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What is international re-adoption?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2020 | international adoption

If you and your spouse adopt a child born a foreign country, the State of North Carolina strongly recommends that you go through a re-adoption procedure once the child resides with you in North Carolina. While re-adoption does not constitute a mandatory requirement, it will make your lives and the life of your child considerably easier. explains that re-adoption entails your going to court and requesting the judge to review your international adoption and verify that it complies with all North Carolina laws. If so, the court will issue you a certificate of foreign birth that allows you to legally change your child’s surname to yours and correct any errors that appear on his or her foreign birth certificate. In addition, it assures that your child receives U.S. citizenship. 


Depending on the country from which you adopted your child, (s)he likely received one of the following types of visas: 

  • IH-3 
  • IH-4 
  • IR-3 
  • IR-4 

Both types of IH visas apply to children born in Hague Convention countries, whereas both types of IR visas apply to children born in non-Hague Convention countries. Your child likely received an IH-3 visa if you completed his or her adoption in the country of his or her birth. Conversely, (s)he likely received an IH-4 visa if you did not complete his or her adoption in that country, but brought him or her back to the U.S. for adoption finalization. 

If your child received an IR visa, its type depends on whether or not both you and your spouse went to the foreign country to visit your child during the adoption process and/or finalized the adoption there. An IR-3 visa differs from an IH-3 visa in that it signifies that only one of you visited your adoptive child during the foreign adoption process and finalized his or her adoption there. Similarly, an IR-4 visa differs from an IH-4 visa in that it signifies that only one of you took custody of your child in the foreign country so as to bring him or her here for finalization of the adoption. 

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.