Q: How soon after getting adopted a foreign child becomes eligible for immigration benefits?
When a U.S. citizen adopts a 15-year-old foreign national, and the adoption takes place in the child's native country, are immigration benefits (allowing the adoptive parent to apply for a family-based U.S. visa for the child) conferred onto the child immediately or after a certain waiting period? And if there is a waiting period, how long is it?
A: A child is an adopted son or daughter of his or her U.S. citizen parent if the following conditions are met:
The child is adopted in the United States or abroad;
The child is adopted before he or she reaches 16 years of age (except for certain cases where the child may be adopted before reaching 18 years of age); and
The child is in the legal custody of the adopting parent or parents at the time of the adoption.
In general, the adoption must:
Be valid under the law of the country or place granting the adoption;
Create a legal permanent parent-child relationship between a child and someone who is not already the child’s legal parent; and
Terminate the legal parent-child relationship with the prior legal parent(s).
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