"The BCIS also requires that the child you are adopting be classified as an orphan. This classification, as listed on the BCIS website, is as follows, Under U.S. immigration law, a foreign-born child is an orphan if he or she does not have any parents because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents. A foreign-born child is also an orphan if his or her sole or surviving parent is not able to take proper care of the child and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption. For such a child to gain immigration benefits, an orphan petition must be filed before his or her 16th birthday."
Preparing for BCIS
Once you're dedicated to the idea of adopting internationally, there are several steps that need to be taken early in the process.
First, submit an I-600A to Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). Approval from BCIS typically takes from 2 to 3 months, so it's a good idea to submit this first.
The first step in getting Immigration and Naturalization Approval is to submit the I-600A.
Obtain your BCIS forms
Call Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) at:
and ask for the International Adoption Packet
which includes the forms I-600-A, I-864, I-600 or
download the forms from the Internet
When you receive this packet, fill out the I600A form, and return it to BCIS with the specified dollar amount. Send a cashier's check or money order (personal checks may be returned, delaying your request). Keep the blue and white copies in a safe place. You will need these copies with you when you travel to your child's country.
Immediately file the I-600-A form
"Application for Advanced Processing of an Orphan Petition" is the application that gives you BCIS clearance (visa approval), and you cannot bring a child back into the United States without a visa. Several documents must be included with your I-600A form, so compile these while waiting for your I-600A form to be mailed to you:
Proof of US citizenship. If born in the US, submit a birth certificate. Arrange to get 4 copies (also required for passport & dossier) from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the birth state of the adoptive parents. All supporting documents must be originals or official copies of the original records issued by and bearing the seals of the official custodians of the records. You can call the office of vital statistics in your state, and if you give them your credit card number they'll overnight the birth certificates to you.
If married, a certificate of marriage. Arrange to get 2 copies (also required for dossier) from the county of residence at the time of marriage. In some States (for example in Virginia) only a marriage certificate certified by the State Division of Vital Records can be certified by the Secretary of the State.
Proof of termination of all prior marriages.
Favorable home study (if not completed, write a note that you'll provide it later).
We suggest you submit your I600A without a home study so the INS can begin to process your application, while completing your homestudy. Your homestudy can be sent when it is completed.
Send the I-600A form, accomponied by all these documents along with the cashier's check or a money order
BCIS requires the applicant to be fingerprinted for the purpose of criminal background checks. BCIS schedules people to be fingerprinted at an authorized site after their application or petition has been filed. You will be notified of the time and place for fingerprinting after the I600A application has been received.
Filling out the I-600A form:
Block 11 and 12 -- Plan to travel to adopt?
Keep in mind that adopting a child from
Kazakhstan requires travel, check YES
Block 13 -- Date and city of intended departure.
Yunona USA adoptions average 4 months from
start to finish. The country location for Yunona
USA adoptions is Kazakhstan or Russia or Ukraine.
Block 14 -- NO
Block 15 -- YES
Block 16 -- The American Consulate or Embassy at (adoption from KZ ) Almaty, Kazakhstan, (from Russia) Moscow, Russia, (from Ukraine) Warsaw, Poland.
Send the I-600A form to your local INS office. Several weeks after submitting the I-600A, you will be sent an appointment letter for fingerprinting.
When you receive INS approval (Form I-171H), please keep in mind to check that:
Your advance processing application has been forwarded to the American Consulate or Embassy at
or Moscow, Russia
or Warsaw, Poland.
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, $140. You use this form if you need to change the Embassy that you want to receive your cabled approval from the local BCIS.
Effective June 17, 2003, BCIS has replaced form N-643, Application for Citizenship on Behalf of Adopted Child, with form N-600-K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322.
The application fee is still $145, and the form and instructions can be downloaded from the BCIS website INS/BCIS Form N-600K (as of 6-17-03) (http://www.bcis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/n-600k.htm)
On October 12, 2000, Congress passed an international adoption bill that would confer U.S. citizenship on foreign adoptee automatically when they enter the United States as lawful permanent residents in the legal and physical custody of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. The Delahunt Child Citizenship Act of 2000 is now the law, having gone into effect on February 27, 2001