Is it possible to adopt an adult foreigner in the United States? The answer to that question is yes. Unfortunately, however, adopting a foreigner does not give them a leg or up revise the immigration process they would otherwise have to go through were they not adopted. If a U.S. citizen adopts a foreign adult, that may entitle the adoptee to inheritance rights. U.S. immigration laws, however, do not extend special immigration benefits to that person based on the adoption. These adult adoptions may be legal; but they don’t affect immigration status. Read on to learn the about adult adoption and immigration in the U.S and what five elements must be present in order for a U.S. citizen to adopt an undocumented immigrant.

U.S. Adult Adoption and Immigration Scams

Immigration to the United States is a dream for many. Often, people seeking a way to immigrate to the U.S. find themselves unsuspectingly the subject of scams and end up being victims of fraudsters. One such scam has been promoted by companies offering adult adoption and immigration services as a pathway to U.S. citizenship in the United States.

In February, 2016, a California man was charged in a phony adult and immigration program that he had operated over 4 years. During the period of October 2012 to January 2016, the program enticed foreigners seeking to immigrate by falsely claiming that an immigrant adult could obtain U.S. citizenship by being adopted by American citizens. The company sold their sham adult adoption and immigration services to individuals who were willing to pay out $5,000 to $10,000 for the chance to be adopted.

The U.S. Attorney, Benjamin Wagner, who prosecuted the case stated:

The indictment returned alleges a particularly predatory and manipulative type of fraud that takes advantage of the hopes and dreams of undocumented immigrants to extract fees based on false promises. The adoption of adult aliens is not a legitimate path to U.S. citizenship. While the charges against this defendant are only allegations at this point, no one should pay fees to anyone making false promises of citizenship through adult adoption.

If convicted, Helaman Hansen, along with others, could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Legal Criteria to Adopt an Undocumented Immigrant

1. An Adult Undocumented Immigrant Must Meet Minimum Age Requirements

U.S. law allows individuals 16-years-old and under to be adopted. The U.S. also allows an adoption of a child 18-years-old and under in the event the adopting child is a sibling of a child (under the age of 16) who has been or will be adopted by the same adoptive parents. Because the adoption process is rather lengthy, you should start the process when the child is 15-years-old or younger.

2. The Adopting Parent Must Meet Marriage or Age Requirements

The child must be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse, or the adopting single parent must be at least 25-years-old. The adopting parent must be found suitable and eligible to adopt and have the intent to create a legal permanent relationship.

3. The Child Must Be Eligible for Intercountry Adoption

The Central Authority of the child’s country of origin must determine that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. The proposed adoption placement must be accepted by the Central Authority. The child must yet have been adopted or placed within the custody of the prospective parent.

4. Legal Consent of Biological Parent Must Be Obtained

The child’s biological parents or parent must provide irrevocable legal consent for the adoption to occur. Consent must be written and reflect the termination of parental rights.

5. The Biological Parents are Unable to Provide Proper Care for the Child

The biological parents or parent that provides irrevocable consent to the adoption must be unable to provide proper care for the child. The standard of care will be based on the child’s country of origin living standards.

Once the above criteria is met, the adoption of an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. can occur. There are several forms that must be completed during the adoption process. Contact A People’s Choice for help.

How to Obtain A Green Card for an Adopted Child

In order for an adopted immigrant to receive a green card, the parent must have physical and legal custody of the child for at least two years. The child must have lived with the parent for at least two years prior to filing a petition for permanent resident status. If the child entered the U.S. illegally, once the two year period ends, a parent can file a visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An approved case will be transferred to a U.S. consulate abroad. If the child entered the U.S. legally, a parent can file an adjustment of status application with the USCIS.

Adult Adoption Does Not Affect Immigration or Citizenship Status

In short, as an adult, no one can become a citizen of the United States through the adoption by citizens of the United States. If immigrants are not careful, they can lose a lot of money to criminals who make false claims and promises. If someone is interested in immigrating to the United States or obtaining legal green card status, they should hire a professional who routinely handles a variety of immigration matters. Contact A People’s Choice for more information on adult adoption or immigration services and how to legally adopt an adult undocumented immigrant.

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