Chapter 5 - Adjudication
In matters involving immigration benefits, the burden of proof in establishing eligibility rests with the petitioner.
The standard of proof for establishing eligibility for an adoption petition is that of a preponderance of the evidence. USCIS reviews petitions on a case-by-case basis and based on the totality of the evidence.
However, if the petitioner failed to disclose a relationship to the adoptee beneficiary in a previous immigration application or petition, USCIS applies the higher standard of proof of clear and convincing evidence.
USCIS generally issues a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny, as appropriate, if any of the requirements or required evidence are missing or deficient.
An officer approves a family-based adoption petition if:
The petition was properly filed;
The petitioner has met the petitioner’s burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the beneficiary is eligible; and
Any adverse information is resolved.
If the officer approves the petition, USCIS notifies the petitioner and the petitioner’s legal representative, if any, of the approval.
The approval of the petition only means that USCIS recognizes the relationship for immigration purposes; the approval does not provide any immigration status by itself. If the petition is approved, the adoptee beneficiary can generally go on to apply to become a lawful permanent resident based on the recognized relationship. The adoptee beneficiary still, however, needs to meet the requirements for lawful permanent residence.
If the petitioner fails to establish eligibility, the officer denies the petition and notifies the petitioner in writing of the reasons for the denial. The denial notice must include information about appeal rights and the opportunity to file a motion to reopen or reconsider.
The petitioner may appeal the denial of a family-based petition to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
[^ 1] See INA 291. See Matter of Brantigan (PDF), 11 I&N Dec. 493 (BIA 1966). See Volume 1, General Policies and Procedures, Part E, Adjudications, Chapter 4, Burden and Standards of Proof, Section A, Burden of Proof [1 USCIS-PM E.4(A)].
[^ 2] The person who bears the burden of proof must submit evidence to satisfy the applicable standard of proof. For more information on standards of proof, see Volume 1, General Policies and Procedures, Part E, Adjudications, Chapter 4, Burden and Standards of Proof, Section B, Standards of Proof [1 USCIS-PM E.4(B)].
[^ 4] For more information, see Volume 1, General Policies and Procedures, Part E, Adjudications, Chapter 6, Evidence, Section F, Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny [1 USCIS-PM E.6(F)].