Created May 2010

I was in the process of adopting a child in Haiti before the earthquake.  Can I bring the child to the United States right now?

Yes, you can bring children to the US, whom you were already in the process of adopting when the earthquake hit Haiti..  The federal government encourages U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti to send detailed information about your case to [email protected].  If any information or documents are missing or needed, USCIS will contact you directly.

If USCIS decides to give your child “humanitarian parole”, USCIS will notify you

You or Haitian parents or both?

.  Once the child has been approved for humanitarian parole, parents in the U.S. or in Haiti, may schedule appointment for the child to get a “parole letter”.   The parole letter is the document your child needs to be able to live in the United States legally. After your child is documented for humanitarian parole, the US Embassy will seek the mandatory

Which part is mandatory the seeking or the authorizing? Authorization for the Haitian government

authorization from the Haitian Government for the child you are adopting to be able to leave Haiti.  Once the US Embassy  has  seen the parole letter and gets authorization from the Haitian government, it will arrange After the Embassy sees/has a copy of… the- parole letter and authorization for your child to leave Haiti, it will arrange a flight for your child.


The Haitian Government must give authorization before any child, including those approved for humanitarian parole, may leave Haiti.

Sources:  Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues // and USCIS Orphan Screening Guidance and Q & A

Can I get an extra visa to bring more people from Haiti, if I adopt one evacuated child affected by the quake?

No.  The US federal government may allow Haitian nationals to bring children who are being adopted to the United States, but you will not get any extra visas for adopting a child.   

Source:  Department of State //

I know of children in Haiti who are hungry and homeless.  Can I adopt them and bring them to the United States right now?

No.   The process for adopting a Haitian child has not changed.  You need approval from the United States government and the Haitian government before you can adopt a child in Haiti.  Right now, the Haitian government has stopped accepting new adoption applications. The United States is not issuing travel visas for Haitian children, who were not already in the adoption process.

If you want to adopt, you can start the process now so that you have everything in place when Haiti begins accepting new adoption applications.  Visit the State Department’s website on how to adopt in Haiti: // or USCIS’s website. 

Sources:  Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues // and USCIS‘s Guide on How to Immigrant an Adopted or Prospective Adopted Child // el%20(Left%20Nav%20Children)/Resources-3rd%20level/How%20Do%20I%20Guides/A3en.pdf

Is there anything else I can do for the children I know are hungry and homeless?

Yes.  You can donate to the relief organizations that deliver food and  supplies to children. 

You can also make sure that children who will be adopted have been properly identified as orphans.  The United States is working together with UNICEF and other relief organizations in Haiti. They are delivering needed supplies to Haiti’s orphanages and helping other “unaccompanied children”. “Unaccompanied children” are children who seem to have no adult caretaker.  UNICEF is starting the process of registering unaccompanied children. UNICEF is trying to unite these children with their relatives. If you have information about an orphan, please contact UNICEF in Haiti at [email protected] or the Red Cross //

Source:  UNICEF and USCIS

Can I just pick up the children in Haiti, bring them back to the United States and adopt them later?

No.  You still have to go through the regular adoption process.  You cannot bypass this process.  Elected officials cannot help bypass this process. Taking a child out of Haiti without authorization from the Haitian government is a violation of Haitian law. It may be considered child trafficking and/or kidnapping. You may be arrested and prosecuted for as criminal if you break the law.   You may also never be able to adopt a child legally.  Since the earthquake Haitian officials have already arrested US citizens who tried to leave Haiti with children who did not have the right documents. 

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo will not document any Haitian child for onward travel to the United States unless they see proof that the child:

  1. has entered the Dominican Republic legally, and
  2. has been approved for humanitarian parole by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and
  3. has authorization from the Government of Haiti to leave Haiti and travel onward to the United States.
Sources:  Department of State // and Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues //

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Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.


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