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USCIS Unable to Approve I-800 Petitions to Adopt Children from Cambodia
The Cambodian government has indicated that it intends to begin accepting intercountry adoption petitions on Jan. 1, 2013. Cambodia joined the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Adoption Convention) on Aug. 1, 2007.
However, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has determined that Cambodia does not have a fully functional Hague Adoption Convention process. Accordingly, DOS consular officers still cannot certify that adoption decrees or custody orders obtained in Cambodia for children who habitually reside there were issued in compliance with the Hague Adoption Convention.
Without this certification, USCIS cannot approve a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.
Because U.S. prospective adoptive parents cannot complete the immigration process for an adopted child from Cambodia, USCIS advises these parents:
- Not to file any Form I-800 to adopt a child from Cambodia, as the USCIS National Benefits Center will reject these petitions; and
- Not to file Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, identifying Cambodia as the country from which they intend to adopt.
USCIS will promptly advise the public when DOS determines that Cambodia has a fully functional Hague Adoption Convention system. If DOS makes this determination, USCIS will begin processing Forms I-800 for adoptions from Cambodia.
The United States suspended orphan visa petition processing in Cambodia on Dec. 21, 2001, due to the inability to verify that any particular Cambodian child is an orphan as defined in U.S. immigration law. This suspension remains in effect for any Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, filed before April 1, 2008.