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USA visa for Ukrainian child

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A child adopted by a U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S.. The child must be an orphan, as defined by U.S. immigration regulations. There are two distinct categories of immigrant visas available to orphans adopted by U.S. citizens. The two categories are Immediate Relative-3 (IR-3) and IR-4. An IR-3 is issued when a child is adopted under the laws of a foreign country. An IR-4 is issued when a child will be adopted in the United States (American parents have custody of a child to take him or her to the United States to be adopted in the United States). An IR-4 is also issued when state pre-adoption requirements require that a child be adopted in that state or if both parents have not seen the child.

The Department of State strongly advised U.S. citizens to verify that a particular child is an orphan according to U.S. immigration law and regulations before proceeding with an adoption. A consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to an adopted child if he or she does not meet the definition of legal orphan.


Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which became effective on February 27, 2001, orphans adopted by U.S. citizens acquire U.S. citizenship automatically when all of the following requirements have been met:

  • at least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
  • the child is under 18 years of age;
  • there is a full and final adoption of the child; and, the child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant.

A foreign-born adopted orphan who enters the United States on an Immediate Relative (IR) -3 visa becomes a U.S. citizen upon admission. A foreign-born orphan who enters the United States on an IR-4 visa and is adopted in a U.S. court, will become a U.S. citizen when the adoption is finalized in the United States (the child will be a legal permanent resident until then).


The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of American citizens to acquire American citizenship automatically. These children did not acquire American citizenship at birth, but they are granted citizenship when they enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPRs).

The I-551 stamp in the child's passport shows LPR status, i.e. the child has entered the United States on an immigrant visa and/or has been admitted as a lawful permanent resident.

You do not have to apply for a certificate of citizenship for your child.

You will need the following when the child applies for a passport:

  • Proof of the child's relationship to the American citizen parent. For the biological child of the American citizen this will be a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate (and translation if not in English). For an adopted child, it is a certified copy of the final adoption decree (and translation if not in English);
  • The child's foreign passport showing the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (BCIS) I-551 stamp in the passport, or the child's permanent resident card (green card);
  • Proof of identity of the American citizen parent(s);
  • Passport application, passport photographs and fees.


The adopted child is treated by law as the natural child of the adopting parents, upon the entry of the final adoption decree. The adopted child, therefore, gains the right to inherit from the adoptive parents and adoptive parents' relatives. Adoptive parents also gain the right to inherit from their adopted child.

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