Form I-600 – Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative for the United States

1. What is Form I-600?

Form I-600 is a petition form used by prospective adoptive parents to classify an orphan as an immediate relative for the purpose of immigration to the United States. This form is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of the process of adopting a child from another country and bringing them to the U.S. for permanent residency. The I-600 form requires detailed information about the child, the adoptive parents, the adoption process, and the child’s eligibility for classification as an orphan under U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents must meet specific eligibility criteria and provide supporting documentation to demonstrate their suitability to adopt and care for the child. The completion and submission of Form I-600 is a crucial step in the international adoption process for bringing an orphaned child to the United States to join their adoptive family.

2. Who is eligible to file Form I-600?

1. The Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative for the United States, can be filed by the following individuals who meet certain criteria:
a. U.S. citizens who are at least 25 years old.
b. U.S. citizen spouses filing together if one of the spouses is at least 25 years old.
c. U.S. citizens who are unmarried and at least 21 years old.
d. U.S. citizen parents who have legally adopted the child abroad.

2. It is important to note that individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are not eligible to file Form I-600. Additionally, the petitioner must have a finalized and approved home study, which is a crucial component in determining eligibility to bring an orphaned child into the United States. The home study evaluates the prospective adoptive parent(s) to ensure they are suitable to provide a loving and stable home for the orphan. It is essential to thoroughly review the eligibility requirements before submitting Form I-600 to avoid delays or complications in the adoption process.

3. What is the purpose of Form I-600?

The purpose of Form I-600 is to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to classify an orphan adopted abroad as an immediate relative for the purpose of immigration to the United States. This form is specifically designed for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are seeking to adopt a foreign-born orphan and bring them to the United States to be a part of their family. By submitting Form I-600, individuals are providing the necessary information and documentation to demonstrate that the child meets the criteria to be considered an orphan under U.S. immigration law and are eligible for immediate relative status. This form plays a crucial role in the process of intercountry adoption and helps ensure that the child is granted the opportunity for a new life with their adoptive family in the United States.

4. How do I know if a child qualifies as an orphan for the purposes of Form I-600?

To determine if a child qualifies as an orphan for the purposes of Form I-600, there are specific criteria that must be met:

1. Status of Parents: The child must have lost one or both parents due to death, disappearance, abandonment, or separation. It is essential to provide evidence of the child’s orphan status, such as death certificates or court documentation.

2. Legal Custody: The child must currently lack any form of legal custody or guardianship. This means that no individual or entity has legal responsibility for the child’s care and well-being.

3. Inability to be cared for in their home country: It must be established that the child cannot be cared for adequately in their home country, either due to humanitarian reasons or legal restrictions. This may require evidence of the child’s living conditions, medical needs, or lack of suitable caregivers.

4. Intention to Adopt: The petitioner must demonstrate a genuine intent to adopt the child and provide a permanent and loving home in the United States. This may involve submitting adoption documentation, home study reports, and other relevant information to support the adoption process.

By carefully assessing these factors and providing necessary documentation, you can determine if a child qualifies as an orphan for the purposes of Form I-600.

5. What supporting documents are required to file Form I-600?

To file Form I-600, several supporting documents are required to be submitted along with the petition. These documents include:

1. Proof of orphan status: This can be established through the child’s birth certificate, death certificate of the parents, or any legal documents demonstrating that the child is an orphan under the definition provided by U.S. immigration laws.

2. Evidence of legal custody: Documentation proving that the petitioner has legal custody of the child, such as adoption decrees, guardianship orders, or any other relevant court orders, must be provided.

3. Home study report: A comprehensive home study conducted by a qualified professional or agency is required to assess the petitioner’s suitability for adoption and the living environment they can provide for the orphaned child.

4. Medical report: A medical evaluation of the child’s health and any special needs should be included to ensure the petitioner is prepared to meet the child’s needs upon arrival in the United States.

5. Consent of the competent authority: If applicable, a written statement from the child welfare or adoption authority in the child’s country of origin consenting to the child’s adoption by the petitioner is necessary.

These documents play a crucial role in substantiating the petitioner’s eligibility and the child’s orphan status, facilitating the processing of the Form I-600 petition for immigration purposes.

6. Can I file Form I-600 if the child is not currently in my custody?

Yes, you can file Form I-600 even if the child is not currently in your custody. In order to file Form I-600, you must meet the requirements set forth by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are seeking to adopt an orphan from another country, the child does not need to be in your custody at the time of filing the petition. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in terms of the child’s orphan status, the completion of necessary documentation, and adherence to regulations regarding international adoptions. It is crucial to thoroughly review the instructions provided by USCIS for Form I-600 to ensure compliance with all relevant guidelines and procedures. If the child is not currently in your custody, additional steps may be required to demonstrate your suitability as a prospective adoptive parent and to finalize the adoption process.

7. How long does it take for USCIS to process Form I-600?

The processing time for Form I-600 by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can vary depending on various factors. On average, it takes around 6 to 12 months for USCIS to process Form I-600. However, this timeframe is not guaranteed as it can be influenced by the volume of applications received, the complexity of the case, and any additional requests for evidence or information from USCIS.

1. Initial Review: The first step in the process is for USCIS to conduct an initial review of the submitted Form I-600 to ensure that all required information and documentation are included.
2. Home Study: If the prospective adoptive parents haven’t completed a home study report, USCIS will need to review this document which can add to the processing time.
3. Background checks: USCIS conducts various background checks on the prospective adoptive parents to ensure they meet the requirements for adopting an orphan.
4. Additional Evidence: If USCIS requires additional evidence or information to make a decision on the Form I-600, the processing time can be further extended.

Overall, it is crucial for applicants to ensure that they provide all necessary documentation and information accurately and promptly to help expedite the processing of Form I-600.

8. What are the eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents to file Form I-600?

Prospective adoptive parents must meet certain eligibility requirements to file Form I-600. Here are the key criteria:

1. Citizenship: Prospective adoptive parents must be U.S. citizens residing in the United States to file a Form I-600 petition.

2. Intention to adopt: The petitioners must demonstrate a genuine intention to adopt the orphan and provide a permanent home for the child.

3. Age and marital status: Generally, applicants must be at least 24 years old and, if married, petition jointly with their spouse. There are exceptions to the age requirement in certain cases.

4. Legal capacity: Prospective adoptive parents must demonstrate that they have the legal capacity to adopt under the laws of their state of residence.

5. Financial suitability: Petitioners must show that they are able to financially support the adopted child without relying on public assistance.

6. Adoption home study: Prospective adoptive parents must undergo a pre-adoption home study conducted by a qualified professional to assess their suitability to adopt.

It is essential for prospective adoptive parents to meet these eligibility requirements to successfully file Form I-600 and begin the process of adopting an orphan as an immediate relative for the United States.

9. Can a child adopted abroad through a Hague Adoption Convention process still qualify for Form I-600?

1. Yes, a child adopted abroad through a Hague Adoption Convention process can still qualify for Form I-600. The Hague Adoption Convention sets international standards for intercountry adoptions to ensure the protection of the best interests of the child, prevent abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children, and establish a framework for cooperation among countries. If the adoption has been completed in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention and the country where the child is adopted is a signatory to the Convention, the adopted child can still be eligible for Form I-600.

2. However, it is important to note that specific requirements and procedures may vary depending on the country where the adoption took place and the individual circumstances of the case. It is crucial to carefully review the eligibility criteria for Form I-600 and consult with an experienced immigration attorney or accredited adoption agency to ensure that all necessary documentation and steps are properly followed in the case of a child adopted abroad through a Hague Adoption Convention process.

10. Is there a fee to file Form I-600?

Yes, there is a fee to file Form I-600. As of the most recent update, the filing fee for Form I-600 is $775. However, it is important to check the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most current fee information, as fees are subject to change. Additionally, there may be other fees associated with the Form I-600 process, such as biometric fees or costs related to obtaining necessary documents. Make sure to budget for all potential expenses when preparing to file Form I-600.

11. Do I need to have a home study completed before filing Form I-600?

Yes, before filing Form I-600, you typically need to have a home study completed as part of the adoption process. The home study is a crucial component that assesses the prospective adoptive parent(s)’ suitability and eligibility to adopt. It includes background checks, interviews, home visits, and other assessments to ensure that the prospective adoptive family can provide a safe and stable environment for the child. The home study helps the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine if the adoptive parents meet the requirements for intercountry adoption as outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Once the home study is completed and approved, you can proceed with filing Form I-600 for the orphan you are seeking to adopt.

12. Can a child who is over 16 years old be adopted through Form I-600?

No, a child who is over 16 years old cannot be adopted through Form I-600. The Form I-600 is specifically designed for the adoption of children under the age of 16 by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Beyond the age of 16, different immigration processes may apply for individuals seeking to be adopted by U.S. citizens or residents, such as special immigrant juvenile status or adult adoption. It is important to consult with an attorney or a qualified immigration professional to determine the appropriate immigration pathway for older children seeking to be adopted.

13. Are there any special considerations for children with special needs or medical conditions when filing Form I-600?

Yes, there are special considerations for children with special needs or medical conditions when filing Form I-600.

1. Medical exam: The child must undergo a medical examination by a designated physician to determine their health status and any medical conditions they may have.

2. Medical report: A detailed medical report must be included with the Form I-600 petition, documenting the child’s medical history, current health status, and any special needs or medical conditions that require treatment or ongoing care.

3. Eligibility requirements: Children with special needs or medical conditions may still be eligible for classification as an orphan for immigration purposes, but additional documentation and evidence may be required to demonstrate that the child meets the criteria for orphan status.

4. Adoptive parent preparedness: Prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to provide evidence of their ability to meet the child’s special needs or medical conditions, including information on any necessary medical care, treatments, therapies, or other support services that may be required.

Overall, when filing Form I-600 for a child with special needs or medical conditions, it is important to provide thorough and detailed documentation to support the petition and demonstrate that the child meets the eligibility criteria for classification as an orphan.

14. Can I file Form I-600 if I am a U.S. citizen living abroad?

Yes, as a U.S. citizen living abroad, you are eligible to file Form I-600 to classify an orphan as an immediate relative for immigration to the United States. Here’s what you need to consider:

1. Consular Processing: You can file Form I-600 at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. They can assist you with the required steps and documentation needed for the process.

2. Valid Citizenship: Ensure that you have proof of your U.S. citizenship while residing abroad, such as a valid U.S. passport or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

3. Meet the Criteria: You must also meet the eligibility criteria set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to sponsor an orphan for immigration, which includes being able to provide financial support and a suitable home for the child.

4. Legal Considerations: It’s important to be aware of any legal implications or requirements specific to your host country that may impact the adoption process or the child’s immigration to the U.S.

5. Consult an Attorney: Given the complexities of international adoption and immigration laws, seeking legal advice from an immigration attorney experienced in these matters can be beneficial to ensure a smooth and successful process.

15. What are the consequences of providing false information on Form I-600?

1. Providing false information on Form I-600 can have serious consequences, as it is considered fraud in the immigration process. This can result in the denial of the petition and potential legal repercussions for the petitioner.
2. In addition, misrepresentation could lead to the orphan not being eligible for immigration benefits, causing delays in the process or even permanent inadmissibility to the United States for the child.
3. It is essential to be truthful and accurate when completing Form I-600 to ensure the integrity of the process and the well-being of the child. Any errors or discrepancies should be corrected promptly to avoid negative consequences for all parties involved.

16. Can I include more than one child on a single Form I-600 petition?

Yes, you can include more than one child on a single Form I-600 petition under certain conditions:

1. Children must meet the definition of an “orphan” under U.S. immigration law for each child listed on the petition. This means that the child must meet the criteria of being under the age of 16 (or under 18 if they are the birth sibling of a child under 16) and deprived of the support and care of one or both parents due to a specific set of circumstances, such as abandonment, abuse, or neglect.

2. Each child must also have a separate Form I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before they can be included on the Form I-600 petition. The Form I-600A determines your eligibility to adopt internationally and establishes that you meet the requirements to bring an orphan to the United States.

3. It’s essential to provide all necessary documentation and evidence for each child listed on the Form I-600 petition, including proof of orphan status, consent for adoption, and any other required supporting documents. Failure to include all required information for each child may result in delays or denials of the petition.

4. Keep in mind that each child listed on the Form I-600 petition will be processed individually, and USCIS will make a separate determination for each child’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States as an orphan.

17. What happens after USCIS approves Form I-600?

After USCIS approves Form I-600, several steps will follow in the process of bringing the orphan to the United States to be united with their adoptive family:

1. The approved Form I-600 will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
2. The adoptive parents will receive notification from the NVC, providing instructions on how to apply for an immigrant visa for the orphan at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the child’s home country.
3. The adoptive parents and the orphan will need to complete the necessary visa application forms and provide required documentation, including the orphan’s medical examination and police certificates.
4. Once all requirements are met, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will schedule an interview with the orphan to determine their eligibility for an immigrant visa.
5. If the visa is approved, the orphan will receive an immigrant visa to travel to the United States to be with their adoptive family.
6. Upon arrival in the U.S., the orphan will automatically become a lawful permanent resident and can begin the process of adjusting their status to obtain a green card.

It is essential for adoptive parents to follow all instructions provided by the NVC and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate carefully to ensure a smooth transition for the orphan to come to the United States.

18. Can a child adopted through Form I-600 automatically become a U.S. citizen?

1. No, a child adopted through Form I-600 does not automatically become a U.S. citizen. The Form I-600 petition is the first step in the process of adopting an orphan from another country and bringing them to the United States. Once the adoption is finalized, the child will become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S. and receive a green card.

2. In order for the child to become a U.S. citizen, the adoptive parents must then go through the process of applying for a Certificate of Citizenship for the child. This typically involves submitting an application, supporting documentation, and potentially attending an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once the Certificate of Citizenship is issued, the child will officially become a U.S. citizen.

3. It is important for adoptive parents to complete the necessary steps to ensure that their adopted child obtains U.S. citizenship, as this provides them with the full rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship and can prevent any potential issues with immigration status in the future.

19. Are there any specific requirements for the photographs submitted with Form I-600?

Yes, there are specific requirements for the photographs submitted with Form I-600:

1. The photographs must be in color and passport-style.
2. The dimensions of the photographs should be 2×2 inches.
3. The photographs must be taken within the last 30 days.
4. The background of the photographs should be plain white or off-white.
5. The applicant’s full face must be visible in the photographs, with a neutral facial expression and both eyes open.
6. The photographs should not have any shadows, glare, or red-eye.
7. The applicant should not wear glasses or headwear that obscures the face unless for religious purposes.

20. Are there any specific requirements for the home study report submitted with Form I-600?

Yes, there are specific requirements for the home study report submitted with Form I-600. The home study report must be conducted by a qualified individual or agency approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The report should include information about your family background, relationships, health, financial status, and reasons for adopting the particular child. Additionally, the home study should assess your ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child. It must also include a criminal background check, child abuse and neglect clearances, and references from non-family members. The report should reflect that the adoptive family meets the requirements for intercountry adoption as per the regulations of the Hague Adoption Convention if applicable. Finally, the home study report must be current, generally completed within the past six months, and comply with any specific requirements outlined by USCIS for the Form I-600 submission.