Effect of USCIS Seoul Field Office Closure on South Korea Adoption Cases

Effect of Closure of USCIS Seoul Field Office on Forms I-600A and Forms I-600

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will close its Seoul (South Korea) Field Office to the public on August 17, 2019 [PDF version]. Thus, beginning on August 17, 2019, the USCIS Seoul Field Office will no longer accept or process new Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, or Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative petitions.

The USCIS notice explains how this will affect prospective adoptive parents whose cases were previously being handled at the Seoul Field Office. Going forward, individuals who previously filed their Form I-600 or Form I-600A with the Seoul Field Office will instead:

File Form I-600A applications and Form I-600 petitions with the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) via the appropriate Lockbox, and
Form I-600 petitions with the appropriate Embassy or consulate in the adoptive child's country of origin (if certain requirements are met).

Forms I-600 and I-600A Pending at the Time of the Closure of the Seoul Field Office

As a result of the USCIS's Seoul Field Office's impending closure, the Seoul Field Office may not be able to complete adjudication of pending Form I-600A applications and Form I-600 petitions. The Seoul Field Office will transfer applications and petitions pending on the date of its closure to the NBC, or, in the case of a Form I-600 petition filed on behalf of a child from South Korea, a consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. For transferred cases, the petitioner will be issued a Notice of Transfer letter, “including the transfer location, date of transfer, and information to confirm the status of the pending Form I-600A or Form I-600.”

Information About Form I-600 Petitions Processed at NBC on Behalf of a Child from the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with a Receipt Date Before or After August 23, 2019

The USCIS will require that any Form I-600 petition filed on behalf of a child from the Republic of Korean (ROK) (also known as South Korea) with the NBC via Lockbox with a receipt date after August 23, 2019, “must include evidence of a final adoption order issued by the ROK Family Court as required by the ROK Special Adoption Act (effective August 5, 2012).” If the NBC receives any such petitions without evidence of a final adoption order issued by the ROK Family Court, it will respond by issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) to the petitioner for evidence of the final adoption order.

After August 23, 2019, the NBC will only issue final approval of Form I-600 petitions filed with the NBC via a domestic Lockbox if the prospective adoptive parents have established that the prospective adoptive child qualifies as an orphan on the basis of a final adoption. “The NBC will send approved Form I-600 petitions through the National Visa Center to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul for completion of the Form I-604 determination and visa screening.

These changes only apply to petitions with a receipt date after August 23, 2019. Any Form I-600 petition filed on behalf of a child from South Korea before August 23, 2019, will follow the previous processing model.

Form I-600 petitions filed on behalf of a child from the ROK through a domestic Lockbox for NBC processing with receipt dates after August 23, 2019, must be accompanied by:

A legible, certified copy of the Adoption Decree and Certificate of Irrevocable Judgment; and
Evidence the single parent, or, if married, at least one parent, saw the child before or during the adoption proceedings in order to obtain an IR-3 classification for the child.

Starting on August 16, 2019, prospective adoptive parents may opt to file Form I-600 petitions directly with the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.


The closure of the Seoul Field Office comes as part of USCIS's effort to reduce its international footprint [see blog]. Those with case-specific questions about how the closure may affect pending or future adoption cases of children from South Korea should consult with their Adoption Service Provider and an experienced immigration attorney. We discuss intercountry adoption generally in our growing selection of articles on site [see category].