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Special Instructions for How and When to File Adoption Petitions on Behalf of Nepali Children

Special Filing Location

Any U.S. citizen seeking to adopt a Nepali child should file the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.  (Note: The U.S. government is currently not adjudicating petitions filed on behalf of Nepali children claimed to have been abandoned.)

On August 27, 2010, USCIS announced that Department of State consular officers at the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu will adjudicate any clearly approvable Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a Nepali child residing in Nepal whose case is not affected by the suspension of processing announced on August 6, 2010.  Any Form I-600 petition filed at the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) or other USCIS office abroad will be forwarded to the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu for adjudication.

Special Filing of the Petition Before the Nepali Adoption is Completed

To protect the interests of prospective adoptive parents involved in a case not affected by the suspension, the U.S. Government strongly encourages those parents to file their completed Form I-600 petition with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu BEFORE traveling to Nepal to finalize the adoption.  

A consular officer at the Embassy will then complete the required Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (referred to as the "orphan investigation"), before the adoption is completed and will inform the prospective adoptive parents of the results.

Who May File

Prospective adoptive parents who seek to adopt Nepali children who were relinquished by known parent(s) whose identity and relationship to the children can be confirmed may file Form I-600 petitions.

Reason for the Special Procedures

Due to significant concerns about unreliable documents, irregularities in the methods used to identify children available for adoption in Nepal, and the resulting difficulties in classifying those children as orphans under U.S. immigration law, USCIS and the Department of State centralized the initial processing of Forms I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, in Kathmandu, Nepal, and decided to accept early filings for pre-screening.  (For more information, please see the August 6, 2010, announcement regarding the suspension on processing of new abandonment cases.)

USCIS strongly encourages prospective adoptive parents to follow the special procedures in order to avoid potentially difficult complications.

Filing Instructions for Nepal

To file the Form I-600 petition with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, prospective adoptive parents should:

 Complete and sign the Form I-600, and

  1. Send the Form I-600 with all required supporting documents and evidence, EXCEPT the adoption or custody decree and any documents that can only be produced after the adoption decree is entered (such as the final adoption order and the adoptive child’s Nepali passport), to their local agency representatives in Nepal. 

The local agency representatives may deliver the documents directly to the American Citizen Services Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday through Friday between 1:30 and 4:00 p.m.  The local agency representatives should schedule an appointment first by emailing AdoptionsNepal@state.gov and then, on the day of their appointment, telling the Embassy security guard that they are coming to deliver adoption documents.  All Form I-600 petitions and supporting documents (other than the adoption order) should be delivered in person by local agency representatives.  Prospective adoptive parents should not mail Form I-600 petitions or supporting documents directly to the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.  The petition will be considered filed when the local agency representative delivers it to the U.S. Embassy properly signed and accompanied by the appropriate fee, if any. 

For more information on the Form I-600, please see the I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative and Instructions for Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

 Form I-600A Must Be Approved and Valid

Prospective adoptive parents filing a Form I-600 petition with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu must have a valid approved Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, at the time a Form I-600 petition is filed.  They must also travel to Nepal during the adoption process, preferably after the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu conducts the required orphan investigation (Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption).

 Keeping a Form I-600A Approval Valid -- Significant Change or Extension Request

If there are any significant changes in the situation of the prospective adoptive parents, or if they need to request an extension of the validity of their Form I-600A approval, those issues must be addressed with the USCIS office that approved the Form I-600A application.  The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu cannot make a determination on a significant change or extension request related to a Form I-600A. If the USCIS National Benefits Center approved the Form I-600A, then the prospective adoptive parents may submit a significant change or extension request directly to the NBC.

If a USCIS overseas Field Office approved the Form I-600A, then the prospective adoptive parents may submit a significant change or extension request to the USCIS office overseas which approved the Form I-600A application.

U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu Completes the Orphan Determination as Pre-Screening

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will send the prospective adoptive parents a notice of receipt once they receive the Form I-600 petition and supporting evidence.

A consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will then complete the required orphan determination (Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption) and inform the prospective adoptive parents of the results.  

Following this procedure will protect the interests of the prospective adoptive parents and the child to be adopted by placing the U.S. Government’s determination of the child’s likely eligibility to immigrate to the United States BEFORE the completion of Nepal’s adoption process.

Prospective adoptive parents will then be informed of any identified problems or concerns from the U.S. Government before the adoption is completed, and will have the opportunity to gather and present additional evidence or information to address those concerns.

 After the Orphan Determination

If a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy completes a favorable orphan determination, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will notify the prospective adoptive parents and advise them to travel to Nepal to proceed with the adoption.  After the adoption, the parents should provide the U.S. Embassy in Nepal with the original adoption decree and the adoptive child’s Nepali travel document so that the Embassy can complete the approval of the Form I-600 petition and initiate immigrant visa processing.

If, upon completing the orphan determination, a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is unable to determine that the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the Embassy will forward the petition along with the findings of the orphan investigation to USCIS in New Delhi for further review and action.

Domestic Filing of Form I-600 Petitions for Nepali Children

If USCIS receives a Form I-600 petition filed domestically at the NBC on behalf of a Nepali child, USCIS will accept the filing but will immediately forward the petition to the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu for further processing. 

Filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on Behalf of an Adopted Nepali Child

The suspension of processing adoption cases involving Nepali children claimed to have been found abandoned does not affect the ability of the adoptive parent of a Nepali child to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.  Form I-130 processing may be possible in these cases even when the child was claimed to have been found abandoned. 

Form I-130 petition processing does not require that a child adopted in another country meet the definition of an “orphan” under U.S. immigration law.  Instead, the child must meet the definition of an “adopted child.”  See Immigration and Nationality Act Section 101(b)(1)(E)

For immigration purposes, an “adopted child” is considered to be the child (or adult son or daughter) of the adopting parent if: 

  1. The parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or before the 18th birthday under certain circumstances).  The parent must submit evidence of a full and final adoption.


    AND
  2. The parent had legal and physical custody of the child for at least two years while the child was a minor.

a)  The legal custody must have been the result of a formal grant of custody from a court or other governmental entity.

b)  The custody and residence requirement may be met by custody and residence that preceded the adoption. 

USCIS determines whether a child meets the definition of a child under the Immigration and Nationality Act and qualifies for immigration as the child of a U.S. citizen on a case-by-case basis.  For more information about Form I-130 processing, please visit the Form I-130 processing page

More Information

For additional information about filing a Form I-600 petition at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, please visit adoption.state.gov.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/31/2012