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Information Regarding Haitian Orphans Paroled After January 12, 2010, According to the "HAITIAN ORPHAN PAROLE PROGRAM": Questions and Answers

Archived Content

The information on this page is out of date. However, some of the content may still be useful, so we have archived the page.

Acronyms Used:

USC............. United States Citizen
USCIS.......... United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
PAP.............  Prospective Adoptive Parent
LPR.............  Lawful Permanent Resident
CBP.............  Customs and Border Protection
HHS.............  Health and Human Services


Full and Final Adoption (for USCIS purposes):

  • The foreign adoption of the Haitian orphan was not defective,
  • The adoption was completed in Haiti by a United States citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried United States citizen at least 25years of age,
  • The unmarried U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen parent and spouse did jointly see and observe the child, in person, prior to or during the foreign adoption proceedings.

Immigrant Visa Process: This is the process that is completed if a person obtains an immigrant visa overseas and then makes an entry into the United States with that visa to reside permanently. Upon inspection and admission into the United States by CBP on the immigrant visa, the person has LPR status.

Two Years of Legal and Physical Custody:

A) "Legal custody" means the assumption of responsibility for a minor by an adult under the laws of the state and under the order or approval of a court of law or other appropriate government entity.

  • Requires that a legal process involving the courts or other recognized government entity take place.
  • If the adopting parent was granted legal custody by the court or recognized governmental entity prior to the adoption, that period may be counted toward fulfillment of the2-year legal custody requirement.(Health and Human Services (HHS) sponsorship is not legal custody).
  • If custody was not granted prior to the adoption, the adoption decree shall be deemed to mark the start of legal custody.
  • An informal custodial or guardianship document, such as a sworn affidavit signed before a notary public, does not create legal custody.

B)  “Physical custody” means the child resided with the petitioning parent for at least 2 years.

  • Must establish that the child and petitioning parent resided together in a familial relationship (where the petitioning parent was acting in a parental capacity for the child).
  • Evidence must clearly indicate the physical living arrangements of the adopted child, the adoptive parent(s), and the natural parent(s) for the period of time during which the adoptive parent claims to have met the residence requirement.
  • When the adopted child continued to reside in the same household as the natural parent(s) during the period in which the adoptive parent petitioner seeks to establish his or her legal and physical custody, evidence must clearly establish that the adoptive parent exercised parental control over the child.

Note:  Legal custody and residence occurring prior to or after the adoption will satisfy both requirements.  Legal custody, like residence, is accounted for in the aggregate.  Therefore, a break in legal custody or residence will not affect the time already fulfilled. However, for purposes of the child obtaining citizenship through the USC parent, the child must also be residing in the legal and physical custody of the USC parent during the submission and completion of the Forms N-600 or N600K.


I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition
I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative 
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa
DS-156 Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
N-600  Application for Certificate of Citizenship
N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322

Questions and Answers

Finalizing Adoptions Under the Special Humanitarian Parole Program for Haitian Orphans: Questions and Answers

Q. Is there anyway to determine whether our case is category 1 or 2?

A. USCIS established categories 1 and 2 for the purpose of granting humanitarian parole. They have no bearing on the process of obtaining residence and/or citizenship for your child. If a child was granted humanitarian parole, they are parolees without regard to whether they were paroled based on category 1 or 2.

Q. If documents were destroyed as a result of the earthquake, will secondary evidence be considered?

A. Yes, we will consider secondary evidence on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Can the filing fees for Forms I-130, I-485 and I-131 be waived for children who arrived under the special  humanitarian parole program for Haitian orphans?

A. The fee for the Form I-485 may be waived if there is evidence of the inability to pay the prescribed fee. However, if an adoptive parent is unable to pay the fee for the Form I-485, it may raise questions as to how financial ability to support a child was determined in the home study.

Q. There are several categories in Part 2. Application Type on the Form I-485. Which one do we check?

A. If you are a USC petitioner filing Form I-130, you will need to check block (a.) on Form I-485. The Form I-485 you are filing will be based on the Form I-130 petition and, upon approval, a visa will be immediately available. (LPR petitioners who file Form I-130 should not file Form I-485 until a visa number becomes available in accordance with the State Department’s Visa Bulletin.)

Q. Is the Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, required?

A. If you are filing Form I-485, the Form I-693 and vaccination requirements must be met.

Q. I have already submitted all the required adoption papers in French as they were issued to me by the Haitian authorities.  Do I have to resubmit all these documents translated in English?

A. Yes, any document containing foreign language submitted to USCIS must be accompanied by a full English language translation. The translator must certify that the translation is complete and accurate, and that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.

Q. I have completed my home study, but it is for an international adoption.  If I decide to complete my adoption here in the U.S, will I need to complete another home study for domestic adoption?

A. Each state determines if its adoption requirements have been met. Therefore, you should consult the adoption authorities for your state of residence.

Q. What will USCIS provide to PAPs in order to show our state courts that our children were in the process of being adopted in Haiti? I have the I-171H, I-94 card, and the Haitian evacuee letter from USCIS.  Will more documentation be needed to prove to a state court that we should be allowed to proceed with a state adoption?

A. USCIS will provide a letter to the PAPs to explain how the Haitian orphan cases were processed and vetted prior to the parole of the child. You can provide this letter to the state court as additional evidence; however it is ultimately the decision of the state court to determine eligibility for adoption.

Q. I filed Form I-600 at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince; can you provide me with an update on the functioning of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and the Institut du Bien Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR)?

A. Both the Embassy and IBESR have resumed processing of orphan cases in Haiti.

Additional information can be found on our USCIS website at

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