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IR3 Visa Guide for Adopted Children from Foreign Countries

The IR3 Visa allows a child to come and live in the US with the adopted parents, attend school, continue into higher education studies, work without an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), and ultimately obtain US citizenship when eligible.

Moreover, US has a group of IR Visa which are: IR1 visa for the spouse of a US citizen, IR2 visa for the unmarried children under 21 years old of a US citizen, IR3 visa for children adopted abroad by a US citizen, IR4 visa for children to be adopted within the US by a US citizen, IR5 visa for parents of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old.

This article will guide you through on how to apply for IR3 Visa, requirements and cost of the Visa. Also you will know other necessary information about this Visa through this article.

Meaning of IR3 Visa

IR3 Visa is a Visa for children adopted abroad by a US citizen. Many US citizens want to adopt children from foreign countries and then bring them to the US to live together as a family. To be able to do so, the adopted child must have a valid US visa and be allowed to enter the US. When US citizens complete adoption procedures outside of the US, in the child’s home country, then the child is eligible to get the IR3 Visa.

Therefore, the IR3 Visa allows the child to come and live in the US with the adopted parents, attend school, continue into higher education studies, work without an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), and ultimately obtain US citizenship when eligible.

Types of Adoption That Qualify For The IR3 Visa

US has two types of adoption recognized by the US government and they depend upon the country from where the child was adopted. They are:

  1. Hague country convention adoptions
  2. Non-Hague country adoptions

Hague country convention adoptions

The Hague Adoption Convention was signed in 1993 and specified rules and regulations about intercountry adoption. Depending on whether the US citizen adopts the child from a Hague Convention Country or a Non-Hague Convention Country and the application procedures.

The following countries are part of The Hague Convention Countries:

Hague Convention Countries

  • Albania
  • Haiti
  • Mexico
  • Seychelles
  • Andorra
  • Costa Rica
  • Hungary
  • Moldova
  • Slovakia
  • Armenia
  • Croatia
  • Iceland
  • Monaco
  • Slovenia
  • Australia
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Mongolia
  • South Africa
  • Austria
  • Cyprus
  • Ireland
  • Montenegro
  • Spain
  • Azerbaijan
  • Czech Republic
  • Israel Namibia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Belarus
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Swaziland
  • Belgium
  • Dominican Republic
  • Kazakhstan
  • New Zealand
  • Sweden
  • Belize
  • Ecuador
  • Kenya
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Bolivia El Salvador
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Panama
  • Thailand
  • Brazil
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Paraguay
  • Togo
  • Bulgaria
  • Fiji
  • Lesotho
  • Peru
  • Turkey
  • Burkina Faso
  • Finland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Philippines
  • United Kingdom
  • Burundi
  • France
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Uruguay
  • Cambodia
  • Georgia
  • Luxembourg
  • Portugal
  • Venezuela
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Vietnam
  • Cape Verde
  • Ghana
  • Madagascar
  • Rwanda
  • Zambia
  • Chile
  • Greece
  • Mali
  • Maan Marino
  • China
  • Guatemala
  • Malta
  • Senegal
  • Colombia
  • Guinea
  • Mauritius
  • Serbia

Adopting from any other country than those above means that the US citizen is adopting outside the Hague Convention rules and other regulations and application procedures will apply.

Requirements To Apply For IR3 Visa

The IR3 Visa has requirements for both the child being adopted as well as the US citizens. These requirements determine the eligibility of the child for the IR3 Visa and are as follows:

  • The child must be eligible based on the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
  • And the child must be under 21 years old
  • The child must be from either a Hague or
  • Non-Hague Convention Country
  • The US citizen parent must be willing to adopt the child and pass an eligibility test by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Also the US citizen must plan to bring the child to the US to reside with them
  • The US citizen must have a valid US address

Moreover, if the US citizen has already adopted the child and has resided with them in a foreign country for at least 2 years, then the child is eligible for an IR-2 visa and does not need to go through the IR3 Visa application process.

Application Process for IR3 Visa

Having known there are different procedures for getting the IR3 Visa based on the country in which the adoption is being completed, below will be the application procedures both for The Hague and Non-Hague Country Conventions.

Hague Country Convention Application Procedures

#1. Choose your preferred Adoption Service Provider

The first is to choose your preferred Adoption Service Provider which also must be US-Accredited or Approved. This will ensure that you will follow the rules and that your adoption provider is also within applicable laws and regulations.

#2. Get approval for Adoption Eligibility

Get approval for Adoption Eligibility. You must file Form I-800A, Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country to USCIS. To file this form, you must complete a background check, fingerprint check, as well as a home study. If approved, USCIS will determine the age range and number of children you are allowed to adopt as well as if you are allowed to adopt a child with special needs.

#3. Apply to adopt

Apply to adopt and become matched with a child in your preferred Hague Convention Country. The authorities of the adoption country will review your documents and approval from USCIS and find an eligible child which you can adopt. Each Hague country might have different requirements, so make sure to check what you need to submit. When the authorities of that country have found children, which meet the eligibility criteria, they will send referral documents to you.

The background of the referral documents will contain the following:

  • The child
  • family history
  • medical history
  • other special needs.
  • The file will also have the signed consent by the necessary parties (adoption center, biological parents’ consent, etc).

Furthermore, ensure that the child is eligible for immigration by submitting a petition to USCIS by filing Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. All of these steps must be completed and you must show that you have not yet obtained adoption or guardianship of the child. The reason for that is to prevent US citizens from adopting children who might be found ineligible to immigrate according to US laws. If USCIS approves your petition, then you may move on to the next step.

#4. Submit Form DS-260

Submit Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application to the US Embassy or Consulate of the country in which you are adopting the child. The DS-260 will require information about the child’s background and other details. You must submit the form online and obtain a confirmation letter of submission.

If all the procedures are approved and in order, the US Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you are adopting will issue a letter called Article 5/17 Letter which establishes that the child is eligible to immigrate to the US. Only after receiving this letter can you obtain an adoption or guardianship order.

#5. Submit the supporting documents

Then complete the IR3 Visa application process for your child by submitting the supporting documents such as the child’s birth certificate and passport. Additionally, schedule an appointment for an interview at the US Embassy and attend the interview. During this interview, make sure to submit your final adoption or guardianship order to the officials.

Non-Hague Convention Application Process

#1. Choose a preferred adoption center

First, choose a preferred adoption center in the country you want to adopt the child.
File Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition to USCIS to determine your suitability as an adoptive parent. USCIS will conduct a background check, fingerprint check, and a home study to determine whether you are eligible to adopt children. However, in comparison to The Hague Convention Country adoption process, it will not evaluate a child’s classification as an orphan.

#2. Obtain an adoption or guardianship order

Obtain an adoption or guardianship order from the authorities of the country in which you are adopting the child.

#3. File Form I-600

File Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative to USCIS so that you can get approval on whether the child is eligible for immigration under US law.

#4. Attach supporting documents

Attach supporting documents to the petition too such as:

  • Child’s birth certificate or written explanation about the identity and age of the child if the birth certificate is not available.
  • Evidence that the child does not have parents or that the biological parents are unable to provide proper care and have consented to give up their child for adoption.
  • Evidence that the adoption has been completed or that you intend to adopt the child.

#5. Completion of Form I-604 at Consular office

Next, USCIS or a Consular Officer in the country you are adopting the child from will complete Form I-604. If the form has been approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will notify you of the next steps you must take.

#6. Submit the IR3 Visa application by filing Form DS-260

Submit the IR3 Visa application by filing Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application as well as schedule your visa interview. At the interview, provide your complete file of documents for the child’s adoption.


What are the IR3 Visa fees?

Depending on which application procedure you will follow, you must pay the fees associated with filing the forms as well as other supporting fees. The amounts are determined by USCIS, but in general, these are the fees that apply:

  • Form I-800A filing fee
  • And Form I-800 filing fee
  • Form DS-260 processing fees
  • And Form I-600A filing fee
  • Form I-600 filing fee
  • Translation fees
  • Fees to obtain supporting documents

How long is the IR3 Visa processing time?

The IR3 Visa processing time varies from situation to situation. Depending on the rules and regulations you are following and how long it takes to get adoption approval from the foreign countries, it can take from 6 months to more than 1 year for you to be able to bring your adopted child to the US.

Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an IR3 Visa?

Yes, you will have access to healthcare in the United States as an IR3 Visa holder, however, the costs of getting medical treatment in the US are one of the highest in the world.

The treatment of a broken leg or broken arm will cost you $2,500, while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000, on average. You should pick a health insurance plan that fits Ir3 visa holders best, which overall is also affordable and covers your needs.

What is an IR 2 visa?

For example, in the immediate relative (IR) visa category, the IR-1 visa is for spouses, and the IR-2 visa is for unmarried children under 21 years of age. The IR-2 visa allows children of U.S. citizens who live outside the United States to enter and live in the United States

What is an IR1 visa?

A CR1/IR1 visa allows a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (green card holder) to sponsor their foreign spouse to come to the United States. Specific requirements include: The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The couple must be lawfully married and provide a valid marriage certificate.


Now you see is less difficult to obtain IR3 Visa for your adopted child. You can follow our detailed guide to proceed towards getting this Visa. Always check this website for a guide to get other visas like L1 Visa, O2 Visa, E2 Visa etc.

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