive a notice for a biometrics appointment it will only be valid for at least fifteen months; only applicable for I-600A forms.

All Adoptive Parents Are Subject to Such Standards

Anyone seeking to adopt a child, whether it be persons with disabilities or whether they are safeguarded by certain regulations regardless of religion, color, age, race, sex, or national origin is subject to three laws put in place:

  • Laws of the Adoptee’s home country
  • Laws of the State of residing potential adoptive parent
  • U.S. Federal Law

Though the U.S. Federal law may allow U.S. citizens with disabilities or persons protected by specific laws to become adoptive parents several foreign countries restricts such rule.

To find out more about becoming an adoptive parent and the qualifications read about the U.S. State laws preserved by the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Need Legal Representation

If you have any doubts about the adoption process and you do not know where to start, consult with an immigration attorney. Do not wait any longer and call The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-443-9303 to help walk you through the adoption policies.