..::Adoption of Child From Pakistan…Law and Procedure

Pakistan is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, inter-country adoption processing for Pakistan did not change.

WHO CAN ADOPT

To bring an adopted child to United States from Pakistan, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular officials in Islamabad before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy (Consulate) to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Pakistan also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

Age Requirements: If single, the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen who is at least 24 years old when filing form I-600A, and at least 25 years old when filing form I-600. If married, only one spouse is technically the petitioner (must be a U.S. citizen). The other spouse (who does not have to be a U.S. citizen) must co-sign the forms, consent to the adoption, and be approved in the home study.

Marriage Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents can be married or single.

WHO CAN BE ADOPTED

Pakistan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Pakistan unless he or she meets the requirements.

It should be noted that Pakistan is not an easy country from which to adopt a child. If you have a particular child in mind for adoption, especially a relative, be sure to have a lawyer or USCIS assist you in determining if the child fits the definition of “orphan” before proceeding.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

HOW TO ADOPT

Pakistan Adoption Authority

Family Court

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Pakistan generally includes the following steps:

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

3. Be Matched with a Child

4. Adopt the Child in Pakistan

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

6. Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

The first step in adopting a child is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

There are no adoption agencies in Pakistan; however, the American Embassy provides a list of attorneys that the parents can use. You will find this information in the Contacts section of this country information.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

To bring an adopted child from Pakistan to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

The adjudication of such petitions can be very time-consuming and parents are encouraged to begin the process well in advance.

In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Pakistan as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

A prospective adoptive parent may file Form I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over their place of residence. This form allows the most time-consuming part of the process to be completed in advance, even before the parent has located a child to adopt. In addition, a parent who has an approved I-600A may file an I-600 in person at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

Detailed information about filing these forms can be found on USCIS’s web site at http://www.uscis.gov. Americans who have adopted or hope to adopt a child from Pakistan should request, at the time they file these forms, that USCIS notify the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad as soon as the form is approved. Upon receipt of such notification, the Embassy will contact the parents and provide additional instructions on the immigration process. U.S. consular officers may not begin processing an orphan adoption case until they have received formal notification of approval from an USCIS office in the US.

3. Be Matched with a Child

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for inter-country adoption, the central adoption authority in Pakistan will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

One part of the petition process that USCIS cannot complete in advance is the “orphan investigation”. An orphan investigation Form I-604 Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation) is required in all orphan adoption cases – even if an I-600 has already been approved – and serves to verify that the child is an orphan as defined by US immigration law. This investigation is performed by a consular officer at the time of the child’s immigrant visa interview.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Pakistan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Pakistan

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Pakistan generally includes the following:

Documents Required: The following documents are required to complete the adoption process: Proof of U.S. citizenship of petitioner

Proof of marriage of petitioner (if married); if the petitioner is unmarried but was previously married, submit proof of termination of all previous marriages

Fingerprint cards of petitioner, spouse, and all other adult members of the petitioner’s household

Approved home-study

Note: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic.

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Pakistan, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

6. Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

Pakistani Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Pakistan.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.

Contact the Embassy in Islamabad to schedule an immigrant visa interview for the orphan. In addition to the approved I-600 petition, the child will need the following documents for the interview:

Application- Form OF-230, Parts I and II

Medical report from a physician approved by the Embassy

Birth certificate- original Urdu and a copy; original English translation and a copy

Affidavit of support from the petitioner; form I-864; copy of three most recent years’ federal tax returns (form 1040 and all attachments) and evidence of employment

Two visa photos, according to the instruction sheet provided.

Basic requirements for pursuing an IR-4 visa:

Form I-600A: “Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition”- used when the petitioner has not yet identified a specific child but wants to obtain USCIS pre-approval for adoption. A prospective adoptive parent is not required to use form I-600A; however, if he/she chooses to do so, he/she will also need to submit and obtain USCIS approval of form I-600 once a specific child has been identified

Form I-600: “Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative”- used when the petitioner has identified a specific child. This form is needed in all orphan visa cases

The USCIS officer should adjudicate both forms with jurisdiction over the petitioning parents” residence. If a petitioner has an approved form I-600A and is traveling to Pakistan to finalize the orphan visa process, they may choose to file form I-600 with the USCIS officer in Islamabad.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

TRAVELING ABROAD

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Pakistan. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining Your Visa

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Pakistan, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it’s always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Pakistan registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

AFTER ADOPTION

What does Pakistan require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

We strongly urge you to comply with any post-adoption reports that may be required by Pakistan in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Pakistan’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family — whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Adoption Services Support Groups for Adopting Persons

North American Council on Adoptable Children

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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