Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Nepal Adoption’

31st August 2010

Adoption is one of the greatest things that people can do to provide love and care to orphaned children. This is especially true in cases where American or bi-national couples adopt orphans from less prosperous nations abroad. In the past, many Americans and foreign nationals have traveled to Nepal in order to adopt children from this small Asian nation. In a recent press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), under the authority of the US Department of Homeland Security, it was announced that there will be new processing procedures in cases where Americans petition for immigration benefits in connection with adoption of orphans from Nepal. To quote the press release directly:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that any U.S. citizen seeking to adopt a Nepali child, whose case is not affected by the suspension of processing of adoption cases involving Nepali children claimed to have been found abandoned, should file the Form I 600, Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Usually, Immigrant visa petitions are initially adjudicated by a USCIS office in the United States. This change to processing procedures seems to indicate that special considerations are being taken by Immigration officials tasked with adjudicating Nepali adoption based immigration petitions. To quote the aforementioned press release further:

This change in the filing location for the Form I-600 petitions applies to two groups of prospective adoptive parents who are not affected by the suspension. The first group is those who received a referral letter from the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare before Aug. 6, 2010, informing them of a proposed match of an abandoned child. The second group is those who seek to adopt Nepali children who were relinquished by known parent(s) and whose identity and relationship can be confirmed.

USCIS strongly encourages prospective adoptive parents to follow this procedure for their own benefit, based on growing concerns about unreliable documents, irregularities in the methods used to identify children for adoption in Nepal, and the resulting difficulties in classifying those children as orphans under U.S. immigration law. Please see the Aug. 6, 2010 announcement online regarding the suspension.

Verifying documentation can be a major issue in any Immigration proceeding, but this problem can be particularly acute in cases involving adoption. A decision, one way or the other, in an immigrant adoptee’s adjudication proceeding could have a tremendous impact upon the lives of everyone involved. Therefore, caution is required in order to attempt to ensure an equitable decision. The press release went on to state:

To file the Form I-600 petition with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, prospective adoptive parents should complete and sign the Form I-600 and send the Form I-600 with all required supporting documents and evidence, other than the adoption or custody decree, to their respective local agency representatives in Nepal…Based on this filing, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will then complete the required orphan determination before prospective adoptive parents travel to, or adopt a child in, Nepal.

Following this procedure will protect the interests of the prospective adoptive parents and the children by ensuring that the adoptive children will be eligible to immigrate to the United States before the prospective adoptive parents travel to Nepal and complete the Nepali adoption process. It is anticipated that most determinations will be completed within 90 days of receipt of the case by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.

If, after completing its investigation of the case, the Embassy finds that the child qualifies as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the prospective adoptive parents will be notified in writing that they may travel to Nepal to complete the adoption process.

It would seem that this new policy is designed to allow for increased scrutiny of relevant documentation in Nepali adoption cases. Consular Officers are often in a unique position to adjudicate pending immigration applications abroad. Should the officer find that the application is bona fide then he or she can issue the visa. If, on the other hand, the Consular Officer finds that there are further issues to be explored, then he or she can issue a 221g refusal and request for further evidence or deny the application outright based upon a ground of inadmissibility. In most immigrant visa applications, when Consular Officers deny the application, they usually do so pursuant to section 221(G) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act which allows the applicant to rectify the problem through presentation of further documentation or evidence.

For further information about American Immigration from Asia please see: US Visa India or K1 Visa Vietnam.

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