Thursday, October 16, 2008

UPDATE: Call to Action Vietnam - USCIS/DOS Statements

Adoptions from Vietnam to the United States Will Not Resume Without a New Bilateral Agreement - Action Taken to Establish Safeguards that Protect Children and Families

WASHINGTON – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) issued a joint statement with the government of Vietnam announcing that the processing of new adoption cases will not resume until both countries sign a new bilateral agreement.

The governments of the United States and Vietnam are taking this action jointly because both governments recognize the complexity of issues relating to intercountry adoptions and the importance of developing a transparent adoption system that protects all parties. The United States continues to strongly support the Vietnamese government's efforts to establish an appropriate child adoption system with sound safeguards and protections for children and families. Until a new bilateral agreement is reached, USCIS and DOS have concluded it is in the best interest of children and families to not process any post-Sept. 1, 2008 adoption cases. This action does not affect cases where the prospective adoptive parents were matched with a child before Sept. 1, 2008, the date the previous bilateral agreement expired.

USCIS and DOS will continue to process Vietnamese intercountry adoption cases where the child was matched with the prospective adoptive family before Sept. 1, 2008. Prospective adoptive parents, who may need clarification of the status of their case, may verify whether their adoption petition qualifies as a pre-Sept. 1 case by e-mailing the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi at: The Embassy strongly advises prospective adoptive parents not to travel to Vietnam until they have received notification from the Embassy that their case is ready for final processing and travel is appropriate.

The United States government is committed to supporting Vietnam in its efforts to establish practices necessary to appropriately process intercountry adoptions. We have therefore expressed our willingness to begin negotiations on a new bilateral agreement with the government of Vietnam that addresses the deficiencies in their current system. We cannot predict when a new bilateral adoption agreement with adequate safeguards for all parties will be concluded.

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The joint statement between the United States and Vietnam is available in the RelatedLinks section of the USCIS webpage.

Additional information on international adoptions is available online at, or in the Adoptions section of the USCIS website.

Additional printed FAQ available at the USCIS website:

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USCIS Update on I600a Renewals for Hague Transition Cases

Finally, some good news for Hague Transition applicants!

The USCIS published a new FAQ on October 14, 2008 containing an update and reversal of it's previous stance on I600a renewals for Hague Transition cases. Transition applications will now be fully grandfathered, meaning that families may file one free 18 month extension AND, if their transition adoption has not been completed by the expiration of the free extension, they may file another I600a and fee to renew approval.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Families with a transition case MUST keep their underlying I600a from expiring. If they allow the I600a to expire without filing for renewal, the case will have to be processed under Hague Convention rules (I800a).

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Thank you to all adoptive and prospective adoptive families, adoption advocacy groups, and friends who took the time to contact government officials on this issue, our voices were heard!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

USCIS Posts FAQ on Intercountry Adoption

The USCIS published an updated list of FAQ on Intercountry adoptions dated
9/29/08. The New FAQ can be found at:

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If either link gives you trouble, just go to: and click on "Press Room" in the upper righthand corner.

The FAQ address some frequent concerns stated by PAPs in process of adopting from Hague and Non-Hague countries and I600a vs. I800a issues.

Noticeably missing is a clear statement as to the number of times a PAP can renew an I600a filed before April 1, 2008 in a Hague Country. DOS informed PAPs who were in process last spring that if they filed the I600a before April 1, 2008, they would be grandfathered into the I600a pre-Hague process (see DOS statement: "Transition cases will continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions which were in effect at the time the case was filed. Non-Convention procedures differ from the new Convention adoption procedures."

The Immigration regulations on renewals which were in effect on April 1, 2008 can be found in the Final Rule on I600a renewals published in the Federal Register in February 2007. Read in its entirety, the Final Rule states that PAPs may receive one free renewal and subsequent renewals must be accompanied by a fee.(see: We at PEAR read this as meaning there is more than one opportunity to renew the I600a, but only one renewal is free. From what we understand, however, USCIS is interpreting this to mean that only one renewal is permitted. PEAR continues to press USCIS on a final statement that is consistent with the intent and letter of the law. We encourage PAPs and APs to call or write to the USCIS, DOS and their Congressmen requesting that USCIS permit more than one renewal of I600a applications in Hague transition cases as well as non-Hague cases.

Some helpful contact information:



Gerry W. Fuller,
Intercountry Adoptions

Gina Pollock