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HOW TO ADOPT A CHILD FROM A COUNTRY SUBJECT TO THE HAGUE ADOPTION CONVENTION
(PART 2 of 2)
By GAIL S. SEERAM, ATTORNEY AT LAW
Intercountry adoption is the process by which you adopt a child from a different country than your own through permanent legal means; and bring that child to your home country to live with you permanently.
Through intercountry adoption, the legal transfer of parental rights from birth parent(s) to another parent(s) takes place. Over the last decade, U.S. families have adopted on average approximately 20,000 children from foreign nations each year. In particular, this article continues the discussion on intercountry adoptions under the Hague Adoption Convention.
Eligibility to adopt
Once you have obtained a favorable home study, file Form I-800A with USCIS. To be eligible to file Form I-800A, you must meet the following requirements:
· Be a U.S. citizen
· Habitually reside in the United States
· If you are married, your spouse must also sign your Form I-800A and must also intend to adopt any child whom you adopt.
· If you are not married, you must be at least 24 years of age when you file your Form I-800A, and you must be 25 years of age when you file your Form I-800.
Petitioning for your child
After Form I-800A has been filed, you may apply to the Central Authority of the other country for a specific adoption placement. Once the Central Authority has proposed placing a child with you for adoption, but before you actually adopt the child, you must file Form I-800 on behalf of the child to be adopted. For a child to be classified as a Hague Convention Adoptee, the child must meet the following criteria:
· Under the age of 16 at the time of filing Form I-800
· Habitually reside in a Convention country
· Determined to be eligible for intercountry adoption by the Central Authority of that country and have obtained all necessary consents for adoption.
If you are married, your spouse must also sign the Form I-800 and adopt the child.
If you are not married, you must be at least 25 when you file the Form I-800.
After Form I-800 has been provisionally approved, you may apply for a visa for the child and may complete the adoption of the child (or obtain custody to bring the child to the United States for adoption), once the Department of State advises you to do so.
Gail S. Seeram, an immigration attorney, handles cases involving family petitions, business/investors visas, citizenship, deportation, asylum, work authorization and extension of status. Call her office toll- free at 1-877-GAIL-LAW (1-877-424-5529), send an email at email@example.com or visit www.go2lawyer.com
FIVE-YEAR LOW FOR H-1B VISAS SUBMITTED DURING FIRST WEEK OF FILING SEASON
By DILIP PATEL
On April 1, employers began filing H-1B petitions for their employees who require a first-time H-1B visa for work that will commence on Oct. 1, 2010. Perhaps a true barometer of America’s current economic well-being, only 19,100 petitions were filed for the coveted work visa during the first week of April compared to 63,000 during the same period in 2009. And, in 2008 and 2007, all H-1B visas – limited to 85,000 per fiscal year – were exhausted the first day they became available. Last year, the remaining 22,000 visas were available until late December.
Besides the economy, this year there are new hurdles that confront H-1B employers and their employees. First, employers will need additional lead time to prepare their petitions. The required labor condition attestation (LCA), now processed under the Department of Labor’s new iCert Portal System, takes at least seven days for an approval instead of just one. Second, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has altered its definition of what constitutes a valid employer-employee relationship as it relates to H-1B workers, imposing new rules on the types of activities in which H-1B workers can engage. Third, USCIS appears to be closely scrutinizing the authorship of credentials evaluations where education and work experience are combined. The agency has been denying petitions where the record does not clearly demonstrate that the individual providing the evaluation qualifies as an authorized signatory.
STARTUP VISA BILL AIMS TO PROMOTE GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURS
While the pro-immigration leadership in the Senate continues to seek bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform, just a couple of months ago Senate veterans John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) successfully drafted and introduced the Startup Visa Act of 2010, a bill aimed to create jobs in the U.S. while enhancing the United States’ position in the global economy. Specifically, the act would allow foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the U.S to qualify for permanent residency on a conditional two-year basis if a sponsoring U.S. venture capitalist invests $250,000 in the immigrant’s startup company. After the conditional residency period, the foreign entrepreneur would need to demonstrate that the business generated at least five full time jobs in the U.S. and attracted a $1 million initial investment or reached revenues of $1 million in order to have the condition on residency removed. The new category would supplement and draw from existing visa numbers under the current, yet underutilized EB-5 employment creation (fifth preference) category for alien entrepreneurs.
Reportedly, the startup visa idea was born last fall when Dave McClure, a venture capitalist and former software entrepreneur, organized a Geeks on a Plane tour for entrepreneurs to visit Washington. The group saw the opportunity to help generate additional jobs in the U.S. while also enabling high quality entrepreneurs to generate successful businesses. Since their initial D.C. trip, McClure and company have rallied support for the idea. While it’s unclear whether the bill has any legs, it could garner broad appeal as a way to facilitate global economic growth and stimulate the U.S. economy. In any event, it already has piqued the curiosity and support of bloggers on Twitter and Facebook, among others. Thomas Friedman, in his April 4 Op Ed in the New York Times, advocated for precisely this idea. “Start-Ups, not Bailouts,” is the way to create jobs in America, he said. “Good-paying jobs don’t come from bailouts. They come from start-ups. And where do start-ups come from? They come from smart creative, inspired risk-takers. How do we get more of those? There are only two ways: grow more by improving our schools or import more by recruiting talented immigrants.” Friedman concludes that America must seriously and urgently think about the key ingredients that foster entrepreneurship. We couldn’t agree more. WONDERING WHY YOUR REMOVAL CASE IS TAKING SO LONG FOR RESOLUTION? ANSWER: IMMIGRATION JUDGE VACANCIES
A University of Syracuse research organization recentlyreported that pending cases at the nation’s immigration courts reached an all-time high, up 23 percent from just seven months ago and 80 percent since 2000. With more than 228,000 cases pending in the first few months since October 2009, the average wait time is well over one year. The Los Angeles Immigration Court has the longest backlog, with pending cases averaging almost two years.
Rather than an increase in cases, much of this backlog is due to the growing vacancies of immigration judges, which reached an all-time high in January 2010. While delays may enable those facing removal an opportunity to obtain counsel, mount a case and even get affairs in order before being sent home, backlogs of this nature ultimately compromise the statutory and constitutional guarantee of due process for each person facing removal and create immense pressure on sitting immigration judges to complete cases.
Dilip Patel of Dilip Patel Law Firm (Business and Immigration Attorneys) is board certified in immigration and nationality law. He can be reached at (813) 855-0066, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dplawfirm.com
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