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Dossier and Additional Steps for International Adoptions

Kathryn Patricelli, MA

The application and home study process is slightly more complicated when the contemplated adoption is international rather than domestic. One of the first steps in the international adoption process is for the adoptive parents to submit form I-600A to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), asking for permission to adopt an international orphan. Submission of this form requires a criminal fingerprint check and payment of fees for a total cost of several hundred dollars. In addition to the fingerprint check, the BCIS will also review the home study report completed by the social worker. They will then issue a determination of approval or denial, separate from the adoption agency. If the BCIS disapproves the application, the entire process is halted.

When adoptive parents gain approval to adopt internationally from the BCIS, they must then prepare a dossier. The dossier packet is similar to the autobiographical profile the adoptive family would create in the case of domestic adoption, but also includes specific legal and other requirements that must be satisfied. The family will have to gather and submit birth and marriage certificates, any previous divorce decrees, financial statements, employment statements, and medical information and files before the dossier is considered complete for review. The home study documents are added to this dossier, and the BCIS will further add a Certificate of Permission to Adopt Internationally when they approve the application. Additional materials may be required as well, based on the individual requirements of the country with which the adoptive parents will be working.