The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website has posted an article that spells potentially bad news for anyone seeking to adopt a child from Vietnam. They have announced that they are unable to accept a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, which an individual files on behalf of a child that they wish to adopt from Vietnam.
According to information that the Department of State (DOS) has gathered, it has been determined that Vietnam has not lived up to their obligations that were outlined under The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). As a result of these findings, DOS consular officers are unable to issue the necessary Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Declaration.
Without the certification of compliance from The Hague Adoption Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, the USCIS is completely unable to approve any I-800 forms that get submitted. Since at this time, the DOS cannot issue any certificates for adoption from the country of Vietnam, until further notice, the USCIS will have to reject any and all I-800 forms filed on behalf of a child to be adopted from Vietnam.
Since potential adoptive parents in the U.S. will not be able to complete the immigration process for any child adopted from Vietnam, the USCIS is recommending that parents do not attempt to file any Form I-800 on behalf of a child from Vietnam. They are also recommending that prospective parents do not file any Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, if they identify Vietnam as the country they wish to adopt from.
The Hague Adoption Convention was brought into the U.S. in April 2008 and is mainly used to protect the welfare of all children, adoptive parents, and birth parents that are engaged in intercountry adoptions. That means that as of April 1, 2008, any and all intercountry adoptions between the United States and other such qualifying Hague Convention countries are required to comply with all Hague Adoption Convention standards. Vietnam signed up for the Hague Convention, and it entered into force on Feb 2012. All U.S. Hague Convention Adoptions are performed using Form I-800 and I-800A.
Before The Hague Adoption Convention was passed in the United States and Vietnam, intercountry adoptions from Vietnam were filed using USCIS Forms I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, and I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. All of these adoptions were also operating under an agreement between Vietnam and the U.S. that expired Sept 1, 2008. When that expired, the USCIS determined that adoptions between Vietnam and the U.S. would not resume until both countries either signed a new agreement, or Vietnam agreed to and ratified the Hague Adoption Convention.
As the inability to file a Form I-800 is a big change to adoption, the USCIS will make an announcement as soon as the DOS determines that Vietnam is able to meet its obligations under the Hague Adoption Convention, which will allow Form I-800s to be filed once again.