Have you adopted a child overseas under the laws of her home country? Are you trying to adopt a child who is here in the United States on a medical or visitor’s visa? If you hope to secure immigration benefits for your child, you will need experienced guidance and advice in how to comply with the laws of both countries. We can help.
Our firm offers a full array of immigration options for non-citizen children and their adoptive parents including assistance for clients who wish to grow their families through adoption as well as reuniting children separated from biological relatives by borders and international law.
We believe in getting things right the first time. We meticulously prepare immigration filings sent to USCIS. This requires extensive and specific supporting documentation to obtain your child’s immigration benefits. Let our experience, care, and thoroughness work for you.
I-130 Immediate Relative Petitions
A family will typically need to engage the services of an accredited adoption service provider (ASP) to adopt a child from overseas and bring her home. However, under certain circumstances, U.S. immigration laws may permit citizens to petition to classify adopted children as immediate relatives after two years of legal and physical custody. These are complex filings, requiring extensive proof that the family has met the legal requirements. If the child is from a country signatory to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, additional rules apply. We have the expertise to analyze your situation and meet the complex requirements of relative petitions for adopted children. We will begin each case with our [sc: “extended consult PDF link”] so that we can evaluate the particulars of your case and make recommendations based on current law and policy.
Certificates of Citizenship for Adopted Children
Under the Child Citizenship Act, an adopted child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a citizen if his situation conforms to the legal standard. But only a Certificate of Citizenship (COC) offers single-document, permanent proof of an adopted child’s citizenship status. Children entering the United States following a full and final adoption abroad after January 1, 2004 should receive their COC automatically. Foreign born children adopted within the United States must apply for a COC. The filing fee for a Certificate of Citizenship is $1170.00, so it is important to file it correctly the first time! Our firm can assist you in making the application process as quick and painless as possible.
Responses to RFEs, NOIDs, and Denials
If you have received a Request for Evidence (RFE), a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR), or a Denial from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after filing a petition for an adopted child, we may be able to help. Our staff has extensive experience with analyzing and petitioning for immigration benefits stemming from complex international adoptions.
Through our [sc: “extended consult PDF link”], we will evaluate the facts of your case and your supporting documentation and give you a candid assessment of the likelihood of successfully responding to a request or contesting USCIS’s decision. In some situations, we may advise clients to accept a denial and re-file with new or additional evidence, supported by a legal letter brief. Others call for a precisely written and well-researched response or an I-290B USCIS Motion to Re-open Decision to Deny filing. We are experienced in gathering the proper to present your case in the way most likely to secure an immigration benefit for your child.
Habitual Residency Determination Requests
We have been hosting a child from Haiti on a medical visa. His doctor has just advised that he may not survive without ongoing medical care. Can we adopt him?
Possibly. We can help you determine whether domestic adoption and eventual citizenship is feasible.
Usually, when a family wants to adopt a child from a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the family must use an accredited adoption service provider (ASP) and follow the traditional Hague adoption process. However, if the child is already in the United States and it is not possible/practical to follow the usual Hague adoption process, it may be possible to adopt him domestically.
For a domestic adoption of a child from a Hague country, adoptive parents must follow a specific protocol with the Central Authority of the child’s country of origin. If the protocol is followed to a T, your child may be eligible for citizenship even if the government of his country of origin never responds. If the protocol is not followed exactly, your child’s domestic adoption might preclude U.S. citizenship. We are knowledgeable and experienced in assisting families with this process to ensure that their domestically adopted non-U.S. citizen children may become eligible for citizenship.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) is a legal pathway for abused, abandoned, or neglected undocumented children present in the United States to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). A state juvenile court must first declare the child dependent under state law, after determining that reunification with one or both parents is not a viable option and that it is not in the child’s best interest to return her to her home country. The state court order in and of itself does not confer any legal immigration status and it will not protect a child from removal from the United States. A special immigration petition must accompany the court order in order for the child to apply for lawful permanent residency.
State courts’ willingness to find undocumented children dependent varies considerably by jurisdiction. We recommend that families request an [sc: “extended consult PDF link”] to evaluate all possible options before attempting this pathway for citizenship.
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