Intercountry Adoption From Hauge and Non-Hauge Convention Countries: Requirements Regarding Prospective Parents

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This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Requirements Regarding the Child to be Adopted

Both Types of Adoption

The child must be younger than 16 years old on the filing date of the immigration petition in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States for purposes of adoption. (There are some exceptions to this, such as when the child is a biological sibling of an adoptee and is under the age of 18. For more information, refer to I am a U.S. Citizen: How Do I Immigrate an Adopted or Prospective Adopted Child or Help My Adopted Child Become a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident? at


The child must be habitually resident in a Convention country. The Central Authority of the child’s country determines that the child is eligible for intercountry adoption. Two birth parents may be living but may release the child for adoption if they are incapable of caring for the child. If one birth parent has died or disappeared or has abandoned, or deserted the child, the remaining birth parent is not required to show that he or she is incapable of providing care.


The child must meet the definition of an orphan: Both birth parents must have died or disappeared or must have abandoned or deserted the child. Or, if the child has a sole or surviving parent, the remaining parent must be incapable of providing proper care and irrevocably release the child for emigration and adoption. The child also must meet any requirements of his or her country for intercountry adoption.

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Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Intercountry adoption from hague convention and non-hague convention countries. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). Finding and using postadoption services. Retrieved from

Pinderhuges, E., Matthews, J., Deoudes, G., & Pertman, A. (2013). A changing world: Shaping best practices through understanding of the new realities of intercountry adoption. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2014). Re-homing of adopted children: responsibilities for states and opportunities in the provision of postadoption services. (ACYF-CB-IM-14-02). Retrieved from

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. (2013). Convention countries. Retrieved from


1 For information on adoption disruption, refer to Information Gateway’s Adoption Disruption and Dissolution at

2 A third way to legally bring an adopted child to reside permanently in the United States is the immediate relative process. For more information, visit