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IR3 and IR4


A different type of immigrant visa is issued depending on whether the orphan has already been adopted abroad or will be adopted (or re-adopted) in the United States. U.S. immigration law does not recognize a foreign adoption as final unless the adoptive parents have physically seen the child prior to or during the foreign adoption proceedings. 

If both parents have met the child before the foreign adoption was finalized, the child can be issued an IR-3 visa. Parents are required to establish that they met the child prior to adoption. A child who enters the U.S. on an IR-3 visa does not need to be re-adopted in the United States. The child automatically receives U.S. citizenship upon entering the country with an IR-3 immigrant visa.

If only one or neither of the adoptive parents has met the child before the foreign adoption was finalized, the child must be re-adopted in the United States. In such a case, the child is issued an IR-4 visa. The prospective parents must submit all the documents required for an IR-3 visa, plus an approved home study and proof that the pre-adoption requirements of their state of residence, if any, have been met. The parent who has not met the child must submit to the Embassy an original, notarized declaration of willingness to re-adopt the child in the United States. One parent cannot sign such a declaration on behalf of the other parent. If the adoptive parents have not satisfied all these requirements, the orphan petition must be forwarded to the BCIS for adjudication.