If you and your spouse feel called to adopt internationally, one of the first things you will need to do is complete an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It will probably be best for you to be connected with an adoption agency that can help guide you through the process and answer any questions.

The application package will include the USCIS form, your completed home study, the application fee and any documents that support your home study or the adoption process. There are two different forms, Form I-800A or I-600A, depending on which country you will be pursuing in your adoption journey.

Form I-800: A is used for adoption from countries participating in the Hague Adoption Convention. This form is also known as the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.

Contact with either the parents, legal custodians, or other parties responsible for the care of the child that is targeted for the adoption is forbidden during the application process.

Form I-600A is used for adoption from countries Not participating in the Hague Adoption Convention. This form is also known as the Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition.

The targeted child for adoption must remain in the country where the child is located until the application processing is completed.

The purpose of either of these forms is to communicate the eligibility of the prospective adoptive parents to adopt and they are capable of providing appropriate care to any adopted child.

What are the fees for filing the forms?

Your adoption agency or attorney may have an independent filing fee for handling the application process for you. In addition to that, the USCIS will be charging a filing fee of $670. There is also a fingerprinting fee costing around $80. This fee is assessed for each person over 18 who is residing in the home.

Where is the form filed?

The place to file the forms differs depending on whether you are filing form I-800A, I-600A, or I-600. If you are filing Form I-800A, then you will be submitting your form and accompanying documents and payments to the address noted below:

P.O. Box 805695
Chicago, IL 60680-4118

You are welcome to submit the forum and accompanying documents using a private courier by using the following address:

Attn: Hague
131 South Dearborn – 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5510

If you are using either Form I-600A or I-600, then you will be filling through the local USCIS office in the United States with jurisdiction over your place of residence. Please visit the www.uscis.gov website and use the Field Office Locator to find the appropriate office.

How long is the application form valid?

You will receive written approval from the USCIS office. The validity varies depending on whether it is Form I-800A or either Form I-600A or I-600.

Form I-800A – is valid for 15 months
Form I-600A or I-600 – is valid for 18 months.

It is possible to extend the validity of either form. Please visit the www.uscis.gov office for extension procedures.

All prospective parents must go through a FBI criminal background check. Fingerprints are submitted as part of this process. In order to protect the potential adoptee children, fingerprints are only collected from an authorized site.

Authorized fingerprinting sites include:
USCIS offices
Application support centers
US embassies or consular offices
International military institutions

What is basic adoptive parent(s) eligibility?

It is important to learn all you can regarding the laws and regulations regarding adopting from another country. As prospective parents pursuing adoption, you are subject to the federal laws of the United States, the laws of the country where the child resides, and the laws of your home state.

For example, the federal laws of the United States allow Americans with disabilities to pursue adoption, however they are countries the prohibit prospective families with some disabilities from adopting. You may find that some countries prohibit single parents from adopting.

What is your next step?
To learn more about filing an I-800A, I-600A, or an I-600, please contact the USCIS toll-free at 1-800-375-5283. You may also visit their website at www.uscis.gov