The Office of Children’s Issues provides updates to interested families and adoption service providers regarding Guatemalan intercountry adoptions. If you received this e-mail in error and do not wish to receive future updates please notify AskCI@state.gov using the subject line: Remove My Name from the Guatemala List Serv. Similarly, if you have friends or colleagues who would like to receive these updates, ask them to contact AskCI@state.gov using the subject line: Add My Name to the Guatemala List Serv. These updates focus on recent developments; for a comprehensive review of intercountry adoptions in Guatemala, please consult the Guatemala section of the Office of Children’s Issues general website www.Adoption.State.Gov.
Update: Processing Plan for CNA cases
The following is an update to information provided in the Adoption Notice of September 27, 2011 and provides additional details to the information provided in the Adoption Notice of December 12, 2011.
The Government of Guatemala’s Consejo Nacional de Adopciones (CNA) has agreed to a process under which certain adoption applications pending under the CNA’s processing authority may begin to move forward to resolution. The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will contact affected families to provide detailed information regarding the next steps. We anticipate that this will be an ongoing process and that, as time passes, the CNA may identify additional cases for processing under this agreement. The general outline of the planned process is as follows:
- The CNA will initiate the process by providing the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City with the names of children who are the subject of pending CNA adoption applications submitted by U.S. prospective adoptive parents and whose cases have been identified by the CNA as ready to be finalized.
- The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City will then notify the USCIS Guatemala City field office. USCIS Guatemala City will contact U.S. prospective adoptive parents individually to provide detailed instructions regarding the CNA application requirements and final USCIS processing. The USCIS notification will instruct prospective adoptive parents to send any necessary documents to USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) for relaying to Guatemala City.
- The NBC will forward the prospective adoptive parents’ package to the USCIS Guatemala City field office for review. USCIS Guatemala City and the Consular Section will work together to convey the package to the CNA in accordance with the agreed upon procedures. Prospective adoptive parents bear the responsibility of ensuring their CNA application is complete and meets Guatemalan standards.
- The Consular Section will submit the prospective adoptive parents’ application to the CNA with the following documents:
1) A cover letter from the Department of State/U.S. Embassy, and
2) A letter from USCIS confirming that the prospective adoptive parents were found suitable to adopt and explaining the orphan process.
- The CNA will review the prospective adoptive parents’ CNA application and, if complete, will use it to proceed through a formal “matching” process. While the CNA has not guaranteed that a formal match will be made in all cases, it has assured us that wherever possible it will seek to match the waiting U.S. families with the children on whose behalf they have a pending grandfathered adoption case.
- The CNA will notify the Consular Section of the official match of the child to the U.S. family. The Consular Section will then notify USCIS Guatemala City and the prospective adoptive parents. USCIS and Consular will review the child’s Guatemalan case file and evaluate the child’s eligibility for immigration to the United States. If the child appears eligible the Consular Section will issue an immigration eligibility review letter to the CNA.
- After receiving the immigration eligibility review letter, the CNA will finalize the adoption according to established procedures under Guatemalan law.
- Once the adoption decree is issued by Guatemalan courts, the adoptive parents may file it and any other supporting documentation to accompany the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative with USCIS Guatemala City.
- After USCIS approves a Form I-600 petition, the adoptive parents may then file the child’s visa application with the Consular Section.
This process applies only to those cases that have been moved to the CNA’s processing authority and not to cases that are pending with the Procuraduria General de la Nacion (PGN) as “notario” cases. We anticipate that the CNA will submit cases on an ongoing basis. Families with cases pending with the CNA who have questions about the process may email the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov.
Prospective adoptive parents should consider that several steps must take place before USCIS can adjudicate a Form I-600 petition – one of which is evidence of a final adoption. Processing questions related to a Guatemalan Form I-600 petition that qualifies as a grandfathered petition under U.S. law may be directed to USCIS at Guatemala.firstname.lastname@example.org.