Your Guide to the I-600A

Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition

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The I-600A is the first form you will fill out with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when preparing for an international adoption. This form is completed before an orphan is located or has been identified for an adoption by you. Do not confuse this form with the I-600 form, which is the Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative.

I-600A Form Eligibility

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen. In the case of a married couple, one of the spouses must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • The prospective parent is 25 years of age or older, or one of the partners within a marriage is 25 years of age or older.

Documents Needed to Show Proof of Eligibility

The following must be sent with the completed I-600A form:

  • A birth certificate to show proof of citizenship. If unable to obtain a birth certificate; a copy of the baptismal certificate under the seal of the church showing place of birth. The baptism must have taken place within two months of the birth. If this is not possible, affidavits of two U.S. citizens who have knowledge of the applicant's birth in the United States. Naturalization papers or a valid U.S. passport will also work.
  • Proof of marriage and the proof of ended previous marriages. Photocopies of divorce decrees, death certificates, and the marriage license will fill this requirement.

  • Completed home study with a recommendation by the state agency. Be sure to use a social worker or agency that understands the guidelines needed to be met with international adoptions. Different information is needed with an international adoption than with a domestic adoption.
  • Fingerprints of all adults over the age of 18 who reside in the home. After filing of the form; the INS will notify the petitioners with a time and place to be fingerprinted. Do not miss this appointment; it could mean a denial of your petition. It's also important to note that your I-600A once approved remains valid for 18 months, but your fingerprints remain valid for only 15 months.

  • Payment of the petition and fingerprinting fee per person. One check can be used for the entire sum (filing fee and fingerprint fee) made payable to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Check with your adoption agency or the USCIS for updated fee amounts.

File the I-600A with your local USCIS District or Sub-Office. See the USCIS page for locations. Scroll down to the I-600A where you can also find a printable I-600A form. You can not file the form electronically.

What to Expect Next 

After your I-600A is approved, the USCIS will send you the I-171H, which is the Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition. It's a good idea to have a copy of this sent to the consulate in the country you plan to adopt from.