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Adoption Information: Haiti

 

Haiti Joins the Hague Adoption Convention

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Adoption Convention) will go into effect in Haiti on April 1, 2014.  Haiti deposited its instrument of ratification with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 16, 2013.

USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) Begin Processing Hague Adoption Convention Cases

Beginning April 1, 2014, the United States will process Hague Convention adoptions with Haiti.  DOS consular officers will be able to verify on a case-by-case basis that individual adoption cases in Haiti meet the requirements of both the Hague Adoption Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act. Consular officers will be able to:

  • Grant final approval of provisionally approved Forms I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative;
  • Issue Hague Adoption Certificates; and
  • Issue immigrant visas for the Convention adoptee.  

Effective April 1, 2014, USCIS will accept Forms I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, from prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child habitually resident in Haiti, as well as Forms I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child habitually resident in Haiti.  (USCIS recently published an interim policy memorandum for USCIS officers to use when determining whether an adoptive child from another Hague Convention country can be considered to be habitually resident in the United States.)

USCIS, DOS and Haiti: Working Together to Ensure a Smooth Transition of Non-Convention Cases

In the first week of February 2014, senior USCIS and DOS officials traveled to Haiti to meet with the Haitian adoption authority, l’Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR), to discuss Haiti’s transition to an adoption system that will meet the requirements of the Convention.  

The Haitian and U.S. Governments agreed that the following non-Hague Convention adoption cases may proceed under the U.S. non-Hague Convention or “orphan” process after the Hague Adoption Convention enters into force for Haiti on April 1, 2014:

  1. Any case in which:

-OR-

  1. Any case where a Form I-600, which identifies the specific child the prospective adoptive parent was matched with, was filed with USCIS before April 1, 2014, and was later approved. 

Important Note about Form I-600A Extensions:  IBESR recently raised concerns about the extension of Form I-600A approvals during the transition period.  USCIS is seeking clarification on how this may impact transition cases that otherwise meet the criteria listed above.  However, prospective adoptive parents should be aware that cases with Form I-600A approvals that are extended or expire before April 1, 2016 may not qualify as a transition case in Haiti.   We will provide more information on this issue when it is available.

Additional Note: The transition cases described above may proceed under the U.S. non-Hague Convention process, but the Haitian Government is responsible for determining the procedures that will apply to these cases in Haiti.  Also, this U.S.-Haiti transition plan could change if Haiti determines changes are necessary during its transition to a Hague Adoption Convention system.

Additionally, the Hague Adoption Convention does not apply to a final adoption obtained before a country’s entry-into-force date. So if U.S. prospective adoptive parents have obtained a final adoption of a child in Haiti before April 1, 2014, then these adoptive parents may file a Form I-600A or Form I-600 with USCIS, or a Form I-600 with USCIS or the Department of State, for that child at any time before the child reaches age sixteen, even after April 1, 2014, because the Hague Adoption Convention would not apply to the adoption.

To establish a smooth transition process for these non-Hague Convention adoption cases, USCIS, DOS, and IBESR personnel will meet regularly in a working group.  The working group will provide a forum for cooperation between the U.S. and Haitian governments on the transitional non-Hague Convention cases, as well on Haiti’s transition to a adoption system that is consistent with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention.  This working group will also help the U.S. Government provide the public with more information as it becomes available.

What This Means for U.S. Prospective Adoptive Parents

Prospective Adoptive Parents Wishing to Pursue a Hague Convention Adoption in Haiti

If you are a prospective adoptive parent who wishes to pursue an adoption in Haiti, but you have not filed a Form I-600A or a Form I-600 with USCIS before April 1, 2014, then you must begin the Hague Adoption Convention process.

To pursue a Hague Convention adoption in Haiti, you may begin filing the following forms with USCIS after April 1, 2014:

Prospective Adoptive Parents Wishing to Pursue a Non-Hague Convention Adoption in Haiti

If you are a prospective adoptive parent wishing to continue pursuing the non-Hague Convention process in Haiti, please review the information below to determine whether your case may proceed as a transition, non-Hague Convention, case after the Hague Adoption Convention enters into force in Haiti on April 1, 2014.

Your USCIS Filing Status

Can Your Adoption Case Proceed through the Non-Hague Convention Process?

  • If you filed a Form I-600A before April 1, 2014, and
  • While the Form I-600A approval is valid, you file a Form I-600, which identifies the specific child the prospective adoptive parent was matched with, before April 1, 2016…

However, please see note above about USCIS and DOS efforts to clarify the Government of Haiti’s concern about Form I-600A extensions during the transition period.

-OR-

  • If you filed a Form I-600, which identifies the specific child the prospective adoptive parent was matched with, before April 1, 2014, and USCIS approves this Form I-600…
  • If you obtained a final adoption of a child in Haiti before April 1, 2014…
  • Yes, your adoption case may proceed as a transition case through the non-Hague Convention process since the Hague Adoption Convention was not yet in force between the United States and Haiti.

If your case does not meet the transition-case criteria outlined in the chart above, then you may need to begin the Convention process.  

To Continue Pursuing a Non-Hague Convention Adoption in Haiti

U.S. prospective adoptive parents who pursue a non-Hague Convention adoption in Haiti must meet the criteria described in the chart above in the section titled, What This Means for U.S. Prospective Adoptive Parents.

You may maintain your approved Form I-600A for Haiti, but must file a Form I-600 petition on behalf of a specific Haitian child before it expires and before April 1, 2016.  

If you wish to request a one-time, no-fee extension of your Form I-600A approval for an additional 18 months:

  • You must request an extension in writing with the USCIS office that approved your Form I-600A;
  • You must request the extension before the expiration of your approved Form I-600A and no earlier than 90 days before its expiration; and
  • You must submit an amended or updated home study, as appropriate.

However, please see note above about USCIS and DOS efforts to clarify the Government of Haiti’s concern about Form I-600A extensions during the transition period.

To Change Your Non-Hague Convention Adoption Case to the Hague Adoption Convention Process

If you began the adoption process before April 1, 2014, but your case will be unable to meet the transition case criteria described in the chart above by April 1, 2016, you may continue your adoption from Haiti provided that you continue with your case through changing to the Hague Adoption Convention process.  

Also, if your case will be able to meet the transition case criteria described in the chart above by April 1, 2016, you have the option of choosing to continue your case through changing to the Hague Adoption Convention process.

The directions below describe how to change your non-Hague Convention adoption case to the Hague Adoption Convention process.

If USCIS has approved your Form I-600A:

To start a Hague Convention adoption, you must file Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, and include:

  • The appropriate filing fee;
  • A Hague-compliant home study specifying the designated Convention country (such as Haiti) where you intend to adopt; and
  • All other documentation required in the Form I-800A instructions.

You may not transfer your Form I-600A approval to initiate a Hague Convention adoption with USCIS.  (A Form I-800A is required when prospective adoptive parents choose to pursue a Hague Convention adoption because there are Hague Adoption Convention-specific requirements that USCIS does not evaluate in the Form I-600A adjudication.)

If your Form I-600A is still pending with USCIS:

If your Form I-600A is still pending with USCIS, you can continue with your case through changing to the Hague Adoption Convention process by:

  • Notifying  the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) in writing of your desired change to the Hague Adoption Convention process; and
  • Also submitting a completed Form I-800A application with a Hague-compliant home study specifying the Hague Convention country you wish to adopt from (Haiti), and all other documents required in the Form I-800A instructions.

How to Learn Whether Your Form I-600A for Haiti Is Still Pending with USCIS

  • If you filed your Form I-600A with a USCIS overseas office, please contact that office directly by phone or mail. Contact information for USCIS international offices can be found at www.uscis.gov\international.
  • If you filed your Form I-600A with the USCIS National Benefits Center, you may contact the Adoption Unit directly for more information about your specific case at 1-877-424-8374 or by email at: nbc.adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov.

Contacting USCIS National Benefits Center

  • If you use the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), write to:

USCIS National Benefits Center
Attn: Adoptions
P.O. Box 8025
Lee’s Summit, MO  64002

  • If you use express mail and courier delivers, write to:

USCIS National Benefits Center
Attn: Adoptions
850 NW Chipman Road, Suite 500
Lee’s Summit, MO  64063

How to Find More Information

Please visit www.uscis.gov/adoption and www.adoption.state.gov for the most up-to-date information on the intercountry adoption process in Haiti.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014