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Adoption
19 MINUTE READ
June 14, 2018

All intercountry adoptions from China are processed at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou. Adoptions from China currently account for more than one third of all international adoptions to the United States, making the Guangzhou Consulate one of the largest adoption units in the world.

For additional information about adopting a child from the PRC please click here to access Guangzhou’s Adoption website.

For the latest information on intercountry adoptions for adopting parents, agencies, attorneys, social workers, and adoptees please click here to see the State Department Adoption website.

 

General Information

 

U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou’s adoptions unit issues all immigrant visas to adopted orphans from mainland China.  Please visit Adoption.state.gov to begin researching this multi-phase process.

China is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between China and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in China before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter.”

Our contact information is:

  • Physical Address: Huaxia Road, Zhujiang New Town (near Exit B1 of the Zhujiang New Town subway station, Line 3 and Line 5) Tianhe District Guangzhou, China
  • Mailing Address: U.S. Consulate General 43 Hua Jiu Road, Zhujiang New Town Tianhe District Guangzhou, China 510623
  • Phone: 011-86-20-3814 5000
  • Email: GuangzhouA@state.gov

Other Useful Links:

 

Medical Examination Information

General Instructions and Affidavit form

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Technical Instructions for Vaccinations, Tuberculosis, and Congenital Syphilis

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Frequently Asked Questions for Adoptee Families Regarding Tuberculosis

 

Common Forms

The following are links to forms and instructions for adoption agency and prospective adoptive parent use:

Non-Hague Adoptions Forms

  • Form I-604 (PDF 871 KB): Request for and Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting While Living in US

1. Who is eligible to adopt a child from China?

Please visit the Department of State’s website for Chinese adoptions.

2. Can I adopt a foreign-born orphan and bring him/her to the United States without involving the Citizen and Immigration Services?

No, an orphan cannot legally immigrate to the United States without Citizen and Immigration Services processing.

3. What if we were Chinese citizens at the time of the adoption and only recently became U.S. citizens?

If you completed a domestic adoption in China prior to becoming a U.S. citizen, you will need to file an immigration petition for your child with the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

4. What kind of information about myself and my spouse will I, as the petitioner, need to provide to the Department of Homeland Security, Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

For detailed information regarding the Citizen and Immigration Services’ initial I-800A petition process, visit USCIS’ Hague Process.

5. I have many questions about the FBI’s fingerprinting procedures in the Adoption Application Process, including is my fingerprint clearance valid when I have my immigrant visa interview?

Your fingerprint clearance files expire 15 months after the date that Citizen and Immigration Services received a response from the FBI, which is approximately 15 months from the date the FBI fingerprinted you.  Citizen and Immigration Services prints the validity of fingerprint clearances on the notice of approval for the I-800A and the I-800.

Please visit Citizen and Immigration Services fingerprint processing for further information.

6. How do I find out about the Status of My Application?

Please contact the Citizen and Immigration Services office that received your application. Visit the Citizen and Immigration Services’ Find a USCIS Office page for contact information.

7. When can I come to China to pick up my child?

Adoptive parents may travel to China as soon as the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) sends a travel permission letter to your adoption agency. The Chinese government requires all adoptive parents to work with an approved adoption agency.

8. I have received a travel permission letter. Can I leave immediately to pick up my child?

When you decide to pick up your child is your decision and should be coordinated with your agency. However, your child cannot go to the United States without an immigrant visa. This requires an immigrant visa interview at U.S. Consulate Guangzhou. Before coming to China, prospective adoptive parents should work with their adoption agencies to schedule an immigrant visa interview with U.S. Consulate Guangzhou’s Adopted Children’s Immigrant Visa Unit.

When you or your agency submits an appointment request, please include five realistic appointment dates. We will schedule your appointment of the first available of the five dates. All appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. We do not reserve certain days for children of certain ages or medical conditions.

We understand that plans change and occasionally an agency will need to request that the date or time of an appointment be changed, but we ask that you limit these requests to cases that are true emergencies.   Please understand that if your agency cancels or changes an appointment, we may have already turned down other agencies’ and families’ requests for an appointment on that date.  Frequent requests to change appointment times hinder our ability to accommodate other families’ preferences and travel plans.

You should not finalize travel plans until you or your agency has received confirmation of your appointment from the adoptions unit in writing. Failure to secure an appointment in advance of your travel to China may result in a delay in China for several days or longer, particularly during busy periods.

9. My spouse and I are both adopting but only one of us can come to China. Is this a problem?

No, this is not a problem. The non-traveling spouse should work with the adoption agency to ensure that all forms, signatures, and proper power of attorneys are prepared in advance for the traveling spouse. Under the Hague Adoption Convention, your child will receive an IH3 visa regardless of whether one or two parents travel to China.

Please consult adoption.state.gov, your adoption agency, and/or USCIS about procedures required to finalize your child’s adoption and for your child to obtain U.S. citizenship.

10. How long do I need to wait until I receive my child’s immigrant visa?

The US Consulate in Guangzhou requires a minimum of two working days to process immigrant visas for adopted children. Parents are strongly advised to keep this processing time in mind when booking return travel to the United States.

Expedites for visa return for critical medical situations that require immediate travel to the United States will be handled on a case by case basis. You or your adoption agency are encouraged to contact the Consulate prior to the visa interview so that we can work in advance to facilitate more immediate travel. We will require a physician’s note explaining the type of emergency care needed.

11. How can I know if I am required to submit a home study addendum and/or an updated approval notice?

If major household changes have occurred since the parent’s I-800A or I-600A petition approval, such as changes in employment or residence, number of people living in the family’s residence, members of family over 15 years of age, finances, and/or the family is adopting a special needs child but was approved for a child with no special needs, the family is required to submit a home study amendment to USCIS, who will then update the approval for the family.  Please visit USCIS’ Home Study Information page for details.  As the process of getting an updated approval may take a week or more, families and adoptions agencies are urged to submit home study amendments to USCIS as soon as possible to prevent delays in the visa issuance of the child.

12. If I am a U.S. citizen, will the child I adopt automatically become a citizen too?

The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) declares that children who are younger than 18 years of age and have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization, will acquire automatic citizenship if the child has received an IH3 and the parents live in the United States. Expat families please see our Frequently Asked Questions While Living Overseas below.

13. Will my adopted child have dual citizenship?

We strongly advise that your child no longer travel on his or her Chinese passport after he or she enters the United States. As your child is expected to acquire U.S. citizenship, China will likely no longer recognize your child’s Chinese citizenship. Accordingly, we strongly recommend that you obtain a U.S. passport for your child’s future travels. Should your child visit China in the future, your child will be required to present his or her original Chinese passport to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate for cancellation before a visa will be issued. Also, please note that Chinese passport holders are subject to different visa requirements than U.S. passport holders.

14. How do I apply for my child’s U.S. passport once we’ve returned to the United States?

According to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, most recipients of an IH3 visa become citizens of the United States the moment an official at a U.S. border stamps their passport. (See Frequently Asked Questions While Living Oversees for exceptions.) You can therefore take your child’s Chinese passport that contains the IH3 visa and the U.S. admittance stamp to any passport agency to apply for a U.S. passport. In order to receive the child’s passport, you will need: (1) Evidence of the child’s relationship to a U.S. citizen parent (a certified copy of the final adoption decree); (2) the child’s foreign passport with Citizen and Immigration Services’ I-551 stamp or the child’s resident alien card; and (3) the parent’s valid identification.

15. The medical reports I received for my child state the child has chronic coughing. I am worried my child may have TB. I have heard children with TB have delays in receiving their visas. What can I do while in the United States to avoid visa issuance delays once we’re in China?

All immigrant visa applicants are required to undergo a medical examination with a panel physician, whose report will determine whether or not the child has any medical reasons for not receiving a visa. The consulate bases any visa medical ineligibilities on this report, not on any other medical reports. If the panel physician’s medical examination determines the child is suspected of having TB, the child will need to undergo further testing and possible treatment before being cleared to receive an immigrant visa.

While it is understandable to want to avoid delays while in China, no specific measures can be taken in advance of the family’s traveling to China until the child’s medical situation is determined by a panel physician.  However, if the child has already been diagnosed with TB and is currently receiving TB treatment, the family should contact the consulate at GuangzhouA@state.gov for specific guidance.

16. We are adopting a teenage child about to turn 14. What, if anything, can be done to expedite the paperwork for this child?

Chinese law governing Chinese adoption states that children 14 and older cannot be adopted. Both the Hague Convention and orphan adoption processing requires months for appropriate approvals to be completed. The consulate is willing to expedite its own internal processes, but cannot estimate the amount of time USCIS and CCCWA will require to finish their own processes. Families planning on adopting a teenage child should keep in mind the months that may be required to complete the paperwork.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting While Living Overseas

 

1. How do I begin to adopt if I already live overseas?

Prospective adoptive families must use an agency that is both U.S. Hague accredited and a CCCWA-licensed agency for all steps in the intercountry adoption process.  Your adoption agency can walk you through the steps to adopt, which are the same for U.S citizens living inside or outside of the United States.

2. What type of U.S. visa should I pursue for my adopted child?

If adopting parents currently live outside of the United States, their child may not automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon arrival in the United States. For more information on the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, please see the Department of State’s website for intercountry adoption.

Children adopted by U.S. citizens who currently reside overseas and who intend to continue residing overseas may apply for a nonimmigrant visa. This application can be submitted after adopting parents have completed their child’s adoption in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Convention. Please note this application is dependent upon receipt of an approved U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) appointment for expeditious naturalization. Your child’s appointment for expeditious naturalization must be completed in the United States. You should be prepared to present proof of your pending appointment to the consular officer conducting your child’s nonimmigrant visa interview. Information on filing an N-600K to obtain this approval is available at USCIS’s website.

U.S. citizens currently residing overseas, and who intend to take up residence in the United States upon their adopted child’s entry to the United States, should apply for an immigrant visa.   Please note than an immigrant visa application does require a U.S.-based address.

Adopting parents are encouraged to contact the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou with any questions regarding the type of visa they should apply for their child.

3. Can my child travel back and forth into the United States with an immigrant visa?

No.  Your child can only enter the United States one time with an IH-3 visa.  We highly recommend that before you leave the U.S. you obtain your child’s U.S. passport.

4. We are living overseas on official U.S. Government orders. Do we need to complete the expeditious naturalization process?

No, if you are living overseas on assignment with the U.S. Government you are considered a legal resident of the United States and your adopted child traveling on an IH-3 visa will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon admission at the port of entry.

For additional questions on overseas resident adoptions please email our office at GuangzhouA@state.gov.