H1N1 Flu and Travel
The CCAA is issuing referrals and travel approvals as usual, but the H1N1 flu has had an impact on adoption travel. Concerned that the flu could spread from families to adoption officials and into the orphanages, several provinces declined to schedule adoption appointments, which meant that some families with travel approval could not travel. Most provinces have opened by now, but it is unclear how long this caution will last and what influence it will have on travel. Most travel scheduling is proceeding normally, and Holt is in touch with the provincial officials in each province to follow developments so we can keep all families up-to-date if developments affect their adoption trips. Read more…
The Hague Process: I-800
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, also known as ‘The Hague’, is the first agreement governing international adoption practices among participants, including the People’s Republic of China and the United States. The Hague imposes new requirements on adoptive families, but it improves safeguards for children in need of families.
The Hague system is new, so processing procedures and average times are still evolving. The primary effect of this process is that it takes longer to get travel approval. All families, those under the I-600 and Hague systems, receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) which they sign and return to Holt. Holt then sends the LOA for I-600 families to the CCAA, and in about a month Holt gets travel approval for the family.
Families in the Hague system return their LOA to Holt and also send a copy with the application for their I-800 Provisional Clearance, which is issued about two or three weeks later. After receiving the I-800 clearance, Holt forwards it and other paperwork to the US Consulate in Guangzhou. The Consulate processes and returns the forms to our Guangzhou office within about four weeks. Our staff then sends them to the CCAA, who issues travel approval about a month later. Based on this current experience, it takes six to eight weeks longer to get travel approval than under the I-600 system. After travel approval, arrival in China under both systems is about three weeks later.
Beginning July 1st, all children between the ages of two and fourteen must have a tuberculin skin test in addition to the standard check-up before receiving their US entry visa. The Consulate does not require that testing be done in Guangzhou, but testing done in the provinces must meet certain conditions.
If the test is positive, a chest X-ray is required and based on the results of all procedures an approved physician will determine the appropriate classification of tuberculosis, if any. If appropriate, the Consulate may require further testing and treatment before they will issue a visa.
If testing is required and a suitable facility is available in the province, Holt will make the necessary arrangements and assist families with meeting their obligations. If you are adopting a child for whom testing is required, we do not expect this requirement to add time to your trip but if a suitable provincial facility is not available or further testing is necessary, your US return date may change. As for all travel, we advise knowing how to change your return ticket and how much it costs in case your return trip is delayed.
As we gain experience with satisfying these new requirements, we will keep you informed, but, in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions.
Travel Coordinator, China
For health and travel information, please visit the following websites:
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cdc.gov/
Word Health Organization (WHO) http://www.who.int/en/
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) tsa.gov/.