Traditionally when adoptive parents filed their I-600 at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, the I-604 review was conducted by a Department of State (DOS) Consular Officer. This procedure is in the process of changing. These changes may affect both the outcome and timing of visa issuance.
The legal authority and responsibility for I-604 reviews resides with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Until now USCIS has delegated the duties of I-604 reviews to the DOS Consular Officers in Moscow. Beginning sometime early in 2009, USCIS in Moscow will conduct all I-604 reviews. The transition has begun with USCIS currently conducting the review for only a few adoption cases.
Joint Council encourages all adoption service providers (ASPs) and adoptive families to work in a collaborative spirit with USCIS during this transition period. It is our understanding that USCICS does not intend on delaying or disrupting the intercountry adoption process in Russia, but rather to fulfill their duties as prescribed by U.S. law.
ASPs and adoptive families should be prepared for the possibility that the I-600 filing and visa issuance may take longer than the current 2-days. Please note that this could extend the travel time in Russia. While it is not known if a specific adoption case will be reviewed by USCIS or DOS during the transition, again, adoptive families should be prepared for possible delays.