The International Adoption Simplification Act (“the Act”) was signed by the President on November 30, 2010 and immediately entered into force. It has impacted Hague Convention adoptions in three specific ways.
- New vaccination exemption: Children 10 years of age and younger adopted from a Hague Convention country and immigrating to the United States as Convention adoptees are no longer required to be vaccinated against certain vaccine-preventable diseases as a condition of receiving an immigrant visa. This allows children who are lacking necessary vaccines to travel to the United States to be with their new families and receive the medical treatment they require without the need to wait additional time overseas for completion of vaccinations. (Necessary vaccines include those for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B, hepatitis B, varicella, and pneumococcal.)
Prior to a child being granted an immigrant visa, adoptive parents or prospective adoptive parents must execute an affidavit stating that they will, within 30 days of the child’s admission to the United States, or at the earliest time that is medically appropriate, ensure that the child receives any missing necessary vaccinations. Adoptive parents must also show proof that a U.S. doctor has been identified and has agreed to handle the child’s vaccinations. The State Department’s Form DS-1981 “Affidavit Concerning Exemption from Immigrant Vaccination Requirements for a Foreign Adopted Child” has been updated to reflect the eligibility of Convention adoptees for this vaccination exemption.
- Older sibling adoption age exemption: Under the Act, U.S. citizens may now file Form I-800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as Immediate Relative on behalf of a child from a Convention country who is over the age of 16 but under the age of 18 when that child is the biological sibling of a qualifying child concurrently or already adopted or being brought to the United States for adoption by the same adoptive parents. This means that the biological older sibling from a Convention country, whom you have already adopted or are in the process of adopting, may also be eligible for an immigrant visa as a Convention adoptee. After November 30, 2010, U.S. citizens may file a Form I-800 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for such children. For more information on filing the Form I-800 and other eligibility criteria, contact USCIS.
- Grandfathering provision for older sibling adoptions: Related to the provision above, the Act also extends the older sibling exception to children who turned 18 on or after April 1, 2008, the date the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force in the United States. As a result, children from a Convention country who are now over the age of 18 may still be eligible as beneficiaries of Form I-800 petitions, so long as the petitions are filed no later than November 30, 2012. To find out if an older sibling you wish to adopt qualifies for this grandfathering provision, contact USCIS.