USCIS Message: Update – Certificates of Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Child

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Buffalo Field Office, Child Citizenship Act Unit, prepares Certificates of Citizenship for certain internationally adopted children who enter the United States and are eligible to receive a Certificate of Citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). The USCIS Buffalo Field Office processes these certificates for newly arrived children with IR-3 and IH-3 immigrant visa classifications.

The Buffalo Field Office is updating its current process for CCA cases to ensure that it continues to issue Certificates of Citizenship in a timely manner.

Issuing Certificates of Citizenship

Eligible Child under age 14 when they enter the U.S.

Certificates are mailed within 60 days from the date the child enters the U.S.

Eligible Child age 14 or over when they enter the U.S.

The Buffalo Field Office will transfer cases to a local field office where the process will be completed.  In most cases, the local field office will schedule the child to appear for an oath ceremony. The child will take the Oath of Allegiance and receive the Certificate of Citizenship.

Clerical errors on certificates

The child’s information on the certificate should be the same as the information on the child’s legal documents and the immigrant visa issued by the U.S. Department of State.

If the Buffalo Field Office issued the certificate and you notify the office of a clerical error within 10 business days from when the certificate was postmarked, USCIS will address the error.  

If the local field office issued the certificate and you notify the office of a clerical error within 3 business days from when the certificate was issued, USCIS will address the error.

See the Child Citizenship Act Fact Sheet for instructions on how to contact your local field office.

If you have not contacted the field office within the above noted time frames, you will need to file Form N-565, Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document, to obtain a replacement certificate. This form may be filed online with USCIS.

Replacement certificates

Please refer to the Form N-565 application and instructions on the USCIS website  for where to file the form. Do not file the form directly with the USCIS Buffalo Field Office as it no longer accepts the form.

For more information on the CCA process, please visit the Certificate of Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Child webpage.

If your child was admitted into the United States with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa, but has not yet received his or her Certificate of Citizenship and it has been more than 60 days since the date of entry into the United States, please write to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Buffalo Field Office (CCA Unit) 306 Delaware Avenue Buffalo, NY  14202

or email childcitizenact@uscis.dhs.gov.

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Bipartisan Senators Introduce Law to Improve Intercountry Adoption Information Reporting

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U.S. Senators

Richard Burr, Roy Blunt, Ben Cardin, Roger Wicker, Sherrod Brown

North Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio

Bipartisan Senators Introduce Law to Improve Intercountry Adoption Information Reporting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CONTACT:

Caitlin Carroll (Burr) 202-228-1616
Katie Boyd (Blunt) 202-224-1403
Sean Bartlett (Cardin) 202-224-0779
Rick VanMeter (Wicker) 202-224-6253
Jenny Donohue/Rachael Hartford (Brown) 202-224-3978

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) today introduced the Intercountry Adoption Information Act of 2018 which would help remove information barriers Americans frequently face while seeking to adopt children from other countries. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“American families trying to adopt a child from abroad should have robust and relevant information needed to navigate the adoption landscape,” said Senator Burr in a statement. “This bill will help remove some of the frequent informational challenges families face when trying to learn the status of intercountry adoption policies. It will also shine a light on unnecessary and detrimental barriers some countries have put up to thwart adoptions, and require the State Department to provide information on what they are doing to address those barriers. I hope the Senate will work to pass this commonsense legislation as soon as possible.”

“It’s disappointing that certain countries have enacted restrictive adoption policies that deny children the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving home,” said Senator Blunt. “By providing parents with information on the status of adoption policies, they’ll have an important resource to help them navigate the complicated process of intercountry adoption. In addition, the information required will aid our ability in Congress to support diplomatic efforts and help assist families.  I urge my colleagues to support this bill and, as co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’ll continue working to promote policies that make it easier for families to open their homes to a child in need.”

“Over the years I have heard from numerous Maryland families and adoption groups who rightly complain that the lack or quality of access to information on foreign adoptions adds confusion and frustration to what should be a deeply personal and meaningful process,” Senator Cardin said. “We should be making it easier, not more difficult, for Americans to receive all the necessary information to make a real difference in a child’s life and enrich their families in the process. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation.”

“Families adopting children from abroad display the generosity, compassion, and heart of the American people,” Senator Wicker said. “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues on this meaningful legislation, which would make it easier for these families to navigate the international adoption process and welcome children in need into a forever home.”

“We need to make sure Ohioans have access to all the information they need to build their families and provide loving, stable homes for children,” Senator Brown said. “I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this legislation to help people navigate this complicated process.”

Background:

Currently, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), requires the U.S. State Department to provide an annual report on intercountry adoptions, delivered to the House Committees on International Relations, Ways and Means and Judiciary, as well as the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Judiciary. A copy is also made publicly available online.

The report includes information on topics such as the number of intercountry adoptions involving immigration to the United States and the country from which each child immigrates, the time required for completion of an adoption and information on adoption agencies. The Intercountry Adoption Information Act would amend the IAA to require the State Department provide additional information on:

  • All countries that have enacted policies to prevent or prohibit adoptions to the United States;
  • Actions the State Department has taken which have prevented adoptions to the United States;
  • How the State Department has worked to encourage the resuming of adoption in both cases.

This information is critical for American families looking to adopt from countries that have established barriers to adoption, such as Russia or Ethiopia, or areas where the State Department has suspended intercountry adoption, as of abandoned children in Nepal.

Text of the bill can be found here.

Take Action Today to Save International Adoption

Save Adoption and Keep Adoption Affordable!

Greetings!

It’s time for the adoption community to wake up and take action about the decline of inter-country adoption.

If the trend continues, inter-country adoptions will reach Zero in 4 years.

The new accrediting entity, IAAME, set their budget based on a decline of 20% from the previous year. Adoptions have declined by at least 1,000 cases every year since 2004. In 2016, there were only 5,200 adoptions. If the 1,000 per-year decline trend continues, inter-country adoptions will reach zero in just 4 years.

Take Action to Voice Your Concern

The National Council for Adoption is asking you to call your Senators and Congressmen to voice concern about the changes in inter-country adoption. Click here for more information about the Feb 7-8 call-in day to congress, the small business administration, and the media.

$500 Monitoring Fee Per Adopted Child

With new Dept of State regulations, families can expect to pay $500 extra per child they expect to adopt. This is a mandatory oversight fee that takes effect Feb 15, 2018. Adoption agency clients should expect fee schedules to change soon and reflect these new charges.

Read more here.

Survey of Agencies Shows Bleak Future

In 2006 there were 255 Hague-accredited agencies. In 2017, there were only 167. On average, one adoption agency per month goes out of business, or loses or forfeits its accreditation. If the trend of 1 agency losing or leaving behind its accreditation per month continues, one would conclude that there will be no Hague-accredited agencies left in 13 years. However, a recent survey of all Hague agencies shows a much bleaker future. Given the stifling regulation and more than tripling of accreditation fees, one-half of the Hague- accredited agencies have indicated that they plan not to seek accreditation at all with IAAME. This means they will either stop providing international adoption services, or yjey will merge with another agency that does. 

Accreditation Budget Increases by 1700%

The budget for COA, our previous accrediting entity, was about $170,000 per year. With new government regulation, the budget for IAAME, the new accrediting entity, will be $3.5 Million dollars.  Obviously, all of this cost will be passed on to adoptive families, representing about $1000 per family.  

Why is this happening?

For a simple answer to why inter-country adoption is on the decline read this blog post.

What Do We Want? 

Although there are many things the Department of State could do to increase adoptions, here are 4 simple requests which have been denied:

  1. Set a goal for the number of adoptions to increase. Goals matter. The Office of Children’s issues celebrates the number of adoption agencies closed down. This seems to be their goal and the accomplishment they advertise. Adoptions have declined from 24.000 annually to 5,000 annually. Would OCI like to see 4000 next year, or 6000 next year? We have no idea, but can only presume they want a decrease.
  2. End the US DOS self-imposed moratorium on adoptions from Guatemala, Cambodia, and Nepal. These counties want the US to participate in adoption, but the US won’t allow it.
  3. Abandon the concept of Country specific authorization in the September, 2016 proposed regulations
  4. Abandon the foster-style training requirement proposed in the September, 2016 regulations.

See more about these efforts at www.saveadoptions.org

Please take action to help save inter-country adoption.

Sincerely,

Robin E. Sizemore
Executive Director
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc.

Ethiopia’s Parliament votes to end intercountry adoption: Listen to NCFA’s Ryan Hanlon of BBC

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Ethiopia’s parliament has passed legislation banning intercountry adoption.

NCFA’s Ryan Hanlon joined BBC World Service Radio to discuss how this decision places unparented children at risk. NCFA believes that a global child welfare continuum should prioritize reunification, kinship adoption/guardianship, and in-country domestic adoption options, all before intercountry adoption is considered. Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s reunification and kinship placement efforts are limited, and there are not enough Ethiopian adoptive homes available to meet the needs of thousands of unparented children. This ban will leave them to languish in long-term institutional care or life on the streets, and many with special needs face death.

Since 1999, more than 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted by American families. Adoption has given them a chance to thrive, despite unfathomable trauma and loss at a young age. In recent years, the global community has taken great strides to improve the safety and transparency of intercountry adoption, and diplomacy and dialogue is leading to stronger safeguards against corruption, exploitation, and abuse. We know this to be true; we’re part of that diplomacy in action. Every year NCFA meets with international child welfare leaders who are vigilantly and passionately committed to the children in their nations who need safe, loving homes. Children deserve families, and Ethiopia’s children deserve better. We will continue to advocate on their behalf. You can join us. Start by listening to our interview with BBC Radio here.

IF YOU BELIEVE EVERY CHILD MUST HAVE A PERMANENT FAMILY TO BE LOVED AND PROTECTED, YOUR VOICE MATTERS TODAY!

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“We are called for such a time as this and we won’t give up until every child has the opportunity to be loved and cared for in a forever family.”

Show Support NOW!

  • We believe in the goals of Save Adoptions
  • Every child deserves a safe, loving, permanent family
  • For children without parents due to death, abandonment or termination of rights, adoption should be readily available in their own country or, if not possible within their own country in a reasonable period of time, through intercountry adoption.
  • Adoption should be available for every eligible child with as few obstacles as possible, through a transparent, ethical and honest adoption system.
  • The government’s role in intercountry adoption should be to support the human rights of a child to a permanent family and to encourage other countries to develop adoption systems that are transparent, ethical and honest and protect the rights of a child.
  • Institutionalization of children should be a last resort for children for whom a permanent family is not available.

Click here if you: SUPPORT THE GOALS OF SAVE ADOPTIONS

Please share and ask your family and friends to do the same.

New Contact Information for the National Benefit Center

Dear Adoption Community,

We would like to share the following information we received from the National Benefits Center:

Effective today, the National Benefits Center will consolidate our public email boxes into one box. We will only use NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov and have deactivated NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov.

We are in the process of updating our contact information on https://www.uscis.gov/adoption/uscis-adoption-contact-information.

In the meantime, messages received to the NBC.Hague mailbox will be automatically redirected to the NBC.Adoptions mailbox through a system ‘rule’ for one year, expiring on May 1, 2018.

We would appreciate your assistance in directing your staff and our customers to NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov going forward. Our contact telephone number remains the same (877-424-8374).

Sincerely,

The Office of Children’s Issues
Official 
UNCLASSIFIED

New Intercountry Adoption Statistics Continue Decline: Now available

Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions Narrative

The 2016 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption, as required by Section 104 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, provides data and other information on intercountry adoptions to and from the United States from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. The report is released after a thorough review of the available data to ensure the information is accurate. In addition to the actual data, this review includes a summary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Children’s Issues, Adoption Division’s efforts for the fiscal year.

Continue reading (PDF)

Save Adoptions — Phase II

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Dear families,

Less than 5 months ago, we were facing the imposition of new regulations from the Department of State which would have raised the cost of adoptions for our client families, created financial and operational obstacles for our agencies and guaranteed the continued decline in intercountry adoptions.

Eighty-eight agencies and other adoption service providers stepped up and signed an open letter to the Department of State urging that these proposed regulations be withdrawn.  In addition, almost 28,000 adoption supporters joined us and signed our Petition to the Department of State.  On April 4th, our collective voices were heard and the proposed regulations were withdrawn.

Whether you supported our efforts or not, we urge you to continue to fight the attack on intercountry adoptions.  We have tasked our SaveAdoptions.org web site to continue the fight.  For the next 4-6 weeks, we will be highlighting the travesty in Nepal.  Whether you have, or would like to adopt from Nepal, or maybe you just care about suffering children, you can’t be happy about the blanket suspension of adoptions from Nepal which has been in place for over 6 years, despite no proof of the fraudulent documentation alleged by USCIS.

First, take a look at the updated www.saveadoptions.org web site.  Second, please use your mailing lists to urge your family and friends to sign the plea to lift the Nepal suspension.  We had 27,949 signatures before updating the web site, so we will know how many adoption supporters sign on for this next phase of intercountry adoption support.  Your signature will Support the Cause of Nepalese orphans. If you have already signed the original petition, know that this is a new petition and your signature is vital. 

Thank you for considering this important issue and getting involved.  (Share, re-tweet, or send an email)

Adoption Notice – Poland Restructure of International Adoption Process

unnamedDear Adoption Community,

Adoption Notice: Poland – Restructure of international adoption process on March 6, 2017

“The Government of Poland is revising its policies on intercountry adoptions under the Hague Adoption Convention. Poland has indicated its intent to prioritize domestic adoptions, except in the case of intercountry adoptions of siblings related to children already adopted through intercountry adoption, intrafamily adoptions, and adoptions by Polish citizens living abroad. It is unclear how these intended changes will impact intercountry adoptions from Poland sought by U.S. citizen families that are already in process, but in cases in which referrals have not yet been received, parents may see extended delays. The actual impact and form of these changes is still to be determined, and we will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.”

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