From the U.S. Department of State Office of Children’s Issues:
March 25, 2022
The Department recognizes the security situation in Ukraine is of great concern to prospective adoptive parents (PAP) at any stage of the process, including host families who intend to but have not yet started the adoption process.
The Department has issued a Level 4 Do Not Travel Alert urging U.S. citizens not to travel to Ukraine and advising U.S. citizens in Ukraine to depart immediately if it is safe to do so. There are currently no in-person U.S. consular services available in Ukraine and the U.S. government will not be able to evacuate U.S. citizens from Ukraine.
We are aware some PAPs and host families are considering travel to Poland and other neighboring countries in an effort to visit with children who have been evacuated. We encourage anyone who travels to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program in order to receive security and other critical updates from the relevant U.S. Embassy. Country-specific information is available on the Department’s website.
Please review the following key notices about intercountry adoption and hosting programs involving Ukrainian children:
– Ukraine’s Ministry of Policy Statement on Intercountry Adoption – Please note that the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine (MSP) has stated adoption in Ukraine is “impossible” at this time.
Q: Can Ukrainian children come to the United States temporarily for their safety?
The Office of Children’s Issues has received many inquiries from individuals who are concerned about the welfare of Ukrainian children. Many families have previously hosted the child they wish to adopt and hope to find a mechanism to bring the child to the United States until the crisis in Ukraine resolves; others have not been involved in hosting or adoption but want to find a way to help. We are also hearing from hosting organizations and other humanitarian groups who seek information about how to bring Ukrainian children to the United States outside of the intercountry adoption process. The Ukrainian government has confirmed they are not approving children to participate in host programs in the United States at this time. They are taking measures to ensure their safety in neighboring countries. We are in close touch with the Ukrainian government, which confirms that most children have already been evacuated and are receiving all appropriate care, including specialized medical treatment, as necessary. The Ukrainian authorities are not making exceptions to this policy for children who previously participated in hosting programs or are already in the process of adoption.
See the Department’s March 9, 2022 Ukraine Adoption Update and the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy’s March 19 Statement on the Evacuation of Children in Institutional Care for additional information.
The following resources provide information on other ways to help:
· Department of State – United with Ukraine: How You Can Help
· U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – see the How You Can Help section on the Ukraine Crisis page
Q: What action is the Government of Ukraine taking to protect children in institutional care?
The Ministry of Social Policy and the National Social Service Office of Ukraine have jurisdiction over decisions about the care and protection of the children in their care. The Minister of Social Policy Lazebna’s statement on the evacuation of almost 5,000 children in institutional care confirmed that “all the evacuated children are safe, [and] they are provided with housing, food, medical and educational services.” On March 17, the Government of Ukraine set up a Coordination Headquarters/Task Force to protect children’s rights and they developed a draft Memorandum between Ukraine and other countries to protect the rights of displaced children and guarantee their return to Ukraine, based on the agreements already reached by the Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine in meetings with relevant Ministers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany and Italy. This situation is fluid. Prospective adoptive parents and other concerned individuals may wish to monitor statements released by the Ukrainian government for current information about child protection activities.
Q: How can I begin the process to adopt a child in Ukraine?
We are receiving many inquiries expressing concern for the children of Ukraine and asking how to begin the adoption process. Ukraine’s Ministry of Policy Statement on Intercountry Adoption confirms that adoption in Ukraine is not possible at this time.
Information about intercountry adoption, including country specific information, is available on our website, www.adoption.state.
gov. You may also wish to consult with an accredited adoption service provider.
Please review carefully the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues statement regarding children of Ukraine. We note it can be extremely difficult in times of war and crisis to determine whether children who appear to be orphans are truly eligible for adoption and immigration under U.S. laws. Children may be temporarily separated from their parents or other family members during a conflict or natural disaster and their parents may be looking for them. It is not uncommon in dangerous situations for parents to send their children out of the area for safety reasons, or for families to become separated during an evacuation. Even when it can be demonstrated that a child’s parents have died, children are often cared for by other relatives. In addition, it can also be exceptionally difficult to fulfill the legal requirements for intercountry adoption of both the United States and the child’s country of origin under such circumstances. It can also be challenging to gather documents necessary to establish that the child meets the requirements of U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to consult with an experienced immigration attorney when considering adopting or caring for a child under these circumstances. For context, you may wish to review the general procedural information on our website about applying to adopt a child from another country to the United States. See in particular those sections describing the U.S. immigrant visa process for an eligible adopted child.
Q: Can the State Department expedite the processing of Ukraine adoption cases already in process?
We are working with the Government of Ukraine on behalf of families who have final adoption orders to obtain required documents for the child’s immigrant visa processing. These are cases in which a Ukrainian court has already granted legal custody to the adoptive parents. We will continue to raise U.S. families’ commitment to and interest in completing the process in cases where both U.S. and Ukrainian approvals have been granted but there has not yet been a final, legal change of custody determination. However, we cannot predict whether or when any cases without a final adoption order will be able to proceed. Intercountry adoption cases in process are not expected to move forward in the near term.
On March 13, 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy issued a statement confirming that adoption is not possible in Ukraine at this time. See the Department’s March 21, 2022 Notice for more information. Families at any stage of the process, including those who have started but not completed required court hearings, should consult with their accredited adoption service provider (ASP) to discuss the impact of the Ministry of Social Policy’s statement on their adoption plans.
The following resources provide helpful background on why adoption of Ukrainian children may be difficult or inappropriate at this time:
· UNICEF and the UN High Commission on Refugees – Unaccompanied and Separated Children Fleeing Escalating Conflict in Ukraine Must be Protected
· Hague Conference on Private International Law – Information Note on Children Deprived of their Family Environment Due to the Armed Conflict in Ukraine
· The National Council for Adoption – Regarding Refugee Children Fleeing the War in Ukraine
· International Social Services – Ukraine Crisis Fact Sheet
· Save the Children – Ukraine Crisis: Call for Immediate Halt on Intercountry Adoptions to Keep Children Safe
Q: Who is the primary point of contact for PAPs in the process of adopting in Ukraine?
ASPs are the most appropriate point of contact for PAPs who are in the adoption process. ASPs can provide guidance about how the situation in Ukraine may impact each family’s adoption plans. PAPs may also contact the Office of Children’s Issues directly at Adoption@state.gov.
Q: What if I have started the adoption process and I have had one or more court hearings, but additional hearings are required?
The Department has requested adoption hearings be expedited and conducted virtually whenever possible. However, the judge has sole discretion over this decision. At this time, most government offices and courts are not open or able to conduct business, and we are unable to track the operating status of each. Based on the Ministry of Social Policy’s March 13 statement that adoptions are not possible at this time, we do not expect these cases to move forward in the near term. The Department will continue to convey to the Ukrainian government that U.S. families are interested in completing the adoption process if possible under Ukrainian law. PAPs at this stage of the process should remain in close contact with their ASP to discuss how this situation impacts their adoption plans.
Q: What if I have accepted an official referral from the Ministry of Social Policy (MSP) but there have not yet been any court hearings, or I have declined a referral and not yet been offered another one?
Based on the Ministry of Social Policy’s March 13 statement that adoptions are not possible at this time, we do not expect cases at this stage of the process to move forward in the near term.
Q: Can the State Department facilitate the removal of children from Ukraine and entry into another country for their safety?
The Ukrainian authorities, which have jurisdiction over decisions about the care and protection of the children in its care, have expressed concern about moving children out of Europe at this point and are taking steps to ensure their safety in neighboring countries. The National Social Service Office of Ukraine has made clear that while children may depart Ukraine with their legal guardians, who are often the orphanage directors, if other required criteria are met, they do not approve the children for onward travel to the United States for hosting at this time.
Information about the evacuation of children residing in institutional care is available on the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers website. Q: What if I am partway through the adoption process and the child’s orphanage or another entity is able to get the child to Poland or another neighboring country? Will I be able to resume the intercountry adoption process from there?
Based on the Ministry of Social Policy’s March 13 statement that adoptions are not possible at this time, we do not expect adoption cases to move forward in the near term. The Ukrainian government retains the authority for decisions about the best interests of Ukrainian children in institutional care, even when the children have been evacuated to other countries.
Q: Is the State Department able to facilitate humanitarian parole for a child I am in the process of adopting so that I may bring the child to the United States?
Questions about humanitarian parole for Ukrainian children in institutional care should be directed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which has jurisdiction over this issue. Information about the humanitarian parole application process and refugee and asylum status is available on the USCIS website.
Q: What if I am in the process of adopting a child that has previously traveled to the United States through a hosting program? If the visa expiration date has not yet passed will the child be able to enter the U.S.?
Children who travel to the United States for hosting programs do so with the Ukrainian government’s authorization and on a U.S. non-immigrant visa that is typically valid only for one entry to the United States and only during the narrow date range of the program. To travel to the United States again, a child would need a new non-immigrant visa. Children in the process of intercountry adoption without a final adoption or guardianship order are generally not eligible for issuance of a non-immigrant visa as they are intending immigrants. Visa eligibility and adjudication is governed by U.S. immigration laws, and State Department consular officers do not have the authority to make exceptions to U.S. law. Please see Visas for Ukrainian Children for additional information.
Q: What if I am considering adoption or I know I am not in a position to adopt a child but I would like to host a child so that they can leave Ukraine temporarily while the country is at war?
We are receiving many inquiries from U.S. citizens concerned about the plight of Ukrainian children. We share this concern for these children, and we understand that some U.S. citizens want to respond by offering to open their homes and adopt these children in need.
It can be extremely difficult in such circumstances to determine whether children who appear to be orphans truly are eligible for adoption and immigration under U.S. laws. Children may be temporarily separated from their parents or other family members during a conflict or natural disaster and their parents may be looking for them. It is not uncommon in dangerous situations for parents to send their children out of the area, for safety reasons, or for families to become separated during an evacuation. Even when it can be demonstrated that a child’s parents have died, children are often cared for by other relatives. Many children living in orphanages in Ukraine are not orphans.
During times of crisis, it can also be exceptionally difficult to fulfill the legal requirements for intercountry adoption of both the United States and the child’s country of origin. This is especially true when civil authority breaks down. It can be very difficult to gather documents necessary to establish that the child meets the requirements of U.S. immigration law, so persons interested in adoption may wish to consult with an experienced immigration attorney when considering adopting or caring for a child under these circumstances. For context, you may wish to review the general procedural information on our website about applying to adopt and immigrate a child from another country to the United States. See in particular those sections describing the U.S. immigrant visa process for an eligible adopted child.
March 23, 2022
From the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues:
President Putin’s premeditated, unjustified, and unprovoked war against Ukraine has had a devastating impact on Ukraine’s most vulnerable citizens: its children. The global child protection community, including non-profit organizations, has been working tirelessly with the Ukrainian government to evacuate children to safety. A critical part of this effort is to prevent children from being permanently separated from their parents and caregivers.
The United States and Ukraine have a long history of intercountry adoptions. Every year, hundreds of U.S. families open their hearts and homes to Ukrainian orphans in need of a permanent family. These adoptions occur with protections from U.S. and Ukrainian laws and regulations. Ultimately, Ukrainian authorities have jurisdiction over and responsibility for the safety of the orphans in their custody, including decisions about what is in their best interests. The Ukrainian government has informed us it has moved many of the children in its care to Poland and other European countries for safety and medical treatment.
The majority of children living in orphanages in Ukraine are not orphans. Most have parents and families who have placed them in orphanages for economic reasons or for assistance with a child’s special needs. It can be extremely difficult during crises to determine whether children who appear to be orphans are truly eligible for adoption and immigration under U.S. laws. Children may be temporarily separated from their family, and their parents or other caregivers may be looking for them. Families may make the difficult choice to send children on their own or in the care of non-family members in order to achieve their safety. When a child’s parents have died, other relatives may be willing and able to care for them.
For these and other reasons, the Ukrainian government informed the Department of State they do not approve Ukrainian children for temporary travel to the United States at this time. This decision was made by the National Social Services Office of Ukraine, which must approve the transfer of any orphan. Ukraine has also confirmed there is no plan for simplified procedures, including for those already in the process of being adopted, and on March 13, 2022, announced that adoption is not possible at this time.
The Ukrainian government and many international organizations have serious concerns about children being taken out of the region, since this would hamper efforts to reunite them with their families once the crisis is over. UNICEF and the UN High Commission on Refugees have published information regarding the protection of unaccompanied and separated children in Ukraine and throughout the region. The National Council for Adoption issued a statement Regarding Refugee Children Fleeing the War in Ukraine, which explains why, given the uncertainty in the current situation, now is not the time for U.S. citizens to be considering adoption of children whom the Ukrainian authorities have not already identified as eligible for adoption and approved for adoption by a specific family.
In some cases, Ukrainian courts issued final approvals of an adoption by U.S. families before Russia invaded. The Department of State is working closely with adoption service providers and the families involved in these cases. We are facilitating the departure of these children with final adoption decrees and the issuance of immigrant visas by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. We are sharing information and updates with a larger group of families who had initiated but not yet completed the process to adopt children from Ukraine. We will continue this dialogue and continue our work with the Ukrainian government as it seeks to ensure the safety of all its children. Please review Information for U.S. Citizens in the Process of Adopting Children from Ukraine for more information.
The United States reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, and we are inspired by the many families, individuals, and organizations in the United States who are moved by the plight of the children of Ukraine and want to help. There are many ways to assist the people of Ukraine. Please see United With Ukraine on the Department of State’s website for information and resources about how U.S. citizens can connect with organizations working to help the Ukrainian people.
From the U.S. Department of State
March 21, 2022
Ukraine – Ministry of Social Policy Statement on Intercountry Adoption
On March 13, 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy issued the following statement on Intercountry Adoption Under Conditions of Marial Law – A Clarification. The Department of State is pleased to provide the following official translation. Official Ukrainian updates about a range of issues related to the invasion, including the evacuation of children residing in institutional care, are available on the Cabinet of Ministers website.
Intercountry Adoption Under Conditions of Martial Law –
A Clarification from the Ministry of Social Policy
Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, published March 13, 2022, at 22:19
Recently the mass media and social networks have been filled with notices about the willingness of foreigners to adopt a child from Ukraine and with appeals that Ukrainian children need to be adopted abroad.
The Ministry of Social Policy emphasizes that under current conditions intercountry adoption is impossible and that disseminating such inaccurate information contains signs of fraud and violations of the rights of the child.
This is why we appeal to all concerned citizens, civil society organizations, and international organizations not to disseminate misinformation and not to endanger children.
In reality, because of risks to the life and health of children as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine, children and families with children are being evacuated to safe areas within Ukraine as well as beyond Ukraine’s borders to other countries, including member states of the European Union.
This is stipulated by international law and practice that pertains to intercountry adoption in such conditions.
The policy of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees with respect to adoption is that children who are evacuated to other countries as a result of an emergency situation, including children who are granted refugee status in the territory of other countries, cannot be adopted because the majority of them are not orphans or do not have official authoritative confirmation to that effect.
Such children require appropriate temporary care for possible reunification with [their] families in the future rather than adoption.
In addition, adoption must not be carried out if:
– there is hope of successfully finding and reuniting families in the best interests of the child, and
– a reasonable period of time has not yet passed (usually at least two years) during which all possible steps were taken to find the parents or other surviving family members.
Countries of origin of such children and countries of their temporary residence must make all possible efforts to find the family members of such children before they can be considered eligible for adoption.
This is stipulated by national legislation of Ukraine that pertains to intercountry adoption.
In accordance with the legislation of Ukraine, adoption of a child who is a citizen of Ukraine by foreigners or by citizens of Ukraine who reside beyond its borders requires the consent of the National Social Service. It is this Service that oversees matters pertaining to intercountry adoption.
The National Social Service is not currently considering cases and is not providing consent and/or permits for the adoption of children by foreigners or by citizens of Ukraine who reside beyond its borders. Because of active hostilities, it is impossible to ensure high-quality verification of documents of foreign citizens who have expressed a desire to adopt a child, to ensure contact between the prospective adoptive parent and the child, to establish the child’s opinion regarding adoption by precisely this person, to obtain findings and the consent of interested parties (parents, institutions in which the children lived, guardianship and trusteeship bodies, etc.).
Without such verification and preliminary work there is a great risk that the child could fall into the hands of fraudsters, persons who would not ensure the child’s rights and best interests, or human traffickers.
When the situation permits resumption of high-quality verification of documents of foreigners who are prospective adoptive parents and of the preliminary work required for the process of intercountry adoption, the Government of Ukraine will inform the public and competent authorities of foreign countries without delay about the terms and specifics of resuming intercountry adoption.
From the U.S. Department of State Office of Children’s Issues
March 14, 2022
UNITED WITH UKRAINE
How You Can Help
We understand many people want to help Ukraine and those suffering from ongoing Russian aggression. We strongly advise against U.S. citizens traveling to Ukraine. Please see the below resources on ways you can safely contribute.
To learn more about the crisis and how you can support the humanitarian needs of those impacted by the conflict, visit:
- The Department of State United with Ukraine website.
- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Ukraine crisis website.
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) website.
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appeal to help all children in Ukraine.
The Department has partnered with GoFundMe.org, an independent charity, to help address the humanitarian needs of the people affected by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. In addition, a variety of relief organizations are responding to the situation in Ukraine. Sending cash donations to experienced humanitarian relief organizations working on the ground is generally the most effective way to help and save the most lives. Below are organizations responding to the crisis.
The Child Mind Institute has prepared free trauma resources in Russian, Ukrainian, and English to assist parents, educators, and other adults in talking to children about traumatic events and identifying those who may benefit from professional attention.
CHILD PROTECTION PRINCIPLES IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY
We frequently receive inquiries from U.S. citizens concerned about refugee or conflict-affected children. We share these concerns for children, and we understand that some U.S. citizens want to respond by offering to adopt or host these children in need.
It can be extremely difficult during crises to determine whether children who appear to be orphans are truly eligible for adoption and immigration under U.S. laws. Children may be temporarily separated from their family, and their parents or other caregivers may be looking for them. Families may make the difficult choice to send children on their own in search of safety. Even when it can be demonstrated that a child’s parents are deceased, children are often cared for by other relatives and caregivers. During crises, many children who are not orphans temporarily live in orphanages for safety. Leaving orphanages may pose additional risks, including exploitation and abuse.
During crises, it can be exceptionally difficult to fulfill the legal and documentation requirements for intercountry adoption of both the United States and the child’s country of origin. We recommend taking extra caution when considering adopting a child during a crisis and hiring an experienced immigration attorney may also be helpful.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR CHILDREN IN CRISES
- UNICEF and the UN High Commissioner on Refugees joint statement on supporting children in crises.
- International Social Service fact sheet with guidance on the application of international standards for children in crises.
- National Council for Adoption’s statement on refugee children.
OTHER GLOBAL GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS ON BEST PRACTICES FOR UNACCOMPANIED AND SEPARATED CHILDREN
- Field Handbook on Unaccompanied and Separated Children
- Toolkit on Unaccompanied and Separated Children
- Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action
- Critical Considerations for Movement of Children During a Humanitarian Crisis
EVACUATION OF UKRAINIAN CHILDREN
Ukrainian authorities have jurisdiction over decisions regarding the safety and welfare of children in Ukraine, including whether to grant permission for children to exit the country. Ukrainian authorities have informed us they are moving children into Poland for safety and medical treatment. Child welfare and protection agencies that specialize in humanitarian crisis assistance, refugee issues, and family tracing are on the ground to assist and care for children who exit Ukraine.
INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION REGULATIONS
For more information specifically about adoption issues in the Ukraine crisis, please visit: Information for U.S. Citizens in the Process of Adopting Children from Ukraine.
Families who are currently in the process of adopting a child from Ukraine should direct questions and concerns to their accredited or approved Adoption Service Provider.
Some non-governmental organizations coordinate temporary hosting programs that have included exchanges with Ukrainian children in the past. However, Ukrainian authorities have confirmed they are not approving children for participation in hosting programs at this time. The Department is therefore unable to seek approval for a child’s participation in a hosting program at this time. Please see Ukraine Adoption Update for additional information.
Although often referred to as “orphan hosting” programs, those interested in hosting should be aware that many of the children who participate in these programs are not eligible for adoption. Children who travel to the United States for hosting programs do so with the Ukrainian government’s authorization and on a U.S. non-immigrant visa. The visa is typically valid only for one entry to the United States during the narrow date range of the program. A new visa is required before travelling to the United States again.
Previously-hosted children may apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside Ukraine. However, there is no “emergency hosting” visa category, and applicants must have permission from the appropriate guardian to travel and must meet the legal criteria for an existing category of non-immigrant visa, generally a B-2 visitor visa. Applications for nonimmigrant visas are evaluated under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and require an applicant to demonstrate sufficient ties to a county other than the United States that would compel departure after a temporary stay. Nonimmigrant visa applicants are “…presumed to be an immigrant until (s)he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer…that (s)he is entitled to nonimmigrant status…”. The presumption of immigration intent in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act can be difficult to overcome. Consular officers cannot issue visas based on assurances or recommendations by third parties or on the ability of a sponsor to provide financial support. Please see Visas for Ukrainian Nationals for additional information.
NCFA Free Webinar Next Week- Talking to those in the Adoption Community with Roots in Russia and Ukraine
From the National Council For Adoption:
As the crisis has unfolded in Ukraine, NCFA is aware that adopted individuals with roots in Ukraine and Russia, and their families, are grieving and grappling with how to process these events. Families who have adopted from Russia and Ukraine are impacted in a very real way by what is happening. In this free webinar, NCFA will moderate a panel, joined by several member agencies, to provide guidance and clinical expertise for navigating this challenging time. We will also provide resources for professionals and parents regarding talking with children about these events.
NCFA is pleased to be joined by:
Bill Porter, M. Ed., LPC-S- Bill is Director of Post Adoption and Client Services at the Gladney Center and he is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in the state of Texas. He has 26 years of experience in providing counseling, support and advocacy to at-risk children, youth and families. Bill joined the Gladney Family in 2013 and he spends most of his time leading his team in providing services to adoptees, birth families and adoptive families. Bill has been trained through the Trust-based Relational Intervention TBRI® at Texas Christian University.
Cindy Torchia LCSW, LCPAA- Cindy is CCAI’s Texas Branch Office Director. Cindy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked in adoption for twenty-years.
Rhonda Jarema, MA– Rhonda has worked as a counselor, advocate, and educator in the field of international adoptions since 1995. She has worked in many roles at Nightlight Christian Adoptions since 1998, currently as International Program Director in the California office. She has spoken at conferences, written articles and advocated for the adoption of school aged children. Most importantly, she is mom to 5 children adopted from Russia and 1 from Kyrgyzstan.
Daniel Stevens, LMS- Dan is the Executive Director of Family Connections. Dan has a Master in Social Work from Western New Mexico University, and bachelor’s in Political Science with a Concentration in Law and Justice from SUNY Cortland. Family Connections has been an integral part of Dan’s life since he was nine years old. Having an adoption agency founder as a mother has placed adoption social work as a foundation to his personality. While attending SUNY Cortland, he helped as an administrative assistant at Family Connections for two years before graduating. Before returning to Family Connections, he had other life experiences that have directed his path back to Social Work. Dan has completed Adoption Competency training with the Center for Adoption Support and Education.
Register for the free webinar here: https://adoptioncouncil.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_copIGXteRzyV4CgLr575gQ
March 9, 2022
The Office of Children’s Issues has received many inquiries from prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) at all stages of the adoption process in Ukraine who are understandably concerned about the safety of the children.
Many families have previously hosted the child they wish to adopt and hope to find a mechanism to bring the child to the United States until the crisis in Ukraine resolves. We are also hearing from hosting organizations and other humanitarian groups who seek information about how to bring Ukrainian children to the United States outside of the intercountry adoption process. Right now, the situation in Ukraine is fluid. We are in touch with Ukrainian authorities who have expressed concern about moving children out of Europe at this point. Our understanding is that children may depart Ukraine with their legal guardians, who are often the orphanage directors, if other required criteria are met. The Ukrainian government has confirmed they are not approving children to participate in host programs at this time and are taking measures to ensure their safety in neighboring countries.
We will continue to seek clarification
sfrom the Ukrainian government for how parents with final court approval and final orders of adoption may proceed. PAPs may find helpful Information for U.S. Citizens In the Process of Adopting in Ukraine on our website.
We are in close touch with the Ukrainian government which confirms that most children have already been evacuated to Poland and are receiving all appropriate care, including specialized medical treatment, as necessary.
We hope this confirmation that the Ukrainian government is monitoring the children’s safety and care will bring some relief to families seeking to adopt. We appreciate your assistance in sharing the Ukrainian government’s efforts with your clients who are in earlier stages of the process and to any concerned individuals or organizations that may consult with your agency.
The situation is evolving. We will continue to communicate with the Ukrainian government and will provide further updates as they become available.
Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Special Situations, Including the Invasion of Ukraine
From the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reminds the public that we offer immigration services that may help people affected by extreme situations, including the invasion of Ukraine.
The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:
- Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. If you fail to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission, we may excuse that if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
- Reparole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
- Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
- Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
- Expedited adjudication of petitions or applications, including employment authorization applications, when appropriate;
- Consideration of fee waiver requests due to an inability to pay;
- Flexibility for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;
- Flexibility if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;
- Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), Employment Authorization Document, or Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record; and
- Rescheduling a biometric services appointment.
Note: When you request help, please explain how the impact of the extreme situations or unforeseen circumstances, such as the invasion of Ukraine, created a need for the requested relief.
Visit our Special Situations page or call us for more information about how we assist individuals affected by extreme situations and unforeseen circumstances. To learn how to request these measures, call us at 800-375-5283. For people with disabilities: (TTY) 800-767-1833 or (VRS) 877-709-5797.
Please update your address with USCIS to ensure you receive all correspondence and benefits from us in a timely manner and avoid possible delays related to your case. To update your address with USCIS, visit our How to Change Your Address page. Please note that changing your address with the U.S. Postal Service will not change your address with USCIS.
Visit our Office Closings page to determine whether an office is open and to learn about rescheduling appointments. In particular, if your InfoPass appointment was affected by the unforeseen circumstances, you can reschedule your appointment online or by calling the USCIS Contact Center.
All Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, requirements remain in place. Those affected by unforeseen circumstances should visit I-9 Central for more information on how to complete Form I-9 if an employee’s documents are lost, stolen, or damaged.