Adopting from Nicaragua
The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. To learn more please read About Nicaragua.
Hague Convention Information
Nicaragua is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Nicaragua did not change. To learn more please read about Nicaragua and the Hague Convention.
Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Nicaragua, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To learn more please read about Who Can Adopt from Nicaragua.
Who Can Be Adopted
Nicaragua has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. Generally, the child must not have living parent(s) or extended family members willing to provide care. For example, if a child is living with an aunt and uncle, no matter how dire the financial situation, that child is not an orphan under Nicaraguan law and may not be an orphan under U.S. law either. Please contact Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family should you require more details on what qualifies a child as an orphan under Nicaraguan law. In addition to Nicaraguan requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her to the United States.
Under Nicaraguan law, adoptions must be completed before the child turns 15 years old. However, if the child has been under the care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least three years the adoption can be completed up until the time the child turns 21.
How to Adopt
Ministry of the Family (MiFamilia) - their guidelines (Spanish)
Adoption Law (Ley de Adopción) - guiding document (Spanish)
The process for adopting a child from Nicaragua generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): file an I-600A
- Be matched with a child
- Adopt the child in Nicaragua (expected time frame in country: 12-18 months)
- Apply to find your child eligible for adoption: I-600
- Apply at the U.S. Embassy in Managua for your child's immigrant visa
To learn more about this process please read How to Adopt from Nicaragua.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Nicaragua. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Getting or renewing a passport is easy. To learn more please read about Traveling Abroad in Nicaragua.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua - Consular Section
Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur Tel: 011 (505) 2252-7888 Fax: 011 (505) 2252-7304 Email: ManaguaConsularIV@state.gov ConsularManagua@state.gov
Ministry of the Family (MiFamilia) De ENEL Central, 100 mts. Al Sur, Managua Tel: 011 (505) 2270-2644 011 (505) 2278-1620 011 (505) 2278-5637 Website: Nicaragua Adoption Authority
Embassy of Nicaragua in the United States
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) For questions about immigration procedures, contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).