Advance Processing and Orphan Petitions

Applicants have two options for completing immigration procedure under the orphan adoption program. Option one requires two steps.  Step One: the US citizen applicant files an advance processing petition under Form I-600A to determine the eligibility of the applicant. This is done before an orphan is identified.  Step Two:  once an orphan is identified, the applicant can file Form I-600 to qualify the alien orphan’s eligibilities. Form I-600 can be filed as soon as an alien orphan is identified, regardless of whether an I-600A petition has been approved or is still pending.

Option two is a one step petition and is applicable to situations where an alien orphan has been identified. The applicant only needs to file Form I-600.  In option two, the USCIS examines both the applicant and the beneficiary orphan’s eligibilities together.
A: Advance Processing of an Orphan Adoption (Form I-600A) and Subsequent I-600 Petition

To bring the adopted orphan into the U.S. quickly, the eligible U.S. citizen may apply for advance processing, Form I-600A petition, before he/she actually identifies the beneficiary alien orphan.  Form I-600A is filed to determine the eligibility of the US citizen applicant. It may be filed by any married US citizen (no age requirement) or an unmarried US citizen of at least 25 years of age.

The I-600A advance processing petition allows the USCIS to determine the applicant's ability to provide a proper home environment and to assess his suitability as a parent. The processing is filed before the alien orphan is identified so that the applicant may have his/her qualifications determined earlier and reduce the waiting period after the orphan is identified.   Once the orphan to be adopted is identified, the applicant can file Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) immediately.  If the I-600A petition has been approved, the applicant only needs to submit the I-600A approval notice to establish his/her qualifications and the USCIS will only examine the qualifications of the orphan and the adoption relationship. 

1. Information required about the U.S. applicant for filing Form I-600A

The applicant for the adoption must provide the following information when filing I-600A:

    1. Proof of U.S. citizenship;
    2. Evidence of the spouse's U.S. citizenship or lawful legal status if the applicant is married and living in the U.S.;
    3. Proof that the applicant and applicant's spouse are married and that any previous marriages ended legally (if applicable);
    4. A complete and current home study within prescribed time limits;
    5. Proof that the applicants comply with the pre-adoption requirements of the state in which they will live with the adopted child;
    6. The required filing fee of $670 for the application; and
    7. Fingerprints of each adult member of the adoptive household and a $80 fingerprinting fee for each member.

The approval for I-600A is good for 18 months.  During the 18 months, an I-600 petition must be submitted.

  1. Information required about the adopted orphan child for filing I-600

In cases where I-600A has been filed, once an orphan for adoption is identified, form I-600 petition should be submitted.  The following information about the adopted child should be presented for I-600 petition:

    1. The child's birth certificate or, if the certificate is unavailable, evidence of the child's age and identity;
    2. Proof that the child is an orphan as defined by immigration law;
    3. A final decree of adoption, if applicable;
    4. Proof of legal custody of the child for emigration and adoption, if applicable; and
    5. Proof of compliance with pre-adoption requirements, if applicable.

If I-600A has been approved, approval notice should be submitted.  If I-600A is still pending, a receipt notice should be submitted.  No additional filing fee is required if Form I-600A has been filed within the last 18 months.

B. Direct Filing of I-600 Without Filing I-600A Advance Processing Petition

If an orphan has been identified, a US citizen applicant can file I-600 directly without first filing I-600A.  In such cases, I-600 petitions include the both documents listed in above under I-600A and those listed above under I-600. When filing Form I-600 directly, applicants must submit a $670 filing fee.

C: Filing Locations

The applicant should file the advanced processing application (I-600A) with the USCIS Service Center that serves the area where he lives. When an applicant’s advance processing is still pending, the applicant must file the orphan petition at the same location. Once advance processing has been approved, the applicant may file an orphan petition at a US embassy or consulate abroad or the service center that serves the area where he lives.

For other information about Adoption and Immigration, please click on one of the following topics below:

A Brief Background for Adoption
Who can be considered as a child?
What about an adopted child?
Adopted by a US Citizen
Adopted by a Permanent Resident
Adopted by an Alien with a Valid Non-immigration Visa
The Immigration Procedure for Adoption
Citizenship of the Adopted Child
Adopted Child and His Natural Parents


Orphan Adoption Program and Eligibility
Advance Processing and Orphan Petitions
The Immigration Procedure for Adopted Orphans
Citizenship of the Adopted Orphan


Hague Convention Adoption and Eligibility
Differences between Hague adoptions (I-800) and orphan adoptions (I-600)

Frequently Asked Question about Adoption and Immigration

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