Bringing the Child to the United States

(Non-Relative Adoption)

To complete an international adoption and bring a child to the United States, the prospective adoptive parents must meet the requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) pursuant to the provisions of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

To qualify for the Orphan Petition, the adoptive child to be should meet the INA definition of an “orphan”. Under immigration law, an “orphan” is a child who has no parents because of death, disappearance, abandonment, desertion, separation, or loss from both parents. An orphan is also a child who has only one parent not capable of properly caring of the orphan and has, in writing, irrevocably released the orphan for emigration and adoption.

A.· Petitioning the Child

1.· Prospective adoptive parents (“petitioners”) are required to file the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country (1-800a). It is suggested that Form 1-800A be filed within six (6) months of the home study’s date of completion. USCIS accepts home studies not more than six (6) months old.

2.· The USCIS will send you a NOTICE OF ACTION (1-797c) once they have approved your form 1-800a.

3.· Once you have accepted the child that was matched and proposed to you, you may proceed to file Form 1-800. There is no need to pay another filing fee. However, it is suggested that you file your petition upon receipt of the supporting documents from Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB).

The following forms and documents are submitted:

  • Form 1-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative)
  • Proof of Orphan’s age (certified copy of child’s birth certificate or certificate of foundling if child is abandoned)*
  • Certified copy of death certificate of child’s parent’s), if applicable*
  • Decree of Abandonment, if applicable*
  • Deed of Voluntary Commitment, if applicable*
  • Placement Authority*
  • Child Study Report*
  • Progress Report, if the original Child Study Report is over one year old)*

(All documents will be provided by ICAB excluding Form 1-800)

If the USCIS approves the Orphan Petition, you will receive a NOTICE OF APPROVAL. USCIS will cable the Notice of Approval to the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The USCIS has changed its policy requiring submission of original documents or certified copies of documents with applications and petitions. You may now submit ordinary legible photocopies of the original documents required, including Naturalization Certificates (submit copies of both sides of document). However, you may be required to present the original documents during any subsequent contacts with the USCIS.

Your petition/application must have a signed “IMPORTANT DOCUMENT INFORMATION” (FC-029) which states the copies of documents submitted are exact photocopies of unaltered original may be required to submit original documents to Immigration or Consular official at a later date.

B.  Passport Issuance

For your child to enter the United States, the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines must issue a passport to him/her.

The Intercountry Adoption Board coordinates closely with the US Embassy on this matter. ICAB has a liaison person who assists adoptive families obtain the child’s passport.

To obtain a passport, the following are required by the US Embassy:

  • Passport application fee
  • Child’s existing passport
  • Child’s Medical Examination result
  • Also include Affidavit signed by Prospective Adoptive Parent re Vaccination Requirement*
  • Adoptive parents’ Income Tax Returns and W-2 Forms (of last 3 years)*
  • Notarized Affidavit of Support executed by the petitioner/prospective adoptive parents*

(*Documents must be forwarded to ICAB upon receipt of the USCIS Notice of Approval)

C.  Travel to Pick Up Child

At least one of the adoptive parents, is required to travel to the Philippines to pick up your child. ICAB prefers both parents to travel to pick up the child. The required stay is 3-5 days.

After your child has been issued a travel visa, travel arrangements for you and your child may be made. ICAB must be informed of your travel itinerary at least 2 weeks prior to arrival in Manila.

Pre-Placement Orientation (ICAB)

The Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) requires an orientation with the adoptive family and the child prior to departure from the Philippines. This orientation meeting is held at the:

Intercountry Adoption Board Office

#2 Corner Chicago & Ermin Garcia Streets  Barangay Pinagkaisahan

Cubao, Quezon City,  Metro Manila Philippines

(Tel. 410-1643/410-1644)

This pre-travel visit with ICAB involves the sharing of experiences of the adoptive parents as their child is turned over to them by the child caring agency. There is also a; discussion of the child’s Lifebook and familiarization of the child’s culture. Possible ethno-cultural issues impinging on the child’s life are likewise taken up.

Further, the adoptive parents and the adoptive child as well, are made aware of the placement expectations (e.g. supervision of the 6-month trial custody, finalizing the adoption, etc.).

The older adoptive child is oriented on what to expect from the placement and to ensure that the reason for adoption is understood.

Adoptive families are expected to stay for at least 3-5 days. Proposed itinerary of the adoptive parent include the following:

  • Proposed arrival of the family
  • Fetching of the child from the child caring agency

(Some child caring agencies have guidelines pertinent to the prospective adoptive parents’ fetching of the child) Thursday or Friday – schedule of visit with ICAB for at least 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, on a case by case basis.

This schedule is tentative and you may have your own schedule depending· on what other activities you may want to engage in while in the Philippines.

RESOURCES FOR LIFE coordinates with ICAB on your travel plans at least two weeks before the date of arrival in the Philippines.