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How to Schedule an Appointment for an Orphan Screening at the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince

Introduction

In response to the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is actively screening Haitian children for possible humanitarian parole if they fit into one of two special categories authorized by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano on Jan. 18, 2010. The specialized categories only apply to Haitian children who were adopted or were in the process of being adopted by American families prior to Jan.12. For additional information on the eligibility criteria for both categories, please review the "Information for U.S. Citizens in the process of adopting a child from Haiti", also summarized in the chart below.

 

Category

Eligibility Requirements

Children being adopted by Americans who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti (GOH), through an adoption decree or custody grant

Evidence of availability for adoption must include at least one of the following:

  • Full and final Haitian adoption decree
  • GOH Custody grant to prospective adoptive parents for emigration and adoption
  • Secondary evidence of either of the adoption or custody decree

Evidence of suitability must include one of the following:

  • Approved Form I-600A
  • Current FBI fingerprints and security background check
  • Physical custody in Haiti plus security background clearance

Children previously identified by an Adoption Service Provider (ASP) or an intercountry adoption facilitator and matched to an American prospective adoptive parents

Evidence of a relationship between the prospective adoptive parents and the child and evidence of the parents' intention to complete the adoption. Evidence may include:

  • Proof of travel by the prospective adoptive parents to Haiti to visit the child
  • Photos of the child and prospective adoptive parents together
  • ASP "Acceptance of Referral" letter signed by the prospective adoptive parents
  • Documentary evidence that the prospective adoptive parents initiated the adoption process prior to Jan. 12, 2010 with intent to adopt the child (filed Form I-600A and/or Form I-600, completed a home study, located an ASP to work with in Haiti, etc.)

Evidence of the child's availability for adoption. Evidence may include:

  • IBESR (Haitian Adoption Authority) approval
  • Legal relinquishment or award of custody to the Haitian orphanage
  • Secondary evidence of the above (e.g. e-mail correspondence, copies, ASP correspondence0

Evidence of suitability must include one of the following:

  • Approved Form I-600A OR
  • Current FBI/FP and security background clearances

If you have eligible children for this program, please follow the instructions below on how to schedule an appointment for an orphan screening.

Adoptive Parent(s) in the United States

We encourage you to work closely with your Adoption Service Provider if you have one since we frequently provide updated information to them. We strongly discourage parents from traveling to Haiti on their own.

To request an appointment for an orphan screening at the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince, contact us at HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov. To ensure your request is processed correctly please follow the instructions below:

  1. In the subject line of your email type: "APPOINTMENT REQUEST," Your surname and the name of the orphanage
  2. In the body of the e-mail be sure to include:
    • Your child's full name
    • Your child's date of birth
    • Any information you believe we should have in regard to the child's vulnerability (e.g. the child is ill, has special needs, is particularly vulnerable)
    • The name and location of the orphanage where your child is living
    • A point of contact for the orphanage (either in the United States or Haiti)

Please note that your child is likely to be scheduled as part of a larger group, so your response from us may refer to that group as well as to your child. Scheduling all eligible children from a given orphanage together is safer for the children, as they will be able to travel together to the embassy, and ultimately depart from Haiti as a group since all will be authorized and issued their documentation at the same time.

USCIS is actively reaching out to all Haitian orphanages that we are aware of in an effort to schedule appointments. If you know that USCIS is already working with your orphanage, it is not necessary for you to request an appointment, although you are free to do so.

Adoptive Parent(s) in Haiti with Your Adoptive Child(ren)

If you have access to the Internet, please send an e-mail to HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov. To ensure that your request is processed correctly, please follow the instructions below:

  1. In the subject line of your email type: "URGENT -- ADOPTIVE PARENT IN HAITI"
  2. In the body of the e-mail be sure to include:
    • Your full name
    • Your home address
    • Your child's name
    • Your child's date of birth
    • Information about how to best contact you

We will make every effort to reply to your message promptly with instructions on when to go to the embassy. You are more likely to get into the embassy and processed quickly if you email us to make the appointment.

It is extremely important that you bring all available adoption documents, identity documents and current photos of your child.

If you cannot e-mail us in advance, you may proceed directly to the embassy with your child and identify yourself to the guards as an adoptive parent with an orphan child in need of orphan screening at the USCIS Field Office. Although the embassy guards have been instructed to bring all such cases immediately to the front of the line and admit them into the embassy, it may be very difficult for you to gain access, particularly if we are unaware that you are coming. You may also have to make several visits or wait for long periods of time, depending on the information we have available about your case.

USCIS is actively reaching out to all Haitian orphanages that we are aware of in an effort to schedule appointments. If you know that USCIS is already working with your orphanage, it is not necessary for you to request an appointment, although you are free to do so.

Orphanage Directors or Other Individuals Caring for Orphan Children

The embassy is scheduling appointments in advance in an effort to pre-process groups of cases. This will allow all children who are eligible in a particular orphanage to be screened at the same time and will only require one trip to the embassy for physical identification. Do not try to enter the embassy without first arranging an appointment, as you may be turned away.

To request an appointment for orphan screenings at the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince, contact us at HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov. To ensure your request is processed correctly please follow the instructions below:

  1. In the subject line of your email type: "ORPHANAGE SEEKING APPOINTMENT"
  2. In the body of the e-mail be sure to include:
    • A list of the children in your care with their dates of birth
    • Name(s) of the children's adoptive parent(s)
    • Contact information for the children's adoptive parents (addresses and e-mail addresses)
    • Status of the each child's case (e.g. pre-IBESR, MOI, etc.)
    • Your contact information (phone number, email, through a U.S. contact, etc.)

If you do not have all the information requested above, provide as much as possible.

USCIS will respond by informing you of your appointment time. Only the orphanage director or other responsible adults should appear for the initial appointment. Bring all available adoption and identity documentation for each child who will be screened as well as current photos if available.

The children will need to be seen at the embassy for physical identification after the cases have been vetted and prior to issuance of the travel documentation. You should only bring the children to the embassy when instructed to do so by USCIS or the U.S. Embassy.

NOTE: We are aware that some orphanages are located a long way from the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince. We are currently considering how we might make processing available in remote locations, and will provide further information on this at a later time.

For more information about other USCIS Haitian relief efforts, please go to the main page "USCIS Response to Haiti" link on the left.



Last updated:01/29/2010



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