What is the difference between an IR-3 Visa and an IR-4 Visa? 1

The Two Types of Visas for International Adoptions

Internationally-adopted children may enter the United States under one of two types of visas: IR-3 and IR-4. Which visa your child will receive will depend upon a number of factors.

IR-3 Visa

The IR-3 Visa indicates that the adoption process has been completed in the child’s native country. It also requires that the parent (or parents, if married) had the opportunity to observe the child before theadoption took place. Under an IR-3 Visa, the child is immediately granted citizenship upon entering the U.S., if at least one of the adoptive parents is a U.S. Citizen. The IR-3 Visa also ensures that all rights and responsibilities of the biological parents have been properly severed and grants those same rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents just as if the adoption had taken place domestically.

Domestic re-adoption is not required under federal law for children entering under an IR-3 visa. Many states however have such a requirement so you will need to check your home state’s laws. Domestic re-adoption will also provide you with the opportunity to obtain a domestic birth certificate and change the child’s name if you so desire. Re-adoption also allows you to obtain a social security card with the child’s adopted American name as a U.S. citizen.

IR-4 Visa

The IR-4 visa is granted when one or more of the above requirements are not met. For example, if both parents did not have an opportunity to observe the child prior to the adoption or if the child’s native country (such as Korea or India) requires that the adoption be finalized in the U.S., then an IR-4 visa would be issued. Likewise, if only one of two adoptive parents traveled to pick up the child, an IR-4 visa would be required.

In these instances, any state-required pre-adoption procedures or rules must be met before the IR-4 visa will be issued and the adoption process must be completed in the United States. It should also be noted that the parents and child are not afforded the same rights and responsibilities as a domestic adoption and the child is not granted U.S. citizenship until the domestic adoption process is completed.

If you are interested in learning more about international adoption, you may enjoy this book on international adoption or this book on the overall adoption process.

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