• Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021

    There have been important changes to the Child Tax Credit that will help many families receive advance payments starting this summer. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021 only.

    The expanded credit means:

    • The credit amounts will increase for many taxpayers.
    • The credit for qualifying children is fully refundable, which means that taxpayers can benefit from the credit even if they don’t have earned income or don’t owe any income taxes.
    • The credit will include children who turn age 17 in 2021.
    • Taxpayers may receive part of their credit in 2021 before filing their 2021 tax return.

    For tax year 2021, families claiming the CTC will receive up to $3,000 per qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 at the end of 2021. They will receive $3,600 per qualifying child under age 6 at the end of 2021. Under the prior law, the amount of the CTC was up to $2,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17 at the end of the year.

    The increased amounts are reduced (phased out), for incomes over $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return and qualifying widows or widowers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $75,000 for all other taxpayers.

    Advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will be made regularly from July through December to eligible taxpayers who have a main home in the United States for more than half the year. The total of the advance payments will be up to 50 percent of the Child Tax Credit. Advance payments will be estimated from information included in eligible taxpayers’ 2020 tax returns (or their 2019 returns if the 2020 returns are not filed and processed yet).

    The IRS urges people with children to file their 2020 tax returns as soon as possible to make sure they’re eligible for the appropriate amount of the CTC as well as any other tax credits they’re eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Filing electronically with direct deposit also can speed refunds and future advance CTC payments.

    Eligible taxpayers do not need to take any action now other than to file their 2020 tax return if they have not done so.

    Eligible taxpayers who do not want to receive advance payment of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will have the opportunity to decline receiving advance payments. Taxpayers will also have the opportunity to update information about changes in their income, filing status or the number of qualifying children. More details on how to take these steps will be announced soon.

    The IRS also urges community groups, non-profits, associations, education groups and anyone else with connections to people with children to share this critical information about the CTC. The IRS will be providing additional materials and information that can be easily shared by social media, email and other methods.

    The IRS will provide more information about advance payments soon.  https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021

  • Bulgarian President Appoints Interim Government

    May 13, 2021

    The interim government, appointed by President Rumen Radev on May 11, will be in office until a new government is appointed following the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the month of July, 2021. After the resignation of the last government, the Intercountry Adoption Council had to cease work until the appointment of a new government. It’s the hope of many, that the Deputy Minister of Justice from the interim government, who is the person responsible to chair the sessions of the Intercountry Adoption Council (IAC), will resume sessions of the Council as soon as possible, and will continue holding regular IAC sessions in the period until the parliamentary elections in July.

  • Update on Travel to Bulgaria for Adoptive Parents

    May 10, 2021

    There is an updated Bulgarian Ministry of Health (MOH) order issued on May 1, 2021 that makes it easier for citizens of many countries, including the United States, to travel to Bulgaria. American citizens traveling on a U.S. passport – including adoptive parents – are now excepted from the MOH order and may enter Bulgaria by presenting one of the following:

    • (a) a vaccination certificate for a completed vaccination course against COVID-19. The vaccination certificate is considered valid 14 days after receiving the final dose. The document should include full name of the vaccinated person as per the identification document, date of birth, dates the vaccine doses were administered, vaccine name and batch number, name of the producer, details of the vaccine certificate issuing authority and country; or
    • (b) a positive result from a PCR or antigen test for immunity for COVID-19 for persons who had the coronavirus infection not more than 6 months from the date they enter the country; or
    • (c) a negative result from a PCR test performed within 72 hours of their entry into the country or a negative antigen test performed within 48 hours of their entry into the country.

    For more Covid-19 information for Bulgaria, please visit the Embassy’s website: https://bg.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information and https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Bulgaria.html

    The information from our previous email dated January 20, 2021 is still valid: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air travelers, two years of age or older, to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel in order to be admitted into the United States. This includes U.S. citizens and adoptees: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.

    Immigrant Visa Unit

    U.S. Embassy

    Sofia, Bulgaria

  • Adoption Travel – India

    May 5, 2021

    The Indian Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and the U.S. Embassy have in the past months been working diligently to process cases as expeditiously as possible, while following Indian quarantine protocols to combat COVID-19. With the recent surge in ​COVID-19 cases, the situation is changing rapidly and there are multiple cities and states in India under lockdowns. For the latest travel information and health alerts related to COVID-19 in India, please review the information on the U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/India.html

    On April 30, President Biden signed a presidential proclamation that suspended certain types of travel for non-U.S. citizens present in India. The proclamation does not affect adoptive children, who may continue to travel to the United States and seek entry. Additionally, U.S. Embassy New Delhi continues to process visas for adoptive children. However, CARA has requested that the U.S. Central Authority ask prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to postpone travel until after the current surge. 

    There are currently direct flights running from India to the U.S. on United Airlines and Air India. We strongly urge families currently in India to book one of the direct flights back to the United States, as transiting Europe is not an option for Indian citizens (which would include the adopted child(ren)) due to U.S. and European travel restrictions currently in place. We cannot predict whether these or other flight routes will be affected by the pandemic situation in the future. As we do not have a role in travel arrangements, we recommend families stay in touch with ASP representatives.

    We all hope this situation eases in the near future so families can continue their plans for adoptions in India without significant further delay.

    Sincerely,

    Office of Children’s Issues

  • USCIS Forms Update Notice

    April 21, 2021

    USCIS recently updated the following forms:

    I-600A Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition

    12/21/2020 11:22 AM EST

    Starting June 18, 2021, we will only accept the 12/21/20 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.

    I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative

    12/21/2020 09:45 AM EST

    Starting June 18 2021, we will only accept the 12/21/20 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.

    For more information, please visit the USCIS Forms Updates page.

  • UPDATE on China Post Adoption Report Submission

    April 15, 2021

    Effective immediately, China requires that adoptive parents complete and submit the standard 6 post adoption reports through their adoption agency.  After the completion of the 6th report, adoptive parents will submit directly to China additional required post adoption updates, every year until their child turns 18.  These additional updates, referred to as a “second phase of post-placement reporting”, are being implemented in order to strengthen China’s monitoring and follow up on the life and growth of children adopted by foreign adoptive families.  This requirement is applicable to all adoptive families who have brought home children from China since April 1st, 2016.

    For more information, please contact IAN.

  • Ukraine: Under adaptive quarantine until April 30, 2021

    April 2, 2021

    COVID-19 Testing For U.S. Entry

    *** Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

    A list of COVID Testing Centers in Ukraine can be found here.

    City of Kyiv ONLY:

    In response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Kyiv city government has introduced stricter quarantine measures starting March 20 until April 9, 2021, which will include the following restrictions:

    • Closure of cinemas, theaters, museums, and other cultural establishments
    • Closure of shopping malls and stores except for grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores, shops selling hygiene products and household chemicals
    • No religious services, public and sport events
    • Limitation of restaurant, cafes, and catering establishments’ operations to “takeaway” mode only
    • Beauty salons will operate by appointment only
    • Spring break starts early in schools, kindergartens will continue to operate as usual
    • Public transportation will work as usual – but with max 50% of seat occupancy

    Country-Specific Information

    • Ukraine is under an adaptive quarantine until April 30, 2021.
    • Wearing masks is mandatory in public transportation and indoor public places.  Individuals and establishments can be fined for not complying.  Everyone should carry ID.

    Please check out the U.S. Embassy website for the latest COVID information for Ukraine. https://ua.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

  • Random Covid testing at Delhi airport, mandatory quarantine for those found positive

    Random testing of passengers arriving from states witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases will be done at the Delhi airport and those found positive will be “mandatorily quarantined”.

    “As per the latest government mandate, District Disaster Management Authorities will conduct random COVID-19 testing of passengers coming from the states where the cases are increasing,” Delhi Airport said in a statement on Wednesday.

    “After collections of samples, the travellers would be allowed to exit. However, those passengers who are found positive will be mandatorily quarantined as per the protocol of the ministry of health and family welfare,” it added.

    The Delhi government had earlier declared that random testing of coronavirus will be held across airports, railway and bus stations.

    Over 53,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in India in the last 24 hours, out of which Delhi contributed with 992.

  • INDIA: Renewal of IAN’s CARA License

    On March 26th, 2021, CARA issued the renewal of International Adoption Net’s license to process inter-country adoption cases from India.  IAN has been licensed and working with adoptions from India for 10 years, and we’re pleased to announce this latest reauthorization of our organization. 

     We look forward to continuing to serve adoptive families and children through our India program!

    CARA license.jpg

  • India: New COVID Testing Requirements

    March 4, 2021

    U.S. Embassy New Delhi has informed the Office of Children’s Issues that India’s Civil Aviation Ministry in addition to requiring a negative COVID test result 72 hours prior to departure from the United States to India, a negative COVID test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, is now required to enter New Delhi from these five states in India:

    • Maharashtra
    • Kerala
    • Chhattisgarh
    • Madya Pradesh
    • Punjab

    Other domestic travel restrictions and requirements are currently in place for other states. Requirements for testing after domestic travel may impact prospective adoptive parents being able to visit children in orphanages in affected states. We caution that the situation is fluid and requirements could change rapidly with little to no notice. We recommend you monitor the embassy website for updates on travel requirements and restrictions, and to check the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website for more information, as well as the website of the state to which you plan to travel.

    Sincerely,

    The Office of Children’s Issues
    U.S. Department of State