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Alert: Update on Haitian Intercountry Adoptions Following U.S. Government Trip to Port-au-Prince

The Department of State (Department) and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wish to advise U.S. prospective adoptive parents (PAPs), adoptive parents, and adoption service providers (ASPs) of new information provided by the Haitian Central Authority, L’Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR), and the Tribunal of First Instance (Tribunal) during our trip to Port-au-Prince October 13-17, 2015.

IBESR and the Tribunal reiterated that under the 2013 Haitian adoption law, all intercountry adoptions of Haitian children completed on or after November 15, 2013, must be completed as plenary adoptions. Key information that applies to all intercountry adoptions is outlined in the attached “General Information” document.    

Converting simple adoptions to plenary adoptions:  We are pleased to note that fewer adoptions will need to be converted from simple to plenary than initially expected.  Please see the chart and key points for detailed guidance on when an adoption will need to be converted or corrected, the necessary steps, the expected timeframe, fees, and children’s passports.

The Department, USCIS, IBESR, and the Tribunal expect that all intercountry adoptions that have not yet been finalized will be completed as plenary adoptions. U.S. PAPs and their ASPs are strongly encouraged to ensure that the court or IBESR have obtained the appropriate plenary consents before finalizing the adoption.

Cautionary note for transition cases that have not yet been matched:  The Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for Haiti on April 1, 2014.  Prior to that date, the Haitian and U.S. governments agreed that certain cases may proceed under the orphan process (non-Convention) even after April 1, 2014, if certain criteria are met – see the USCIS website for detailed criteria. Cases will be able to process as transition cases only if, before April 1, 2016, IBESR matches U.S. PAPs with a child, and the adopting family files their Form I-600 petition with USCIS while their Form I-600A approval is still valid.

The Department and USCIS caution U.S. PAPs, however, that IBESR may not be able to match all eligible PAPs who applied using the transition process with a Haitian child before April 1, 2016.  IBESR is currently assessing their capacity and monthly quotas to determine how many cases they expect to be able to match by the April 1, 2016 deadline and how many additional dossiers for transition cases, if any, they will be able to accept.  We will share additional information as it becomes available.

PAPs who are not able to obtain a match and file a Form I-600 on behalf of the child by the deadline may want to consider pursuing a Convention adoption and file new forms (Form I-800A and Form I-800) and submitting required documentation.

We recognize these additional delays cause hardship for children and their adoptive families. Please be assured the Department and USCIS will continue to urge that conversions be completed as smoothly and quickly as possible.

For further information regarding this notice, please contact the Department’s Office of Children’s Issues via email at Adoption@state.gov. For case specific inquiries, please contact the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince Adoption Unit at PAPadoptions@state.gov, the USCIS Field Office in Port-au-Prince at Haiti.USCIS@uscis.dhs.gov, or the USCIS National Benefits Center at NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov. Please continue to monitor our website for updates on adoptions in Haiti.