Blogs from April, 2023

Most Recent Posts from April, 2023

Adopting a Child Who Is a Citizen of Another Country


In our modern world, the word “family” has taken many new definitions. There are more possibilities for what makes someone your family than ever before.

These days, it’s more common to see scenarios that were unheard of before. For instance, life could put you in a position where you need to adopt a child who is not a U.S. citizen. Perhaps you fell in love with their parent, and want to officially make the child family, or maybe the child lost their natural, immigrant parents.

This article helps clarify the process of how to adopt a child who currently has foreign citizenship.

Research the Citizenship Laws of the Child’s Home Country

This may seem like a daunting task, but it's essential to understanding the legal framework of the upcoming adoption. While the process will differ from country to country, so it’s important to understand exactly which laws govern the child.

Focus on learning about:

  • Procedural regulations
  • Citizenship requirements
  • Adoption eligibility criteria

Research Residency Requirements

Each country has its regulations for foreign adoption. Some may require prospective parents to reside in the country for a certain period of time before allowing an adoption. These residency requirements vary greatly and can range from a few days to several months. Plan accordingly so you can avoid any setbacks or delays.

Your attorney can help you create this plan, making the whole process smoother for every family member involved.

Keep Track of Your Child’s Documents

This includes obtaining the child's:

  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate

It can be difficult to secure all this information, so start working on this as soon as possible. You need time to deal with any delays or setbacks.

Several resources and organizations can help, so meet with your lawyer to discuss the best strategies for getting this documentation.

Seek Out Any Available Benefits or Services That Can Help

Many government and non-governmental organizations offer financial support, such as tax credits and adoption assistance. Additionally, adoptive families may be eligible for medical and educational benefits for their new child.

Your attorney can help point you toward these benefits.

Tax Implications for Adopting Foreign Children

The child’s citizenship can impact your tax obligations. It can change which incomes are taxable, and it will alter the deductions and credits you can receive. Additionally, if the child is technically a minor but earns income in both countries, there may be opportunities to reduce the overall tax burden. There may be tax treaties or foreign tax credits available.


It’s difficult to present a step-by-step guide for adopting foreign children. Ultimately, everything will hinge upon the child’s country of origin. The U.S. approaches each nation differently. We treat some as “sister” countries, and swapping citizenship is easy.

However, we have tense, sometimes combative relationships with other nations. Doing any business with them is complicated. Each country’s government makes it difficult to work together, simply as a way of punishing one another.

The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC can help you navigate the complicated world of legal adoption. You can set up a free appointment with us by calling (515) 200-7571 now or contacting us online.