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Help! I got a Notice of Intent to Deny my orphan visa. Now what?

It’s every adoptive parent’s nightmare.  They have obtained legal custody of a much longed for baby; filed the immigration work and are eagerly awaiting their little one’s arrival only to receive a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) on their I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

Here are some things you should consider if you have received a NOID.

  1. USCIS uses boiler plate NOIDs. Even if the NOID you received is pages long, chances are, it has been copied and pasted by the adjudicating officer from another NOID that the officer previously issued. Most NOIDs comprise of legal jargon that has nothing to do with your case. Even if the NOID seems insurmountable, there is a good chance that you can overcome the NOID and still have your child’s visa approved.
  2. Read the NOID carefully and determine what exactly it is that USCIS is looking for. In my experience, USCIS almost always wants proof that the child is really an orphan.
  3.  Do not respond to the NOID by re-submitting the documents that were filed with your I-600. If they didn’t work the first time, they won’t work when responding to a NOID either. You’ll need new evidence to support your case   
  4. If you cannot supply USCIS with the evidence it is requiring by the deadline established by the NOID, consider withdrawing the I-600 and re-filing when you have more evidence.
  5. HIRE A LAWYER!! A lawyer who routinely handles orphan cases from the country you wish to adopt from will know exactly what to do.  He or she will review the original petition to see if it is approvable and recommend a course of action to obtain a visa for your child.  You should contact a lawyer as soon as you receive the NOID so he or she has time to help you respond to USCIS. If the lawyer doesn’t know what to do at the time of the initial consultation- find another lawyer!
  6. If you responded to the NOID and your orphan visa was denied, all is not lost. Contact a lawyer to see what can be done.  I have seen lots of children ultimately come to the United States on orphan visas after their initial orphan visa was denied.
  7. Remember that receiving a NOID (or even a denial) is a problem BUT it is rarely a problem that cannot be solved. I find that most cases are resolved favorably if handled correctly.