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U.S. Pre-Adoption Immigration Review for Ethiopia

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The government of Ethiopia informed the United States that, effective Sept. 1, 2013, it will require all adoption cases filed by United States prospective adoptive parents to undergo the U.S. Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) process. On May 31, 2013 USCIS issued a new policy memorandum (PDF, 94.12 KB) to implement PAIR review for Ethiopian adoptions. The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) will require a PAIR letter issued by USCIS in order to make a best interest determination.

Prospective adoptive parents will initiate PAIR by filing Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, before completing the adoption in Ethiopia. If USCIS makes a preliminary determination that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, USCIS will issue a PAIR letter. Prospective adoptive parents must include the PAIR letter in the adoption dossier they submit to the Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court (FFIC) to initiate the adoption. The FFIC will then forward the dossier, including the PAIR letter, to MOWCYA for review. The new PAIR letter requirement will not affect adoption cases filed with the Ethiopian courts before Sept. 1, 2013.

USCIS and the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues held a stakeholder conference call on June 6, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss the implementation of PAIR in Ethiopia and how it may impact cases going forward.

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