Hundreds of thousands of people attempt to immigrate to the United States each year. Sometimes, the situation becomes desperate and people turn to wild means of obtaining U.S. citizenship. In 2016, trying to immigrate through adult adoption emerged as one strategy. Unfortunately, it does not work. The immigration and green card processes intimidate many people for a good reason. If you or a loved one hopes to immigrate through adult adoption, do not be misled. While adult option remains off-limits, there may be other routes to getting a green card or U.S. citizenship.

The Scam Behind Trying to Immigrate Through Adult Adoption

In 2016, federal law enforcement officers arrested an Elk Grove, California, man for running an adult adoption scheme. He had charged immigrants up to $10,000 each in exchange for allegedly matching them with a U.S. citizen willing to adopt them. In theory, that adoption would give the immigrant a path to citizenship. The man ran the scam for four years before being arrested and ultimately convicted. None of his “clients” reached citizenship through this route because you cannot immigrate through adult adoption. While you can legally adopt an adult immigrant, the adoption will not affect their immigration options.

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Why Adopt an Adult?

You can legally adopt an adult, and there are a variety of reasons why people would do this.  For example, a father who finds children he did not know he had may choose this option. Stepparents sometimes adopt adult stepchildren to formalize their relationship. Many people use adult adoption for inheritance purposes because it is much easier to inherit an estate if there is a formal legal relationship. Caregivers may adopt a disabled adult to gain legal responsibility. There are many reason an adult may want to adopt another adult.  Just remember, if you want to adopt an adult from another country, adult adoption doesn’t help in any way with immigration or the green card process.

How Adult Adoption Works

Once you complete an adult adoption, the newly adopted adult person experiences several changes. The courts can issue a new birth certificate. Public records undergo a change. The person adopted has new inheritance rights. Sometimes, the adopted adult chooses to change their name. Finally, adult adoption severs the legal relationship between the adopted adult and their original parents. Remember, although you may be able to adopt an adult who is a citizen of another country, they will not be able to immigrate through adult adoption.

Adult Adoption, Immigrant Child Adoption, and Green Cards

Adult adoption will not enable you to obtain a green card for another adult. However, in some cases, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident may adopt an immigrant child and get a green card for them in that manner. Several requirements go along with this. First, you must adopt the child before they turn 16. A few exceptions to this exist if the child has younger siblings that the parents also are adopting.

Adopting parents must comply with all of the legal adoption requirements in the state of adoption. As a result, they will likely need to be either married or a single adult over 25 years of age and have the consent of the biological parent. In some cases, if the parent is unable to care for the child, the adopted parents may attempt to prove this in court if they cannot obtain consent. Also, the state must consider the child eligible for intercountry adoption.

Adopting a minor immigrant child is a complex process. In this regard, A People’s Choice recommends you hire an experienced immigration/adoption attorney for this process. A People’s Choice does not help with immigrant child adoption.

A Word of Warning

Minor children are the only eligible parties for immigration through adoption. No exceptions to this exist, so anyone who claims to be able to help you immigrate through adult adoption is either lying or dangerously misinformed. If a person claims he/she can get you a green card through adult adoption, he/she is running a scam that preys on desperate people.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about adult adoption. Remember, A People’s Choice does not help with immigrant child adoption. However, if you want to adopt an adult from another country to provide them with rights of inheritance, adult adoption may be something to consider. Just keep in mind, adult adoption will not help them immigrate to the United States. Contact us today at 805-648-5540.

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