August 27, 2010
This notice serves as a reminder that as of May 9, 2010, the Ethiopian government requires that adoptive parents must appear at the federal court hearing for their adoptive child in order for the adoption to be approved. If there are two adoptive parents but only one parent can attend the hearing, special permission from the federal court must be obtained in advance. If approved, the attending parent must have a power of attorney from the other. However, please note that if only one parent meets the adoptive child before the court date, the child will be eligible for an IR-4, not an IR-3 visa. This means that if the child qualifies for the issuance of an adoption visa, the child will not become a U.S. citizen upon entry to the United States, but will become a legal permanent resident. Please be advised that while the Embassy prioritizes adoptions cases, it cannot guarantee expedited processing. It generally takes three or more weeks after the court date for adoption agencies to obtain the documentation necessary for an immigrant visa application. In addition, the Embassy is required by law to conduct an I-604 review (Determination on Child for Adoption) in advance of the interview. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this review may take up to several weeks or even months to complete. Due to the procedures outlined above, we do not recommend that adoptive parents travel to Ethiopia for an immigrant visa appointment until they have verified with their adoption agency that their visa interview appointment has been confirmed. We strongly recommend that adoptive parents who plan to stay in Ethiopia between the court hearing and interview obtain an Ethiopian visa in advance of travel, and ensure the validity of their visa to avoid immigration proceedings and/or significant fines. The Embassy’s Adoptions Unit can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please continue to monitor http://adoption.state.gov/ for updated information as it becomes available.