Croatia and the Hague Convention

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Croatia is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with [ 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3] as it relates to orphans as defined under the [ Immigration and Nationality Act], Section 101(b)(1)(F).

The Department has received limited adoption information from the adoption authority of Croatia. U.S. citizens adopting children from Croatia is unusual. U.S. citizens wishing to adopt in Croatia, as well as prospective U.S. citizen adoptive parents living in Croatia who would like to adopt from the United States or from a third country, should contact the adoption authority of Croatia to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. See contact information below.

According to Croatian law, foreign citizens not also possessing Croatian citizenship may only adopt children from Croatia with Ministry of Social Policy and Youth approval and if the Ministry determines that the adoption is in the best interests of the child. Croatian regulations including age limits that adopting parent(s) must be between 21 and 35 years of age and at least 18 years older than the prospective adoptive child. The U.S. Embassy recommends directly contacting the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, or a Croatian attorney specializing in adoptions, for further information.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely would have relinquished their parental rights or consent to their children’s adoption.

Please visit the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for more information on travelling to Croatia and the U.S. Embassy Zagreb’s website for information on consular services.

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