Adam Walsh Child Protection Act


The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act prohibits U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who been convicted of any “specified offense against a minor” from filing a family-based immigrant petition on behalf of any beneficiary, such as a spouse, fiancé, minor children, unmarried son or daughter, and parents unless the Secretary of Homeland Security determines, in his sole and unreviewable discretion, that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary.

For cases that fall under the Adam Walsh Act, it is recommended to have the help of a qualified immigration lawyer as early on in the case as possible.


The Act applies to family-based petitions pending and/or filed after July 27, 2006. It is intended to protect minors from sexual crimes.

The term “specified offense against a minor” includes:

  • Kidnapping;
  • False Imprisonment;
  • Solicitation to engage in sexual conduct;
  • Use in sexual performance;
  • Solicitation to practice prostitution;
  • Video voyeurism (use of a webcam to watch children)
  • Possession, production, or distribution of child pornography;
  • Criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the internet to facilitate, or attempt such conduct; and
  • Any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.

If at any time during the background check of the petitioner, USCIS becomes aware that the petitioner has a conviction for a specified offense against a minor, USCIS will typically send a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). Approved petitions can also be revoked.

If a petitioner has a record that would implicate the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, it is best to meet with an immigration attorney before submitting anything to immigration.

The petition must include evidence of rehabilitation and other evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary. This evidence includes but is not limited to:

  • Certified records showing successful completion of counseling or rehabilitative programs;
  • Certified evaluations by qualified mental health professionals;
  • Evidence of positive contributions to the community;
  • Certified copies of arrests and charging documents;
  • Affidavits from friends, family, and the beneficiary.

Unless the adjudicator can conclude, based on the evidence, that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary, the adjudicator must deny the petition.


Individuals with cases that implicate the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act should obtain legal counsel before any applications are submitted to USCIS. Meeting with a lawyer will allow you to know all of your options and will save you money in the long run. Although these cases are challenging, a well-prepared petition filed by a qualified immigration attorney will provide the best chance of success.

The Lyttle Law Firm can give you and your family the peace of mind you need in undertaking this type of petition. An immigration attorney can review and explain all the legal requirements, help individuals to establish or obtain the appropriate documentation needed to demonstrate that requirements are met, and assist in filling out and filing the necessary paperwork with the appropriate USCIS office. An immigration attorney can also advise individuals when they may not or should not apply for immigration benefits. If you need the assistance of a competent immigration attorney to handle a case that implicates the Adam Walsh Act, please call the Lyttle Law Firm for a consultation.