Taiwan Adoption Alert
The Department of State shares the follow web alert posted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on February 26, 2013.
In January, the Taiwan Child Welfare Bureau issued an administrative order that requires all adoption cases filed on behalf of U.S. prospective adoptive parents with the Taiwan courts to undergo the U.S. PAIR process. The order applies to all currently licensed Taiwan adoption services providers (ASP), and any ASPs which may be licensed in the future. The administrative order instructs Taiwan ASPs to include a letter issued by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) located in Taipei, confirming that USCIS successfully completed the PAIR process with each court filing initiated after April 1, 2013. The new requirement will not affect pending adoption cases filed with Taiwan courts before April 1, 2013.
To enable prospective parents adopting from Taiwan to comply with Taiwan’s new requirement, USCIS issued a policy memorandum, effective immediately, that allows prospective adoptive parents to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, before Taiwan courts finalize an adoption in Taiwan. These new procedures allow USCIS to assess the child’s eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits and make a preliminary determination before Taiwan courts finalize the adoption decree. A copy of the policy memorandum is available at uscis.gov.
After USCIS issues a preliminary determination of the child’s immigration eligibility, AIT will issue a letter to prospective adoptive parents confirming completion of the PAIR process. Prospective adoptive parents, through their ASPs, must include the letter from AIT when filing a case with the Taiwan courts. To begin the PAIR process, petitioners adopting children from Taiwan should file the Form I-600 petition and supporting documents with the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) before filing an adoption case with the Taiwan courts. Please refer to the Form I-600 instructions for filing instructions for the NBC. USCIS overseas offices and the AIT will continue to accept Form I-600 petitions, but such petitions will be forwarded to the NBC for PAIR review.
Prospective adoptive parents filing their Form I-600 petition should include all available required documentation when filing a Form I-600 petition, except the adoption decree or grant of legal custody. In addition, the following PAIR-specific documentation must be submitted when the child’s country of origin is Taiwan:
- Evidence of availability for intercountry adoption generated by the Taiwan island-wide database;
- Signed adoption agreement between birth parents and prospective adoptive parents for use in Taiwan District Family Courts; and
- Power of attorney appointing the Taiwan ASP to represent the prospective adoptive parents.
The Taiwan District Family Court will make its own determination regarding the child’s adoptability. After completing the adoption and receiving the adoption decree from the Taiwan District Family Court, U.S. adoptive parents will submit their adoption decree and all necessary documents to AIT for final Form I-600 petition approval and immigrant visa processing.
From September 17–24, 2012, a joint Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) technical team traveled to Taiwan to discuss the intercountry adoption process between Taiwan and the United States. The team met with the Taiwan authorities regarding the possibility of implementing a Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) process. This process would provide Taiwan courts with information regarding the child’s likely eligibility to immigrate to the United States before the court enters an order establishing a permanent legal relationship between the U.S. citizen parents and the child. Taiwan authorities indicated a desire to implement the PAIR process in Taiwan soon.
The PAIR process would provide systematic safeguards for prospective adoptive children and parents. Under PAIR, USCIS reviews a child’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States before a final adoption order or custody order transfers rights to adopting U.S. parents. Such a review can prevent situations in which U.S. families cannot bring their adopted child to the United States. Additionally, the PAIR process will minimize the possibility of long separations from the child after the adoption or custody decree is issued while waiting for the U.S. authorities to review the child’s immigration eligibility. However, per U.S. law, the definitive finding of the child’s immigration eligibility would still be made at the time of the adjudication.
To implement PAIR, Taiwan authorities intend to require all licensed adoption service providers operating in Taiwan to submit evidence to the Taiwan courts in each adoption case that USCIS has conducted a PAIR review.
If Taiwan authorities make this procedural change, USCIS will implement a process to allow prospective adoptive parents to obtain a PAIR determination before submitting adoption cases to the appropriate court in Taiwan. Specifically, the PAIR process would allow prospective adoptive parents adopting from Taiwan to file their Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with all supporting documentation except the final adoption decree, with USCIS before filing their case with the courts in Taiwan. After reviewing the child’s immigration eligibility, USCIS would issue a preliminary determination to prospective adoptive parents of the child’s immigration eligibility.
USCIS and the State Department will continue to update the public of any new developments on PAIR processing in Taiwan.
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