How you obtain a visa for your internationally adopted child depends on the path you took to adopt. There are separate processes for adoptions from Hague Convention countries, non-Hague countries, and for relative/kinship adoptions. Talk to the agency you are working with and to your lawyer, if you have retained one separately, to find out which process applies in your case.

Ideally, it is something a reputable agency would review with a client ahead of time, to avoid the family having to figure this out on their own. Make sure when you are selecting an agency that they have completed multiple adoptions from your country of choice within a recent time frame and that they are up to speed on all the legal requirements specific to that country.

It is always a good choice to contact multiple agencies. If the information provided by the agencies in regards to the legal technicalities differs at all, consult the U.S. Embassy and an immigration attorney to help you determine which of the agencies you are considering are following the correct protocol.

Once you have selected an agency and a country, ask if they can connect you with some other families who have recently adopted from your chosen country. Forming a connection with them can help support you through the process, and they can also be helpful in explaining these kinds of procedural steps in “laymen’s terms.”

Above all else, refer to the rules and procedures set forth by the U.S. Government. You can obtain them by contacting the embassy from the country you are adopting. The website also has information on obtaining visas, travel documents, and citizenship papers for your adopted child.


Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny South Florida where, odds are, it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is the brains, brawn, blood, sweat, and tears behind and is thrilled to be able to help others build their families through adoption. She is a former elementary school teacher, current MS in school counseling student, Sephora junkie, and the momma via domestic adoption to one lovely daughter.