Many US families are now adopting children from overseas. While the adoption process is always complex, it is even more complex when the child being adopted is from overseas. In addition to meeting all the adoption requirements and completing the adoption documentation in the child’s home country, US parents adopting a child from overseas must also arrange to have the child enter the US and acquire US documentation to live legally in this country. The USCIS has acknowledged the importance of adoption and has made the process somewhat easier for families. One example of this is USCIS Form DS-1981 (Affidavit for Exemption from Immigration Requirements for a Foreign Adopted Child).
When most people immigrate or move to the United States, they need to prove that they are in general good health and have had all the vaccinations required by law in the US. For example, most immigrants need to be able to show that they have had tuberculosis vaccines. These vaccine requirements ensure that the general population of the US is not exposed unduly to contagious diseases. The requirements also ensure that everyone entering the US is healthy and can participate fully in life in the US.
However, in the case of children being adopted overseas, parents can file immigration form DS1981 in order to exempt their adopted children from these vaccine requirements. This simplifies the adoption process and is in fact often necessary. Children in other countries may have different vaccination requirements, for example, and in some cases, it can be hard for adoptive parents to verify what vaccines an adopted child has had. Since adopted children will be living in the US, however, and getting medical care in the US, there is little concern about vaccines against communicable diseases.
Since the children will be getting medical treatment in the US, they do not generally pose a significant risk to the general population. For this reason, parents can file DS 1981 in order to exempt their adoptive child from these requirements and in order to simplify the process of adoption. Once USCIS Form DS-1981 (Affidavit for Exemption from Immigration Requirements for a Foreign Adopted Child) is approved, the immigration and adoption process can continue, without delays for vaccines or vaccine confirmation. Filing immigration form DS1981 is simple. The form itself is one page long and requires no filing fee.