Re-adoption is the process by which a U.S. court in the adoptive parents’ state of residence formally recognizes a foreign adoption’s validity under state law. If the court is satisfied that the requirements of state law have been met, a U.S. adoption decree is issued upon completion of the re-adoption process. Determining whether or not re-adoption is mandatory hinges upon the type of visa issued to the child. There are two possible visas that may be issued as part of an international adoption – the IR-3 or IR-4. In the event an IR-4 is issued, re-adoption will be necessary in order to obtain U.S. citizenship for the child. If the adoption was not able to be finalized overseas, an IR-4 visa may be issued. The IR-3 visa signifies that an adoption was finalized overseas. If a child is issued the IR-3 visa, he or she is automatically an American citizen upon arriving in the U.S. However, even with the IR-3 visa, some states still require re-adoption for purposes of obtaining a U.S. birth certificate, name change and social security card for the child.

In New Jersey, foreign adoptions are recognized by statute; however, there is currently no formal mechanism for registering the foreign adoption. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that an adoptive family residing in New Jersey not rely solely on a foreign adoption decree, but also take steps to formalize the adoption by the process of re-adoption. Also, re-adoption will provide the adoptive parents with reassurance that all states recognize the validity of their foreign adoption should they chose to relocate in the future; in effect providing the adoptive parents with greater legal security.

In addition to providing the adoptive parents with peace of mind that the validity of their parentage cannot be challenged, there are several other benefits to re-adoption. For example, if the adoptive parents were not permitted to change the child’s name as part of the foreign adoption, they may do so as part of the re-adoption process. They may also obtain a U.S. birth certificate for the child. Re-adoption could also help protect a child’s inheritance rights.

Please contact one of our experienced adoption attorneys at Iandoli & Edens, LLC at 908-879-9499 to discuss your adoption questions or visit us on the web at