Remember: never mail original legal documents to the USCIS! These documents will be gone forever if the USCIS loses them. Instead, sign and include with your I-600A the USCIS form stating that the photocopies of the documents are true and unaltered. (Contact your regional USCIS office for a copy of this form.)
The I-171H – “Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition”
When the USCIS approves your I-600A, they will send you form I-171H, “Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition.” You should also request that notice of this approval be sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country from which you plan to adopt. In a nutshell, the I-171H states that you are approved to adopt a child from the foreign country you specified way back when you completed your I-600A.
Your I-600A petition approval remains valid for 18 months from the date of approval. You must re-file your I-600A petition if it expires (there is an “expedited” re-filing procedure available). (It’s important to note that your fingerprints will only be valid for 15 months – you will have to have your fingerprints retaken if they expire.)
A Word of Caution
Just because the USCIS approves your I-600A petition does not automatically guarantee that your petition for a specific child will be approved. Approval for a specific child depends on that child’s orphan status, as outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, and to some extent upon the child’s medical status. This is just one more reason to choose an experienced, reputable international adoption agency.
For more information, see Forms for International Adoption to Download & Fees.
Credits: Excerpted from "International Adoption Guidebook," Mary M. Strickert, (c) 2004
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.