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  • News: DOS Publishes Final Rule on Visa Documentation of Immigrants under INA

    Federal Register, Volume 78 Issue 106 (Monday, June 3, 2013)
    [Federal Register Volume 78, Number 106 (Monday, June 3, 2013)]
    [Rules and Regulations]
    [Pages 32989-32990]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 2013-13065]
    
    
    
    [[Page 32989]]
    
    =======================================================================
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE
    
    22 CFR Part 42
    
    [Public Notice 8345]
    RIN 1400-AC86
    
    
    Visas: Documentation of Immigrants under the Immigration and 
    Nationality Act, as Amended
    
    AGENCY: Department of State.
    
    ACTION: Final rule.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    SUMMARY: This rule amends the Department of State's regulations 
    relating to adoptions in countries party to the Hague Convention on the 
    Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry 
    Adoption to include a new adoption provision from the International 
    Adoption Simplification Act. The legislation provides for sibling 
    adoption to include certain children who are under the age of 18 at the 
    time the petition for immediate relative is filed on their behalf, and 
    also certain children who attained the age of 18 on or after April 1, 
    2008 and who are the beneficiaries of a petition filed on or before 
    November 30, 2012.
    
    DATES: This rule iseffective June 3, 2013.
    
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor W. Beaumont, Legislation and 
    Regulations Division, Legal Affairs, Office of Visa Services, Bureau of 
    Consular Affairs, Department of State, 2401 E Street NW., Room L-603D, 
    Washington, DC 20520-0106, (202) 663-2951, email 
    (BeaumontTW@state.gov).
    
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    
    Background
    
        As used in this public notice, the term ``Convention'' means The 
    Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect 
    of Intercountry Adoption; the term ``Convention country'' means a 
    country that is a party to the Convention and with which the Convention 
    is in force for the United States; and the term ``IASA'' means the 
    International Adoption Simplification Act, Public Law 111-287 (2010).
        On November 30, 2010, the President signed the IASA, modifying the 
    Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) regarding adoptions from 
    Convention countries. Among other changes, the IASA creates a new 
    section in INA section 101(b)(1)(G)(iii) under which U.S. citizens may 
    file an immediate relative petition for a child younger than 18 from a 
    Convention country, provided that the child is the natural sibling of a 
    child concurrently or already adopted or being brought to the United 
    States for adoption under INA section 101(b)(1)(E)(i), (F)(i), or 
    (G)(i). To be eligible under INA section 101(b)(1)(G)(iii), a child 
    must be adopted abroad, or be coming to the United States for adoption, 
    by the adoptive parent(s) or prospective adoptive parent(s) of his/her 
    natural sibling. In addition, the child must be otherwise qualified as 
    a Convention adoptee under INA section 101(b)(1)(G)(i), except that the 
    child is under 18 years of age rather than under 16 years of age (which 
    would be required for classification under INA section 
    101(b)(1)(G)(i)).
        The IASA also contains an exception at section 4(b) that 
    necessitates a revision of the Department regulation published in 22 
    CFR 42.24. Under that section, an alien older than 18 years of age 
    nonetheless may be classified as a child under INA section 
    101(b)(1)(G)(iii) if he or she turned 18 years of age on or after April 
    1, 2008 and his or her immediate relative petition is filed no later 
    than November 30, 2012. As currently written, the Department's 
    regulations pertaining to INA section 101(b)(1)(G) exclusively cover 
    those children whose adoptions will be governed by the Convention. 
    Although aliens qualified under section 4(b) of the IASA will be 
    emigrating from a Convention country, the Convention only governs the 
    adoption of children under the age of 18. This rule is necessary to 
    change Department regulations to cover aliens properly qualified under 
    section 4(b) of the IASA.
    
    Discussion of Comments on the Proposed Rule
    
        The Department of State published an interim final rule on November 
    1, 2011, with a 30-day comment period that expired on December 1, 2011 
    (76 FR 67361). In response, the Department received one comment 
    relative to the proposed rule that supported the changes proposed in 
    this rulemaking as an effort to reunite siblings and families that may 
    be separated as a result of intercountry adoptions.
    
    Summary of the Final Regulation
    
        This final rule establishes new procedures that consular officers 
    will follow in allowing U.S. parents to file an immediate relative 
    petition for a child who is younger than 18 years of age (or who 
    attained the age of 18 on or after April 1, 2008 if the petition is 
    filed for such child on or before November 30, 2012) who is the natural 
    sibling of a child already adopted by the same U.S. citizen parent. The 
    Department published an interim final rule on November 1, 2011 and, 
    after reviewing the comment, is issuing the rule as final with one 
    change that clarifies which foreign government authority may be 
    considered as the ``competent authority'' in IASA adoptions for 
    purposes of INA section 101(b)(1)(G)(i)(V)(aa).
    
    Regulatory Findings
    
    A. Administrative Procedure Act
    
        In accordance with provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act 
    governing rules promulgated by federal agencies that affect the public 
    (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department published a proposed rule and invited 
    public comment.
    
    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act/Executive Order 13272: Small Business
    
        Consistent with section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 
    U.S.C. 605(b)), the Department certifies that this rule will not have a 
    significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
    This final rule regulates individual aliens who seek immigrant visas 
    and does not affect any small entities, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
    
    C. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    
        Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UFMA), 
    Public Law 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, 2 U.S.C. 1532, generally requires 
    agencies to prepare a statement before proposing any rule that may 
    result in an annual expenditure of $100 million or more by State, 
    local, or tribal governments, or by the private sector. This rule would 
    not result in any such expenditure, nor would it significantly or 
    uniquely affect small governments.
    
    D. The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996
    
        This rule is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804, for 
    purposes of congressional review of agency rulemaking under the Small 
    Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, Public Law 104-
    121. This rule would not result in an annual effect on the economy of 
    $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or 
    significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, 
    productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based 
    companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and 
    export markets.
    
    E. Executive Order 12866
    
        The Department of State does not consider this rule to be a 
    ``significant regulatory action'' within the scope of section 3(f)(1) 
    of Executive Order 12866.
    
    [[Page 32990]]
    
    Nonetheless, the Department has reviewed the rule to ensure its 
    consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in 
    the Executive Order.
    
    F. Executive Order 13563
    
        The Department of State has considered this rule in light of 
    Executive Order 13563 and affirms that this regulation is consistent 
    with the guidance therein.
    
    G. Executive Orders 12372 and 13132: Federalism
    
        This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
    States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
    States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
    various levels of government. Nor will the rule have federalism 
    implications warranting the application of Executive Orders 12372 and 
    13132.
    
    H. Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform
    
        The Department has reviewed the regulations in light of sections 
    3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order No. 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, 
    minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and reduce 
    burden.
    
    I. Executive Order 13175
    
        The Department of State has determined that this rulemaking will 
    not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct 
    compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not pre-empt 
    tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of Executive Order 13175 does 
    not apply to this rulemaking.
    
    J. Paperwork Reduction Act
    
        This rule does not impose information collection requirements under 
    the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C., Chapter 35.
    
    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 42
    
        Aliens, Foreign officials, Immigration, Passports and visas.
    
        Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, the interim 
    rule published November 1, 2011, at 76 FR 67363, is adopted as final 
    with the following change:
    
    PART 42--VISAS: DOCUMENTATION OF IMMIGRANTS UNDER THE IMMIGRATION 
    AND NATIONALITY ACT, AS AMENDED
    
    0
    1. The authority citation for section 42 is amended to read as follows:
    
        Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1104 and 1182; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 108-
    449; 112 Stat. 2681-795 through 2681-801; The Convention on 
    Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry 
    Adoption (done at the Hague, May 29, 1993), S. Treaty Doc. 105-51 
    (1998), 1870 U.N.T.S. 167 (Reg. No. 31922 (1993)); The Intercountry 
    Adoption Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. 14901-14954, Pub. L. 106-279; The 
    International Adoption Simplification Act, Pub. L. 111-287; 8 U.S.C. 
    1101, 124 Stat. 3058.
    
    
    0
    2. Section 42.24 is amended by revising paragraph (n)(2) to read as 
    follows:
    
    
    Sec.  42.24  Adoption under the Hague Convention on Protection of 
    Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and the 
    Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.
    
    * * * * *
        (n) * * *
        (2) For any alien described in paragraph (n)(1) of this section, 
    the ``competent authority'' referred to in INA section 
    101(b)(1)(G)(i)(V)(aa) is a court or governmental agency of a foreign 
    country of origin having jurisdiction and authority to make decisions 
    in matters of child welfare, including adoption. If the competent 
    authority over matters of child welfare no longer has jurisdiction or 
    authority over the alien due to his or her age, then the passport 
    issuing authority of the country of origin may be considered the 
    competent authority for the purposes of INA section 
    101(b)(1)(G)(i)(V)(aa).
    
        Dated: May 2, 2013.
    Janice L. Jacobs,
    Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2013-13065 Filed 5-31-13; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 4710-06-P
    
    
    
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