Adoption Alert: Guidance on Filing Online Immigrant Visa Application Form DS-260

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This adoption notice serves to announce the introduction of the DS-260 Online Immigrant Visa Application and Registration.  The DS-260 replaces the paper-based DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration for all immigrant visa applications, including those filed for children seeking to immigrate to the United States as “orphans” or “Convention adoptees,” effective September 1, 2013.  Anyone filing an immigrant visa application as of this date must complete the electronic DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration and DS-261 Choice of Address or Agent online instead of filing the paper DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Parts I and II) and DS-3032 Choice of Address and Agent.

If you are a prospective adoptive parent or adoptive parent (petitioner) with an approved Form I-600A, I-600, or I-800 that arrived at the National Visa Center (NVC) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will need a case number and an invoice ID number to complete the DS-260.  Starting September 6, 2013, NVC letters to petitioners include both a case number and an invoice ID number.  If you received a letter mailed by the NVC prior to September 6 or if you have lost this letter, you should contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 to request your case number and invoice ID number.

Below is specific guidance for petitioners:

If you filed a Form I-800 (in the United States) or Form I-600 (in the United States or with a USCIS office overseas) that arrived at the NVC:  You should receive a letter from the NVC confirming receipt of the petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  You will need to use this case number and invoice ID number to log into the CEAC to file the DS-260 for the child identified in the petition.  If you are unable to log into the CEAC with the numbers, please contact the consular staff at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to confirm that they received the petition and that the case is active in the visa processing system.

If you previously filed a Form I-600A and it arrived at the NVC, you also received a case number and an invoice ID number in the first letter.  Do not use the Form I-600A case number and invoice ID number to log into CEAC if you later receive a Form I-600 case number and invoice ID number.

If you filed a Form I-600A (in the United States or with a USCIS office overseas) that arrived at the NVC, and you plan to file the Form I-600 at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas:  You should receive a letter from the NVC confirming receipt of the petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  You need to inform via email the consular staff at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you plan to file the Form I-600 at that U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Once the consular staff makes the case active in the system, you can then use this case number and invoice ID number to log into the CEAC.

Important note for petitioners who are adopting multiple children based on a single approved Form I-600A:  The Form I-600A NVC case number and invoice ID number will be valid for only one child’s DS-260.  You need to inform via email the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you are adopting multiple children and will be filing the Form I-600s with that U.S. Embassy or Consulate or a USCIS office overseas.  The email should include the children’s names, dates of birth, and places of birth.  The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will create a case in the visa processing system and let you know the case number for each additional child.  You will be able to log into the CEAC to file the DS-260 for each additional child using the U.S. Embassy or Consulate case numbers and each child’s date of birth (YYYYMMDD) in the invoice ID number field.

If you filed a Form I-600A (with a USCIS office overseas) that did not go through the NVC, and you plan to file the Form I-600 at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas:  You will not receive a letter providing an NVC case number or invoice ID number.  After you inform via email the consular staff at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you plan to file the Form I-600 there, they will create a case in the visa processing system and let you know the case number.  You will be able to log into the CEAC using the U.S. Embassy or Consulate case number and the child’s date of birth (YYYYMMDD) in the invoice ID number field.

If you filed a Form I-600A (with a USCIS office overseas) that did not go through the NVC, and are filing the Form I-600 with a USCIS office overseas:  You will not receive a letter providing an NVC case number or invoice ID number unless the USCIS office elects to send the petition to NVC.  After the consular staff at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate receives the Form I-600 from USCIS, they will create a case in the visa processing system and let you know the case number.  You will be able to log into the CEAC using the U.S. Embassy or Consulate case number and the child’s date of birth (YYYYMMDD) in the invoice ID number field.

Additional notes:

You will be asked to provide the child’s passport information when filing the DS-260.  If you do not have the child’s passport yet, select the “Other Travel Document” option instead.  Please contact the consular staff at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate once you obtain the child’s passport.  The consular staff will then “unlock” the case so that you may update the child’s passport number, passport date of issuance, passport date of expiration, and any relevant medical information before the consular staff reviews the case documents before the visa interview.

If you are adding information on your adoption service provider in the DS-260, note the adoption service provider as a “third party agent.”

If the child you are adopting or have adopted is covered by the vaccination exemption, indicate “No” when asked whether the child has received vaccinations in accordance with U.S. law.  Please note that you will need to submit a DS-1981 showing that the child is exempt from the vaccination requirements when the consular staff at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate request it.

If you have a “pipeline” case already at the visa processing post overseas, or in which the DS-230 has already been submitted, or in which you have been instructed to file the DS-230, you will generally continue processing using the paper DS-230.  To determine if you will use the new online form, and to access the DS-260 and DS-261, please visit the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

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Children in Families First

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The Children in Families First working group is looking for child or family stories to highlight on the website. If you know of families whose stories clearly show the need for intercountry adoption reform and would be willing to briefly share their story and a photo please let me know. For examples of how the stories would be used click here to see the stories of Addison and Jean. You may contact me or put them in contact with me directly at mlindsey@adoptioncouncil.org or by phone at 703-299-6633.

Families are also welcome to share their stories directly on the CHIFF website at Add Your Story. Feel free to encourage your networks to share their stories there and to like Children in Families First on Facebook.

Megan Lindsey
Director of Public Policy and Education
National Council For Adoption
225 N. Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
T: 703.299.6633 | F: 703.299.6004
mlindsey@adoptioncouncil.org
www.adoptioncouncil.org

Adoption Advocate No. 60, “Preparing Children for the Adoption of a Sibling: Recommendations for Families Considering Intercountry Adoption”

2 Prospective adoptive parents are not the only ones who need to educate and prepare themselves prior to an adoption — any children already in the home must have the opportunity to learn more about what it might be like to add a child to the family through adoption. In the June 2013 issue of NCFA’s Adoption Advocate, Laura Beauvais-Godwin addresses common questions adoptive parents have about these important discussions, providing general guidelines and suggestions for those considering adoption as a way of adding to their families. Click here to view, print, or download.

Qualify and Claim the Adoption Tax Credit

Two documents from the US International Revenue Service (IRS) provide information to individuals on how to qualify for and claim the adoption tax credit for certain adoption expenses.

The first document, Adoption Benefits FAQs, explains the adoption credit for tax year 2011, including which expenses are qualified adoption expenses, who is an eligible child, when to claim the credit, which forms to complete, and what supporting documentation is required.  The information was last updated in August 2012, and is available here.

The second document, March 2012 Adoption Credit Phone Forum Questions and Answers, provides further details on when certain expenses are allowable for the adoption credit for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013.  It also provides the maximum credit amounts and income limitations for those tax years, as well as specific requirements for domestic special needs adoptions and intercountry adoptions.  The information in this document was last updated in October 2012, and is available here.

Hopscotch State Department Conference Call Regarding Russian Adoption

The Hopscotch staff have just finished a State Department conference call and wanted to inform families that the Consul section of the US embassy in Moscow, will be working Saturday and Monday to process children’s visa with same day processing if you have a completed I-600. In addition, the state department will be monitoring/responding to emails from any family in process with a referral from Russia throughout the weekend and holiday.

Saturday is a working day for the Russian government and our state department is urging families with the 30 day court required waiting period completed, to obtain any final documents by close of business on Saturday in order to allow them to process your child’s visa prior to January 1, 2013 when the ban goes into effect.

The State Department is urging all families with an active case in Russia to connect with their office via email russiaadoption@state.gov

There is a huge task force working tirelessly from virtually every state department office. Hopscotch appreciates the gravity of how serious this development is and the level of attention it has received from our government on behalf of American families and Russian orphans.

Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you during this most difficult time.

Robin, Sarah, Michelle, Megan, Heather, Elizabeth and the Hopscotch Adoptions Board of Directors.

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