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How to File Form I-800

How to File Form I-800

Adoption is a life-changing decision to expand your family and change the lives of both you and your adopted child or children. Adopting from a Convention country is a different process than if you were to adopt from a non-Convention country. On this page, you will learn about the Hague Adoption Convention, USCIS form I-800, and how to file form I-800. 

What is Form I-800?

Form I-800, titled “Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative,”  is a form to file to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service when you apply to adopt a child from a Convention country. It is the second form you must fill out. You can only File Form I-800 once you have an approved Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.

Hague Adoption Convention Process

The United States joined the Hague Adoption Convention on April 1, 2008. The Convention is put in place to protect children who are going to be adopted, people looking to become adoptive parents, and the child’s birth parent. 

The Convention’s main principle is to make sure the child is safe. The Convention ensures that the child won’t be trafficked, sold, or abducted. Additionally, it makes sure that the child will live with those parents and no longer be abandoned if and when U.S. citizens adopt them.

Convention Countries

You can find the list of Convention countries by clicking here. The list is provided by the U.S. Department of State. 

When to File Form I-800

Filing USCIS Form I-800 is one of the steps in the Convention adoption process. It can only be filed once these two situations are complete:

  1. You have been approved for your Form I-800A, establishing your suitability to adopt a child from a convention country.
  2. The Central Authority- meaning the governing body that the Convention country has designated- in the Convention country you wish to adopt from as proposed you (and your spouse, if applicable) as an adoptive family for a child.

Form I-800A Approval

When you receive your Form I-800A approval, you will also receive an expiration date of the notice of approval. You can either file your Form I-800 before the expiration date, have an extension of the date, or before the child’s 16th birthday. 

Additional Form I-800 Eligibility

In addition to the first two situations mentioned above, you also need to meet the following qualifications:

  • You have accepted the Central Authority’s placement proposal 
  • You have not yet adopted the child
  • No significant changes have accrued since the approval of your Form I-800A
  • If you are unmarried, then you are at least 25 years old

How to File Form I-800

Now that you know when you can file your Form I-800 let’s take a look at how to file your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. The form is separated into six sections. Make sure you fill out the form legibly and with black ink. 

Part 1

Part 1 of USCIS Form I-800 is “Information About Yourself.” Here, you will give information such as:

  • Your name
  • USCIS account number
  • U.S. Social Security Number
  • Home address
  • Contact Information
  • Information about your spouse, if applicable

If you are married but separated, speak with your immigration attorney before proceeding.

Part 2

Part 2 is the “Processing Information” section. First, you will put information about your approved Form I-800A, like the receipt number, approval date, and expiration date. 

Then, you will need to check a box that describes your circumstance of adoption and whether the child will seek:

  • An immigrant visa
  • A nonimmigrant visa
  • Adjustment of status 

Note: Do you have questions about family sponsorship immigration and filling out I-130 petition for alien relatives, non-immigrant forms, immigrant visas, or adjustment of status? Call us for legal assistance. It’s important to have an established legal plan on how the child will legally enter the United States before filling out your Form I-800. 

In part 2, you will also indicate if you are filing more than one Form I-800 (if you are adopting multiple children).  

Part 3

Part 3 is called “Information About the Beneficiary (Convention adoptee).” Here, you will provide  the child’s current information. You may change the child’s name later, but for the purpose of Form I-800, the information must be current. 

Information included in this section includes the child’s:

  • Full name
  • Date and location of birth
  • Gender
  • Residency
  • Current legal custodian
  • residency in the United States

You will also indicate other information, including the following:

  • A series of questions about the child’s current situation and documents that accompany the situation
  • If you are related to the child
  • If you have already adopted the child 
  • Information regarding your adoptive process
  • Name and address of your primary adoption service provider

Part 4

Part 4 is “Information About Fees, Expenses and Other Compensation.” In this section, you will record any adoption-related payments you’ve already made as well as anticipated payments.

If you need more room, you can use a separate sheet of paper with your name, USCIS Account Number, child’s legal name, and the section number. 

Part 5

In this section, you will sign your name and date the form. Do not forget to include your signature. USCIS will not accept any form that is not signed. 

Part 6

If you have a preparer, such as your immigration attorney, they will fill out this section with their signature and other requested information.

USCIS Form I-800 Required Evidence

When you file Form I-800, you also need to include evidence in the form of documents that establishes your credibility. Form I-800 is to notify USCIS that you are ready for your adopted child and have taken all necessary steps to ensure the child’s safety and security.

Note: do not submit original documents, only copies of the following documents. If USCIS needs to see original documents, they will let you know. If not, assume they mean only copies. Additionally, all documents need to be in English. You may use a translator if documents are not in English, you must include a certified translation and translator’s certification showing that they are competent to translate from the foreign language.

Submit the following to USCIS along with your Form I-800:

  • Approved Form I-800A
  • USCIS approval of an extended approval period, if applicable
  • Fully detailed Article 16 report
  • Proof that you have completed pre-placement preparation and training, as verified by your primary adoption service provider
  • Evidence that you have done all state-residency pre-adoption requirements (if you and the child’s state requires it) 
  • Post-placement plan, if applicable
  • Form I-601, if applicable
  • Form I-864, Form I-864EZ, or Form I-864W

Submitting evidence to USCIS needs to be as accurate as possible. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can assist you through the conventional adoption process. The attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. will help you gather all the evidence you need to show your credibility.

Filing Fee Information

Form I-800 is of no cost to you. Remember that you need to have an approved Form I-800A to submit Form I-800, which has a filing fee of $775, not including biometric fees.

Even though the first Form I-800 does not require payment, you must pay an extra $775 for each additional Form I-800 you submit to USCIS, unless the additional forms are for siblings. Siblings, in the case of additional Form I-800 payment, only include children that are siblings before adoption. 

Additional Instructions and Steps

Three  additional pieces of information may be pertinent to your case, depending on the situation. As these are deemed “special instructions” by USCIS, it’s important to consult your immigration attorney before proceeding. USCIS is very stringent about immigration laws. Having legal guidance when completing Form I-800 and any special circumstances may ease the stress of submitting to USCIS.

  1. Supplement 1 Form 

An additional form, Form I-800, Supplement 1, can be submitted along with your Form I-800. The supplement form gives USCIS permission to disclose case information to your adoption service provider and other entities involved in your adoption case. This is not necessary but may be helpful to the overall Convention adoption process as USCIS typically does not disclose information. Talk to your immigration attorney if you have further questions about Form I-1800, Supplement 1.

  1. Siblings Between Ages 16 and 18 

If the (birth) sibling of the child you adopted is 16, they can qualify as a Convention adoptee. However, the adoption must occur before the child’s 18th birthday. Additionally, the birth sibling will have been established as a child or will immigrate to the United States as a result of adoption by the same parents who are petitioning for the sibling who is 16-18 years old.

  1. 18 Years Old Sibling

If the child you adopted has a sibling who turned 18, there are special instructions on how to proceed. You must be a U.S. citizen and can file a visa petition for a child who turned 18 on or after April 1, 2008, if they meet certain criteria. If you and your child find yourselves in this situation, contact your immigration attorney right away. There are ways to unite your child with their older birth sibling. 

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney

The experienced immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have over 70 years of combined experience helping families adopt from overseas. As immigration lawyers, we are well-versed in the Hague Adoption Convention process and required immigration forms. We can and will support you every step of the way through this journey. Call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today. We look forward to hearing from you! 

We're looking forward to hearing from you!