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Ruling Requires Habitual Residence Statement for I-130 Petitions for Adopted Children

Posted by Hugo R. Valverde, Managing Attorney, and Anna D. Colby, Attorney Social Media Marketing Manager | Jul 02, 2024 | 0 Comments

Have you ever heard of the Hague Convention?

If you're like most people, you may have heard it referenced but have no idea what it means. 

The Hague Convention, which the United States has been a party to for the last 16 years, “aims to prevent the abduction, sale of, or trafficking in children, and it works to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children.” Under the Hague Convention, if a suitable family has not been found in the child's country of origin, intercountry adoption may be recognized for nationals of other Hague Convention countries. 

In order to make sure that the United States is respecting the agreements and policies of the Hague Convention, a new ruling has been made with wide-reaching ramifications for adoptive families. In Matter of Delis Ismael FURTADO, Beneficiary of a visa petition filed by Helena Eloisa Johnson, Petitioner, the Board of Immigration Appeals decided that regardless of an international adoptee child's length of residence in the United States, a petitioner (adoptive parent) seeking approval of a Form I-130 for an adopted child from a country that is a party to the Hague Convention needs to provide:

(1) a written statement from the Central Authority of the child's country of origin stating that it is aware of the child's presence in the United States and of the adoption, and that it has determined that the child is not habitually resident in the country of origin; and (2) an adoption order or amended adoption order incorporating the language of the statement from the Central Authority.

If the petitioner is unable to obtain such a statement, an alternative showing is required, such as a statement from the Central Authority of the child's country of origin that it does not issue habitual residence requirements. An I-130 form is the form to file for an immediate relative, and every American filing for an international child they are adopting needs to file that form. 

It has long been recognized that the process for international adoptees to become U.S. citizens is far too complicated and lengthy than it should be. This year a group of bipartisan senators and representatives are hoping to change that for a group of adoptees who were overlooked the last time significant international adoption legislation was passed. This month Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2024, which would grant U.S. citizenship to international adoptees who were legally adopted in the U.S. as children but lack citizenship status due to a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. 

If you are adopting a child from a different country, we know the process can be prolonged, and we wish you great success in the adoption journey! If you need assistance in completing a Form I-130 for your adoption process, we are happy to assist you.

If you would like assistance with an immigration petition, you can reach us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.

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