Adopting from Panama
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the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). To learn more please read About Panama.
Hague Convention Information
Panama is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, all intercountry adoptions between Panama and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention. To learn more please read about Panama and the Hague Convention.
Who Can Adopt
Adoption between the United States and Panama is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Panama, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more. To learn more please read about Who Can Adopt from Panama.
Who Can Be Adopted
Because Panama is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Panama must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. In accordance with the Convention, the Central Authority of Panama determines whether possibilities for placement of the child in Panama have been given due consideration. In addition to Panama's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. To learn more please read about Who Can Be Adopted from Panama.
How to Adopt
Because Panama is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Panama must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.
NOTE: If you filed your I-600A with Panama before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more.
- Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
- Adopt the Child in Panama
- Bring your Child Home
To learn more about this process please read How to Adopt from Panama.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Panama. 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 Panama.
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 Panama
Secretaria Nacional de la Niñez, Adolescencia y Familia (SENNIAF) Plaza Edison Avenida Ricardo J. Alfaro Segundo Piso Panama City, Panama Tel: 500-6079 Fax: 500-6075 Internet: Panama's Adoption Authority
Embassy of Panama
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)