Taiwan and Ethiopia implement the U.S. Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (“PAIR”) requirement

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The U.S. Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (“PAIR”) process provides systematic safeguards for prospective adoptive children and parents. Under PAIR, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will review 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 where U.S. families cannot bring their adopted child to the United States.  Additionally, the PAIR process minimizes 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.  Prospective adoptive parents initiate PAIR by filing a Form I-600 with USCIS before completing the adoption abroad.  If USCIS makes a preliminary determination that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, USCIS will issue a PAIR letter.  Prospective adoptive parents must then include the PAIR letter in the adoption dossier they submit to the foreign agency in charge of adoption to initiate the procedure.

The government of Ethiopia informed the United States that, effective September 1, 2013, it will require all adoption cases filed by U. S. prospective adoptive parents to undergo the U.S. PAIR process.  Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) will require a PAIR letter issued by USCIS in order to make a best interest determination.  The new PAIR letter requirement will not affect adoption cases filed with Ethiopian courts before September 1, 2013.  Likewise, in January of this year, 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.  This rule does not affect pending adoption cases filed with Taiwan courts before April 1, 2013.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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