The purpose of Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, is part of an effort to ensure that every international adoption is legal under both the United States law and the law of child's country. Form I-604 is also known as "orphan investigation." Form I-604 must be completed and sent with every Form I-600 for each orphan case.
Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, is part of the Non-Hague adoption process, meaning the countries utilizing Form I-604 are not part of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.
There are about seventy-five different countries that are a part of the Hague Convention.
F orm I-604 is completed by a USCIS or consular officer in the child's country of residence. Prospective adoptive parents will be notified by letter when their case is assigned to a United States Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Each prospective adoptive parent must work with their adoption service provider to determine when to travel to their child's country as each investigation may take several weeks or even months to complete and the Embassy will not schedule an immigrant visa appointment until after the I-604 determination is complete. It may be wise to wait until that appointment has been set.
Quick Overview of the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption Process
If Form I-600 is filed stateside with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office before the adjudicating of Form I-600: The stateside office may go ahead and submit Form I-604 to an overseas site so that the investigation into the child's orphan status can begin.
The stateside office must explain why they are requesting the inquiry before the adjudication of Form I-600 and send along all photocopies of needed documents as well as a copy of Form I-600 through the National Visa Center (NVC).
Once the inquiry is completed overseas, the officer conducting the investigation will sign and date the form, and return the completed Form I-604 along with any needed documentation to the USCIS office.
If Form I-600 is approved by the stateside USCIS: The USCIS will then forward the approved Form I-600 along with Form I-604 for further verification that the child is an orphan through the NVC. If the investigation is completed without issue, Form I-604 will be signed and dated by the officer performing the inquiry and will be included in the child's orphan's immigrant visa packet. An immigrant visa interview will be the be scheduled.
If Form I-604 reveals evidence that the Form I-600 should be revoked, Forms I-604 and I-600 and any evidence will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) to be returned to USCIS for further review and possible revocation.
If Form I-600 is filed at an overseas USCIS office with jurisdiction over the child's residence: The USCIS office may not adjudicate Form I-600 until Form I-604 is completed, signed and dated by the officer completing the inquiry.
If Form I-600 is filed at an overseas USCIS office with jurisdiction over the petitioner's residence and not the child's residence: Block three of Form I-604 must be completed on page four by the USCIS office with a signature of the referring officer on page four. The approved Form I-600, along with supporting documentation, and the Form I-604 must be forwarded to the consular post with jurisdiction over the child's residence through the National Visa Center (NVC).
The consular post must then complete, sign and date the form. If all is well with the investigation, an appointment with an immigrant visa interview will be scheduled. If evidence is discovered, Form I-604 and Form I-600 are returned with evidence and documentation to the NVC and the USCIS for further review and possible revocation.
If Form I-600 is filed with a consulate: Form I-600 must not be adjudicated until after completing Form I-604 inquiry to verify the child is an orphan. If the child is found to be an orphan, the signed forms are included in the child's orphan immigrant visa packet. If the inquiry discovers that Form I-600 is not clearly approvable, the consular post will sign and date Form I-604 and return both forms along with any evidence to the overseas USCIS office having jurisdiction over the consular post.
The evidence may be used to request for evidence or an intent to deny Form I-600.
For more information and details on Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, please see the Department of State website on Non-Hague Visa Process.