April 10, 2020 – COVID-19 UPDATE:

The health and safety of our adoptive families continues to be on the forefront of our minds as new information and guidelines are released to the public. We choose to be a facilitator of resources to our readers as we receive updates during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

On April 2, 2020, the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Office of Children’s Services announced clarifications on traveling internationally and I-130 processing. Currently, there is a global health advisory in order to prevent all international travel. For more information on the advisory, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html. It is imperative to understand the health risks associated with traveling internationally during this crises, and we have been asked to encourage individuals with upcoming international travel plans to reconsider, given the consequences. 

For any U.S. Citizen already out of the country, please visit www.step.state.gov and www.travel.state.gov. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program will help individuals to stay informed, safe, and connected with important information from the U.S. Embassy. On March 18, 2020, the Department announced that routine visa services are suspended until further notice. Therefore, any adoptive families outside of the U.S. should be making plans to remain where they are until further notice. 

In regards to the I-130 process, the Department’s Visa Office and USCIS has issued the following announcement: 

“At this time and at their discretion, consular sections may accept Form I-130 filings for adopted children with an imminent need to depart the country, where filing with USCIS online or domestically with an expedite request would not be sufficient, provided that the Embassy or Consulate has the resources to accept and process the filing. Families are encouraged to carefully review the requirements to file an I-130 on behalf of an adopted child, and to be in contact directly with the Embassy or Consulate about the possibility of filing the I-130 with the consular section.  Generally, the consular section will only consider accepting the filing if the petitioner has a full and final adoption decree on behalf of the child and the adoptive parent(s) has had legal custody of and jointly resided with the child for at least 2 years. Please note that electronic I-130 filings with USCIS are now possible, and are another avenue for families to consider.” 

Therefore, adoptive families may locate and inquire to the U.S. Embassy (https://www.usembassy.gov/) as to whether an I-130 filing will be accepted. If the filing is not accepted by the U.S. Embassy at this time, adoptive families may inquire about the process directly to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/contact-us

We continue to encourage our adoptive families to use best practices and to stay safe during this time. Thank you!