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USCIS Announces Change to Filing Location for Nepali Adoption Petitions

Prospective Adoptive Parents seeking to adopt a Nepali child, whose case is not affected by the suspension of processing of adoption cases involving Nepali children claimed to have been found abandoned, should file the Form I-600, Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.

Who is affected by this change?

This filing change affects you if you belong to one of the following groups of prospective adoptive parents:

  • Group 1:  Parents who received a referral letter from the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare before August 6, 2010 informing them of a proposed match of an abandoned child
  • Group 2:  Parents seek to adopt Nepali children who were relinquished by known parent(s) and whose identity and relationship can be confirmed.

Why are we making these changes?

USCIS and the Department of State are centralizing the initial processing of Form I-600 petitions in Kathmandu, Nepal in response to growing concerns about:

  • Unreliable documents
  • Irregularities in the methods used to identify children for adoption in Nepal
  • The resulting difficulties in classifying those children as orphans

USCIS strongly encourages prospective adoptive parents to follow this procedure for their own benefit.

How do I comply with the new filing instructions?

We encourage you to file your Form I-600 petition and all required supporting documents and evidence, other than the adoption or custody decree, through your local agency representatives in Nepal, who will then deliver them directly to the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.

What about pending forms I-600?

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will continue to process previously filed Form I-600 petitions. In addition, USCIS will forward all pending and new Form I-600 petitions on behalf of a Nepali child received on or after August 6, 2010, at the USCIS National Benefits Center to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The National Visa Center will forward the petitions to the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu. 

When should I file form I-600 with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu?

If you are adopting a child exempt from the suspension, we encourage you to file the Form I-600 petition with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu before traveling to Nepal to adopt a child. Waiting to travel will enable the U.S. government to determine whether the child identified in the petition qualifies as an orphan, as defined in Section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Families who travel to Nepal to await resolution of their adoption petition may face unanticipated lengthy stays in Nepal, and can also result in a parent adopting a child that is then found not eligible to immigrate to the United States under the orphan process. 

What should I expect after filing my form I-600?

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will send you a notice of receipt for your Form I-600 and supporting evidence. A consular officer will review the petition and supporting evidence and conduct necessary field inquiries to determine whether the child qualifies as an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

If the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu determines that the Form I-600 petition is not clearly approvable, the Form I-600 petition will be forwarded to USCIS in New Delhi for further review and action. In certain cases, a request for evidence will be necessary to make a final determination.

If your petition appears approvable, USCIS and the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will notify you.  You may then travel to Nepal to proceed with the adoption. In cases where it appears the child may not qualify as an orphan, you will have an opportunity to respond to those findings through established procedures.

Will certain petitions be expedited?

With the exception of those families already in Nepal at the time of this announcement, USCIS and the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will not expedite the processing of a Form I-600 petition solely because the petitioner is in Nepal. If a petitioner chooses to travel to Nepal to file the Form I-600 petition after the date of this announcement, the petitioner should anticipate a lengthy stay in Nepal while the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu conducts the necessary investigation and during USCIS review, if required.

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