Lifeline is committed to provide timely and accurate information to all of our families in regard to the current situation in Uganda.
In light of a release yesterday by the US State Department (See Below) Lifeline desires to direct you to our Uganda Update post on 2/5/10 in which the Vice Consular gave the following three options in regard to our families:
(1) Request that the PAPs attorney ask the judge to put language in the adoption order that says the PAP will be allowed to travel to the U.S. to adopt the Uganda child and that that child may change citizenship, or at the minimum state that the PAP may "fix the abode" of the child. This would allow the Embassy to process IR4 immigrant visas which may require clarification from the Government of Uganda (GoU) regarding the effect of the guardianship order. GoU may well tell the US Embassy that the guardianship order does not permit emigration and adoption abroad and therefore the child will not be eligible for an IR4.
(2) IR3 which would require the PAP to seek and obtain a full and final adoption. This will require that the PAP coordinate with local attorneys regarding Ugandan law.
(3) File the petition with the US Embassy as per usual. They will consider it "not clearly approvable" and forward it to USCIS in Nairobi. This will delay the process and there is no guarantee that USCIS will return with a favorable response.
It may be likely that all U.S. PAPs may have to obtain a full and final adoption in order to obtain an immigrant IR-4 visa. When our Embassy has more information from the Government of Uganda, we will be sure to inform PAPs.There has never been a real concern that "adoption" cases have ceased, but many individuals have mistakenly interchange the two terms; however, the process for each is significantly different. The only process in question is "legal guardianship".
The US Embassy has confirmed that if the judge will put language in his order that states, the PAP is allowed to take the child to the US for the purpose of adoption or that the family may change the child's abode, the Embassy will comply with the issuance of a visa.
The difficulty still remains in securing a judge that will write the specific language into the order for legal guardianship without the High Court ruling on the matter. Lifeline's attorney is working to establish a secure path for our families that will not unnecessarily delay the process and until he has done so there will be a delay in securing court and travel dates so as to not cause families undue time in country.
We are hopeful to have more clarification in the next several business days. The US State Department Notice is printed in full below:
Uganda Adoption Notice
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
Status of Adoptions from Uganda
February 17, 2010
Contrary to rumors that have been circulating, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala has NOT ceased processing adoption cases, but legal complications in Uganda have arisen that are likely to cause significant delays in the processing of most adoption cases.
On February 3, 2010 The Honorable Lady Justice Margaret C. Oguli Oumo, Family Court Judge, informed the U.S. Embassy in Kampala that legal guardianship orders issued by the High Court of Uganda are issued with the understanding that United States citizens will not adopt Ugandan children in the United States and that the Ugandan children will not change their citizenship.
A key requirement of IR-4 immigrant visa eligibility is that the prospective adoptive parent(s) (PAPs) obtain legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption abroad. Guardianship orders that merely permit the guardians to travel with the child outside of Uganda and do not permit the guardians to fix the abode of the child may not meet the requirements of U.S. immigration law for the purpose of IR-4 visa issuance.
If there is a doubt as to the meaning of a custody order, consular officers must seek clarification from appropriate government authorities. If the consular officer ultimately determines the order to be sufficient to meet the requirements for IR-4 visa issuance, the case can be processed to conclusion. If the consular officer determines the order to be insufficient, the embassy is required to submit the I-600 petition to USCIS for review. (If the I-600 was locally filed it would go to the USCIS office with jurisdiction as not clearly approvable; if it was approved in the United States it would be returned through the National Visa Center to the USCIS office in the United States that originally approved the petition.
Lifeline Children’s Services