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Intercountry Adoptions: Guatemala

It is important that you keep all USCIS required documents valid during the adoption process. Information on this page applies to all intercountry adoption cases in Guatemala that meet the following criteria:

  1. The case is grandfathered under U.S. immigration law
  2. The Government of Guatemala agreed to continue processing the case.

Please note: No new adoption cases can be initiated in Guatemala at this time. See the U.S. Department of State website for more information.

How long will my documents stay valid?

It is your responsibility to know when your fingerprint clearances and/or Form I-600A approval will expire and to take necessary steps to keep them current.

Document Type and Validity
Type of Document Length of Validity
Fingerprint clearances 15 months
Form I-600A approval 18 months
An extension of Form I-600A approval 18 months from the date of the initial expiration date.  36 months of continuous approval.

 

How can I request an extension of Form I-600A Approval?

Once your Form I-600A is approved, it is valid for 18 months. You may request a one-time, no-fee extension of your Form I-600A approval by sending a written request to the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC). The request must include:

  1. Specific language requesting a one-time, no-fee extension of your Form I-600A approval
  2. A copy of your current valid Form I-600A approval notice (Form I-171H or Form I-797C)
  3. An updated home study. An updated home study must meet all of the requirements of your initial home study as if you are essentially starting the process from the beginning—an addendum attached to the initial home study is not sufficient.

USCIS must receive your extension request before your Form I-600A approval notice expires, but no earlier than 90 days before your Form I-600A approval expires. Please see the “If…Then” chart below.

Can I file a Form I-600A twice?

Generally, a Form I-600A application may not be filed after April 1, 2008, for the adoption of a child from a Hague Convention country. However, you may be allowed to file a second “grandfathered” Form I-600A application after April 1, 2008 with the fee if:

  • You filed your original Form I-600A application prior to April 1, 2008 and
  • USCIS granted you an extension for the Form I-600A approval.

This will give you more time to complete the process in Guatemala and to submit the Form I-600.

Again, we must receive the properly filed second Form I-600A application before your current extension expires, but no earlier than 90 days before it will expire. If your second Form I-600A is approved, it is valid for 18 months from your previous extension’s expiration date. You may request a one-time, no-fee extension of this “grandfathered” Form I-600A. Please see "Form I-600A If/Then Situations" table below.

Form I-600A If/Then Situations
If Then
Your Form I-600A approval (i.e. I-171H or I-797C) was valid at the time you submitted your Form I-600 petition with initial documents to USCIS Guatemala City

You do not need to extend your Form I-600A approval* or file a second “grandfathered” Form I-600A application. However, USCIS may require updated fingerprint clearances before we issue a final decision on your Form I-600.

*Note: While your Form I-600A approval must only be valid when you submit your Form I-600 petition to USCIS Guatemala City, it is your choice whether to extend the validity of your Form I-600A approval (i.e. perhaps you are approved to adopt more children than your active case in Guatemala City.)

You have not submitted your Form I-600 petition to USCIS Guatemala City You must keep your Form I-600A approval valid until you submit your Form I-600. Please see information above regarding extension requests and second Form I-600A filings.
Your original Form I-600A approval (i.e. I-171H or I-797C) will expire before you will submit your Form I-600 petition with initial documents to USCIS Guatemala City

You may request an extension* of your Form I-600A approval from the USCIS NBC. Please see above for more information regarding extensions.

* We must receive your extension request before your Form I-600A approval notice expires, but no earlier than 90 days before it expires.

Your Form I-600A approval extension will expire before you will submit your Form I-600 petition with initial documents to USCIS Guatemala City

You may be able to file a second Form I-600A application* with the fee and all required supporting documentation. Please see below for more information regarding qualifying for a second Form I-600A filing.

* We must receive your second Form I-600A application before your Form I-600A approval extension expires, but no earlier than 90 days before it expires.

    

Is there a sample timeline for grandfathered Form I-600As?

Sample Timeline: Grandfathered Form I-600A
Date Action Expiration Date
January 1, 2007 You filed your original Form I-600A with USCIS Not Applicable (NA)
February 1, 2007 USCIS approved your Form I-600A for the adoption of two children August 1, 2008
July 1, 2008 You filed an extension request for your Form I-600A approval before your approval expired (on August 1, 2008), but no more than 90 days before it expires. NA
July 15, 2008

USCIS approved your extension request – extending your original approval for another 18 months.

Note: the additional 18 months does not begin the day that USCIS granted the extension request; instead it begins the day your original Form I-600A approval expired.

February 1, 2010
December 1, 2009 You realize that February 1, 2010, is approaching and you have not submitted your Form I-600 petition to Guatemala City. You begin updating necessary adoption documents. NA
January 1, 2010

You file a second Form I-600A before your February 1, 2010, expiration date (but no more than 90 days before Feb. 1, 2010) to maintain your Form I-600A approval.

  • This second Form I-600A must be accompanied by all supporting documentation required for a new Form I-600A including the filing fee.
  • Please include a copy of your original Form I-600A receipt notice, acknowledgement notice, approval notice etc.
  • Since you were approved to adopt two children, you must also include a statement, signed under penalty of perjury, indicating that you have not already filed two Form I-600 petitions based on the original approval for two children.
NA
February 15, 2010

USCIS approves your second Form I-600A for the adoption of two children.

  • The approval period begins February 1, 2010, and is valid for 18 months.
  • You may also request a one-time, no fee extension of this approval provided you make the request prior to August 1, 2011 (but no more than 90 days before August 1, 2011).
August 1, 2011

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/15/2011