Form I-800 – Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for the United States

1. What is Form I-800?

Form I-800 is a petition form used to classify a child adopted from a Convention country as an immediate relative for the purpose of immigration to the United States. This form is specifically designed for individuals who are adopting a child from a country that is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention. By filing Form I-800, the prospective adoptive parent is seeking to establish the eligibility of the child to immigrate to the U.S. as an immediate relative based on the adoption. The completion and submission of Form I-800 is a crucial step in the process of bringing a Convention adoptee to the United States legally.

1. The form requires detailed information about the adoptive parents, the child being adopted, and the adoption itself.
2. Supporting documentation, including the home study and eligibility requirements, must accompany the submission of Form I-800.
3. Approval of the Form I-800 is necessary for the child to obtain an immigrant visa to enter the United States and complete the adoption process.

2. Who is eligible to file Form I-800?

1. Only United States citizens are eligible to file Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for the United States. This form is specifically for individuals who are seeking to adopt a child from a country that is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. The adopting parent must be a U.S. citizen in order to petition for the child to immigrate to the United States as their immediate relative.

2. Additionally, in order to file Form I-800, the adopting parent must have the legal capacity to adopt a child under the laws of the state where they reside. They must also be found suitable and eligible to adopt by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through the required home study process.

It is important for the petitioner to carefully review the eligibility requirements and instructions provided by USCIS before submitting Form I-800 to ensure a smooth and successful adoption process.

3. What is a Convention Adoptee?

A Convention Adoptee refers to a child who has been adopted or is in the process of being adopted from a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Hague Convention sets international standards and procedures for intercountry adoptions to ensure the protection of the child’s best interests, prevent abduction, trafficking, sale, or improper financial gain in connection with adoptions, and establish safeguards to ensure that adoptions are formalized legally and ethically.

1. The Convention aims to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of the child and respect their fundamental rights.
2. Countries that are party to the Convention must have a Central Authority responsible for overseeing adoptions and ensuring compliance with the treaty.
3. Adopting a Convention Adoptee involves following specific procedures outlined in the Convention, such as the submission of Form I-800 to classify the child as an immediate relative for immigration purposes in the United States.

4. What is the purpose of Form I-800?

The purpose of Form I-800 is to petition for the classification of a convention adoptee as an immediate relative for the United States. This form is specifically designed for adoptive parents who are seeking to adopt a child from a country that is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention. By filing Form I-800, the adoptive parents are formally requesting that the child be recognized as their immediate relative for immigration purposes, allowing for the child to immigrate to the United States and become a lawful permanent resident. This form is a crucial step in the process of international adoption under the Hague Convention, ensuring that the child’s immigration status is properly established in the United States.

1. Form I-800 serves as a key part of the overall immigration process for convention adoptees.
2. It helps to streamline and regulate the adoption process for children coming from other countries.
3. By submitting this form, the adoptive parents are initiating the legal steps necessary for the child to join their family in the United States.
4. Overall, the purpose of Form I-800 is to facilitate the immigration of convention adoptees and ensure that they are granted the appropriate status as immediate relatives of their adoptive parents for entry into the United States.

5. What documents are required to file Form I-800?

To file Form I-800, several documents are required to support the petition to classify a Convention adoptee as an immediate relative for the United States:

1. Form I-800A Approval Notice: This form indicates that the prospective adoptive parents have been approved by the U.S. government to adopt internationally and sets the stage for the filing of Form I-800.

2. Child’s Identity and Eligibility Documentation: This includes the child’s birth certificate, passport, and any official documents proving the child’s eligibility for adoption under the Hague Convention.

3. Documentation of the Child’s Status as a Convention Adoptee: This may include a final adoption decree, a certificate issued under the Hague Convention, or other official documentation confirming the child’s adoption status.

4. Biometrics: Biometric information for the adoptive parents, such as fingerprints, may be required for background checks and verification purposes.

5. Additional Supporting Documentation: Depending on the circumstances of the adoption and the specific requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), additional documentation may be requested to support the petition, such as evidence of the adoptive parents’ legal status, financial stability, and ability to provide for the child’s well-being in the United States.

Ensuring that all required documents are submitted accurately and completely is crucial to the success of the Form I-800 petition process. It is advisable to carefully review the USCIS instructions and requirements, seek guidance from an immigration attorney specializing in international adoptions, and provide all necessary documentation to facilitate a smooth adjudication process.

6. What are the eligibility criteria for a Convention Adoptee?

The eligibility criteria for a Convention Adoptee include the following:

1. The child must be under the age of 16 at the time the Form I-800 is filed, or must have been adopted or had an adoption finalized within the previous 2 years.

2. The child must be habitually resident in a country that is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention at the time of filing the Form I-800.

3. The child must be eligible for adoption under the laws of their country of origin, as well as the laws of the adoptive parents’ state in the U.S.

4. The child must have obtained all necessary consents for adoption, unless such consents are not required or have been waived by the competent authority.

5. The child must be classifiable as an immediate relative under U.S. immigration law, meaning they must be able to form a parent-child relationship with the petitioner(s) as defined by immigration regulations.

Meeting these eligibility criteria is essential for a Convention Adoptee to be granted immediate relative status for the purposes of immigration to the United States.

7. How long does it take to process Form I-800?

The processing time for Form I-800 can vary depending on various factors, including the caseload of the specific U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office handling the application, the complexity of the case, and any requests for additional information or documentation. On average, the processing time for Form I-800 typically ranges from several months to a year or more. It is important to note that USCIS provides estimated processing times on their website, which can give applicants a general idea of how long it may take to adjudicate their Form I-800 petition.

Factors that can influence the processing time of Form I-800 include:

1. The specific USCIS office handling the application: Some USCIS offices may have higher caseloads or be more efficient in processing petitions, which can impact the overall processing time.

2. The completeness of the application: If the Form I-800 petition is missing required information or documentation, it may take longer for USCIS to review and adjudicate the application.

3. Any requests for evidence (RFEs): If USCIS requires additional information or documentation to make a decision on the Form I-800 petition, this can extend the processing time as the applicant gathers and submits the requested evidence.

Overall, while there is no definitive answer to how long it takes to process Form I-800, applicants can stay informed by checking USCIS’s estimated processing times and ensure they submit a complete and accurate application to help expedite the adjudication process.

8. What are the filing fees for Form I-800?

The filing fees for Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for the United States, are as follows:

1. Form I-800A (Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country): The filing fee for this form is $775.

2. Form I-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative): The filing fee for this form is $775.

These fees are current as of the time of this response, but it is always recommended to check the latest fee information on the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before submitting your application to ensure accurate payment.

9. Can a child adopted from a non-Convention country be classified as an immediate relative using Form I-800?

No, a child adopted from a non-Convention country cannot be classified as an immediate relative using Form I-800. The Form I-800 is specifically designed for a child adopted from a country that is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention. For adoptions from non-Convention countries, the appropriate form to classify the child as an immediate relative for immigration purposes is the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form is used for the classification of a foreign-born child adopted by a U.S. citizen parent from a non-Convention country. The process and requirements for adoption from a non-Convention country may vary, and it is important to follow the correct procedures to ensure the child’s immigration status is properly established.

10. How does the Hague Adoption Convention impact Form I-800?

The Hague Adoption Convention has a significant impact on Form I-800, which is the petition used to classify a convention adoptee as an immediate relative for the United States. Here are several ways in which the Hague Adoption Convention impacts Form I-800:

1. Compliance with Convention Standards: The Form I-800 process is designed to ensure that adoptions involving convention adoptees meet the standards set forth by the Hague Adoption Convention. This includes requirements for the safeguarding of children’s welfare, the prevention of abduction and trafficking, and the respect for the rights of birth parents.

2. Central Authority Involvement: One key aspect of the Hague Adoption Convention is the requirement for the involvement of central authorities in the adoption process. Form I-800 requires coordination with the U.S. Department of State’s central authority, which plays a crucial role in facilitating communication and cooperation with the central authorities of other member countries.

3. Home Study and Accreditation Requirements: Form I-800 applicants must meet specific requirements related to home studies and accreditation from Hague-accredited adoption service providers. These requirements are in place to ensure that adoptive parents are prepared and suitable to provide a safe and loving home for the adoptee.

4. Consular Processing: The Hague Adoption Convention also impacts the consular processing of Form I-800 petitions. Consular officers play a role in verifying the eligibility of the adoptive parents and ensuring that all requirements under the convention are met before the adoptee can travel to the United States.

Overall, the Hague Adoption Convention plays a crucial role in shaping the procedures and requirements outlined in Form I-800 to promote ethical and transparent adoptions that prioritize the best interests of the children involved.

11. Can a U.S. citizen residing abroad file Form I-800?

Yes, a U.S. citizen residing abroad can file Form I-800 to classify a Convention adoptee as an immediate relative for the United States. When filing from abroad, it is important to follow the specific instructions provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for submitting the form and supporting documentation. Some key points to note when a U.S. citizen residing abroad files Form I-800 include:

1. Ensure compliance with all requirements: Make sure to meet all the eligibility criteria and requirements outlined by USCIS for filing Form I-800.
2. Consular processing: As a U.S. citizen residing abroad, you may need to work with the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live for consular processing of the adoption case.
3. Timely communication: Keep in mind the potential challenges of communication due to different time zones and distance. Stay organized and maintain timely correspondence with USCIS throughout the process.
4. Seek legal advice: Consider consulting with an immigration attorney experienced in international adoptions to assist you with navigating the legal requirements and potential challenges of filing Form I-800 while residing abroad.

Overall, while residing abroad as a U.S. citizen, it is possible to file Form I-800 for a Convention adoptee, but it is essential to adhere to the guidelines and seek assistance as needed to ensure a smooth process.

12. Can a permanent resident file Form I-800 for an adoptee?

A permanent resident of the United States is not eligible to file Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, for an adoptee. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to file Form I-800 to petition for the adoption of a child from a Convention country. Permanent residents do not have the same rights and privileges as U.S. citizens when it comes to immigration benefits, including adoption petitions. Therefore, if a permanent resident wishes to petition for the adoption of a child from a Convention country, they would need to first become a U.S. citizen before filing Form I-800 for the adoptee.

13. Are there any exceptions to the eligibility requirements for Form I-800?

Yes, there are some exceptions to the eligibility requirements for Form I-800 which is the Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for the United States. These exceptions include:

1. Children adopted by married U.S. citizen parents jointly: In cases where both parents are U.S. citizens and are married to each other, only one parent needs to meet the U.S. residence requirement.

2. Orphan determinations by competent authorities: In some cases, the orphan determination can be made by a competent authority other than the Central Authority of the child’s country of origin, such as a court, administrative body, or other entity designated to make such determinations.

3. Waivers for certain grounds of inadmissibility: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant waivers for certain grounds of inadmissibility if it is determined to be in the best interest of the child.

It is essential to review the specific eligibility requirements and consult with an immigration attorney or a qualified professional to determine if any exceptions apply in a particular case.

14. Do I need an adoption agency to file Form I-800?

Yes, you generally need an accredited or approved adoption agency to file Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, on your behalf. The agency must be licensed in the United States or, if located abroad, be authorized under the laws of the country where the adoption took place. Here are some key points to consider regarding the need for an adoption agency to file Form I-800:

1. Accreditation Requirement: In international adoption cases under the Hague Adoption Convention, which Form I-800 is specifically designed for, the accredited adoption agency plays a crucial role in helping families navigate the complex adoption process and ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

2. Expertise and Experience: Adoption agencies are well-versed in the adoption procedures, requirements, and legal aspects involved in intercountry adoptions. Their expertise can significantly streamline the application process and help prevent delays or errors that could impact the outcome of the petition.

3. Mandatory Representation: For Form I-800 filings, the adoption agency typically acts as the primary representative of the prospective adoptive parents in their interactions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing necessary documentation and information on behalf of the petitioner.

4. Compliance Assurance: Working with a reputable adoption agency ensures that all necessary documents are submitted correctly and that the adoption itself meets the requirements set forth under the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. immigration laws, reducing the risk of petition rejection or denial.

Therefore, while having an adoption agency handle the filing of Form I-800 is usually a requirement, it is also highly beneficial in ensuring a smooth and successful adoption process for prospective adoptive parents seeking to bring a child into the United States through intercountry adoption.

15. What is the difference between Form I-800 and Form I-600A?

Form I-800 and Form I-600A are both immigration forms used in the adoption process, but they serve different purposes under the U.S. immigration laws concerning international adoptions. Here are the key differences between the two forms:

1. Form I-800: This form is specifically used for the adoption of a child who is habitually resident in a country that is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention. It is filed by prospective adoptive parents seeking to classify the child as an immediate relative so they can bring them to the United States as their legally adopted child.

2. Form I-600A: This form, on the other hand, is used for non-Hague Convention adoptions. It is an application for advance processing of an orphan petition. Prospective adoptive parents file this form to establish their eligibility and suitability as adoptive parents before identifying a specific child to adopt. Once approved, they can then file a separate Form I-600 to petition for the immigration of the specific child they intend to adopt.

In summary, the main difference between Form I-800 and Form I-600A lies in the type of adoption they are associated with – Hague Convention adoptions for Form I-800 and non-Hague Convention adoptions for Form I-600A.

16. Can a single parent file Form I-800?

Yes, a single parent can file Form I-800 to petition to classify a convention adoptee as an immediate relative for the United States. The form is intended for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is at least 25 years old and will be the sole adopting parent. In this case, the single parent would need to meet all the eligibility requirements and provide the necessary evidence to support their petition. It is important for the single parent to demonstrate their ability to provide a suitable and stable home environment for the adoptee. Additionally, the single parent must comply with all the Hague Adoption Convention requirements and regulations in order for the petition to be approved.

17. What happens after Form I-800 is approved?

After Form I-800 is approved, several steps typically follow:

1. Notification of Approval: You will receive formal notification of the approval of Form I-800 from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This notification will confirm that your prospective adoptee has been classified as an immediate relative for immigration purposes.

2. Potential Request for More Information: In some cases, USCIS may request additional information or documentation before the process can proceed further. It is essential to respond promptly and thoroughly to any such requests to avoid delays.

3. Immigrant Visa Application: Once Form I-800 is approved, you can then proceed with the immigrant visa application process for your adopted child. This typically involves submitting the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application, scheduling a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and completing any required medical examinations.

4. Travel and Admission to the U.S.: After the immigrant visa is issued, you can make travel arrangements for your adopted child to enter the United States. Upon arrival, your child will go through the admission process at a U.S. port of entry and officially become a lawful permanent resident.

Overall, the approval of Form I-800 is a significant milestone in the intercountry adoption process, signaling that your adopted child is now eligible to immigrate to the United States as your immediate relative.

18. Can a child with special needs be classified as an immediate relative using Form I-800?

Yes, a child with special needs can be classified as an immediate relative using Form I-800. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes that children with special needs may require specific medical treatment, care, and support. When filing Form I-800 to classify a child with special needs as an immediate relative for the purpose of intercountry adoption, additional documentation related to the child’s special needs may be required. This documentation typically includes medical reports, assessments, and evaluations to demonstrate the child’s condition and the need for special care. It is essential to provide detailed and accurate information about the child’s special needs in the Form I-800 petition for USCIS to assess the child’s eligibility for classification as an immediate relative based on special needs criteria. Additionally, applicants may also need to meet specific eligibility requirements outlined by the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. immigration laws to proceed with the adoption process for a child with special needs.

19. Can I appeal a denial of Form I-800?

Yes, you can appeal a denial of Form I-800. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Request for Reconsideration: You can submit a request to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that issued the denial for a reconsideration of their decision. This allows them to review your case again and consider any additional evidence or information you may provide.

2. File an Appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO): If your request for reconsideration is denied or if you wish to directly appeal the denial, you can file an appeal with the AAO. The AAO is an independent office within USCIS that reviews immigration-related decisions for errors in interpretation of law or policy.

3. Seek Legal Assistance: It is recommended to seek the help of an immigration attorney who specializes in adoption cases to guide you through the appeals process. They can help you prepare a strong appeal with the necessary supporting documents and arguments to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

4. Meet Deadlines: Make sure to adhere to all timelines and deadlines for submitting your appeal. Missing a deadline could result in your appeal being rejected or dismissed.

By following these steps and seeking proper legal guidance, you can appeal a denial of Form I-800 and potentially overturn the decision.

20. How can I track the status of my Form I-800 application?

Tracking the status of your Form I-800 application is crucial to stay updated on the progress of the petition. Here are the steps you can take to track the status:

1. Use the USCIS Case Status Online tool: Visit the USCIS website and enter your receipt number to check the status of your Form I-800 application online. The website is regularly updated with the latest information on your petition.

2. Contact USCIS National Customer Service Center: If you prefer to speak with a representative, you can contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. Be ready to provide your receipt number for them to assist you with tracking your application.

3. Attend a USCIS field office appointment: If necessary, attend an appointment at a USCIS field office to discuss the status of your Form I-800 application with an officer in person. This can provide you with more detailed information on the progress of your petition.

By utilizing these methods, you can effectively track the status of your Form I-800 application and stay informed throughout the process.