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VipperDigger

Adoption in Philippines

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My fiancé is adopting her niece. We have several issues around this. We had the adoption in process for about one year with the court system. However she turns 16 in 12 days. We been told that in order for her to come over on k1/k2 that she must be adopted prior to 16. Her birth certificate states she will be 16 however the mid-wife put down wrong birth year when filing for birth certificate and she will actually be 15. We have to change her birth certificate also now, a daunting task at best.

1: So, anyone know if a Filipno child must be adopted prior to 16 to come over with fiance visa or can she be up to age 21 as per immigration guidelines?

2: If we go ahead and file without her on our k1, will that stop her being able to come over at a later date on her own k2 when my fiancé gets her green card? We have actually already postponed out k1 for a year waiting on the adoption process but now it appears a year wasted...

Any advice?

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*** Country-specific thread moved from K-1 Process forum to the Philippines regional subforum. ***


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Where to start?

It sounds like you have not had any competent legal advice.

I presume it is possible for the adoption to take place in PI, and if your GF wishes to do that then that is a separate issue as to whether it will give her niece any US immigration benefits.

Amending the birth certificate conveniently well send the red flags flying big time.

Does your GF have custody, if so for how long?

Where are the Parents? Deceased?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Boiler, no we both consulted lawyers, she herself had an adoption lawyer for almost a year handling the adoption.. However finding answers about adoption age we are getting mixed answers... The adoption lawyer know adoptions, the Visa lawyers know Visa but not about adoptions it seems.. That appears to be a grey area. Some forums report also the mixed info too...

Our case is an unique one, where she is being adopted at so close to age 16 and the visa process is getting ready to start so few examples exist for us to find a like case. My American lawyer doesn't think it will be a problem until age 21, where her adoption lawyer in Philippines thinks age 16 is the cut off..

As far as parents the father is unknown and could never be located. The mother, my GF sister, was running a wild streak and left the baby with her parents and GF when the niece was 3 days old. IT fell upon my GF duties to raise the child. So my GF has raised this child basically since birth until now, supporting her for all her needs, however she lives in Dubai UAE and therefore she is not physically in the Philippines. This is why we are going the Philippines way of adoption, not the international adoption where the Hagg International Laws come into place with adoptions. We understand there should not be an issue with the Philippine courts nor any family member for the adoption.. She calls my GF her Mom, however she also knows her Bio mom. The bio mom has given approval to the courts to adopt her.

I don't undertand your statement "if your GF wishes to do that then that is a separate issue as to whether it will give her niece any US immigration benefits." because she would legally be my GF daughter at the point of adoption and gain all legal rights afforded any child of a K1 parent and she would have full rights to a K2 visa when we apply for our K1, but it the age of 16 being a cut off place is our question. If she had adopted a year earlier then this would not even be a question, she would just simply be listed on our K1, but because the adoption takes place after niece turns 16 is the only problem...

We did discuss if an amended birth cert would raise red flags and we have physical proof the cert is wrong and we would only be correcting it, (plus gaining the year so she will be adopted at age 15) but how the embassy will view it or not is the problem. These visas are granted by people with human emotions and not always based on logic or rules.

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There are Immigration Lawyers familiar with the adoption process.

Sounds like your one is not. So I would start by seeking advice from one who is.

I have seen many similar posts usually involving PI where adoption is considered as a route to bringing other family members as well.

I do not remember seeing a K2 scenario, however the usual definition requires the adoption to take place before the age of 16 and the child to have been in the custody of the adoptive parent for at least 2 years. If a child was say over 16 it may be quite possible to still adopt but the child gets no immigration benefits to the US.

From a practical point of view what difference does it make if your GF lives in the Middle East or US? Seemingly has not been an issue so far.

Edited by Boiler

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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That's pretty old to adopt, like Boiler said it may look like a way around the system. I've talked to my wife about doing an adoption there also but don't want to be stuck waiting for a year. She made it sound like with money in the Philippines you can speed up the process just like everything else there. I wish you the best, I think it's easier adjusting with more family.

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She made it sound like with money in the Philippines you can speed up the process just like everything else there.

The whole justice system seems to be run on the greased palm it seems. She however is of strong moral backbone and will not do such. She feels it is one of those things where "no good comes from ill gotten gains" I guess. The particular Judge we have works only 2 days a week, one for criminal, one for civil, thus it runs at a snail’s pace. From day one I stressed time was important and her opinion is all this is under Gods hand, we have prayed about it and need to leave it with Him about what is best.

As far as kids, I already have 4 (1 grown and 3 live with me part time) and she has no kids at all, so adjustment will be on acceptance of her as my wife. I will say my kids will accept her a lot quicker than they will the jerk my ex married..... :-) I know her heart and she will take them in like her own and overlook the differences (large families that live under the same roof as most Filipino’s do have to overlook a lot or would go insane) she may have. I have also involved her with the issues we currently have in my family so she is aware of what she is getting into and can make a decision if she can accept my kids and the troubles they are having...

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I do not remember seeing a K2 scenario, however the usual definition requires the adoption to take place before the age of 16 and the child to have been in the custody of the adoptive parent for at least 2 years. If a child was say over 16 it may be quite possible to still adopt but the child gets no immigration benefits to the US.

Hagg international adoption laws does state the parent has to be in local custody for 2 years prior to adopt them, however nothing I can find in Filipino law states this,,, The niece has lived either with my GF parents or my GF sister (not bio mom) since birth and my GF has been the one making all major decisions and basically the person where the buck stops, but she has not been in the Philippines, thus why we are going through Philippine courts to adopt her. So far the lawyer has not indicated any issues stopping the adoption process (she has the means of financial support, has been a presence in her life, been the one she goes to for Mom issues, Bio mom gives approval, etc....) so we seem to be on track for it to be approved...

Also my understanding is there is nothing in embassy rules stopping the visa other than the age of 16 time frames, but that is just so far hearsay, I can not find a written fact where that is...

That is what I wished somebody could point out the laws about this and so far there is nothing I can find, but I am not a lawyer either. All I can find is on the US Immigration site the age is age 21.

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I am assuming she can adopt in PI. I have no idea what their requirements are but they seem fairly loose judging from other threads I have read.

Who has legal custody now?

The under 16, 2 year requirement is a US thing, lots of info if you google US adoption. Admittedly much of it is confusing.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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For an adoption to be used to gain immigration it must occur before the chld is 16 exceppt when the child is part of a sibling group adopted together.

Immediate Relative Process

If your child does not meet the requirements for the Hague or the non- Hague adoption processes, you may still be able to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on his or her behalf as the adopted child of a United States Citizen. Parents must accrue two years of legal and physical custody and obtain a full, final adoption of the child to be eligible to file an I-130. Legal and physical custody can be accrued at one stretch of time or cumulatively over several periods. They can also be accrued before, during and after the adoption. The two years must be accrued BEFORE you file Form I-130. Also, the adoption must be finalized before your child’s 16th birthday (or 18th birthday if they are a biological sibling of a child you have already adopted or will adopt). Your child will receive an IR-2 immigrant visa if he or she is found eligible.


This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this.

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Being able to file an I 130 is a long way away.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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