How to Adopt from Albania
The government office responsible for adoptions in Albania is the Albanian Adoption Committee. Individuals may not deal directly with the Albanian Adoption Committee or with individual orphanages or biological parents
Because Albania is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Albania 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 Albania 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 (SEE BELOW)
- 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 Albania
- Bringing your Child Home
1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
The first step in adopting a child from Albania is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Albania. Learn more.
Bethany Christian Services 901 Eastern Avenue, NE Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-1295 Tel: (616) 459-6273 Fax: (616) 459-0343
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Albania. Albania's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Albania's law.
3. Be Matched with a Child
If both the United States and Albania determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Albania may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
The Albanian child must have a certificate from the Albanian Adoption Committee stating that s/he is adoptable. This means that the child has been in an orphanage for at least six months with no contact from his/her biological parents, and that the orphanage has been unsuccessful in placing the child with an Albanian family. The prospective adoptive parents may not go to an orphanage to select a child without authorization from the Albanian Adoption Committee. (Authorized local adoption agencies, i.e. International Children's Alliance, or Bethany Christian Services, can contact the Albanian Adoption Committee to obtain authorization for the prospective adoptive parents to visit an orphanage). In general the Committee will propose a child whom the prospective adoptive parents may accept if they wish.
4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.
After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy. The consular officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities.
If the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will send a letter (an "Article 5 Letter") to the Albanian Central Authority. Do not adopt or obtain custody of a child in Albania before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Albania, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Albania.
- Role of the Adoption Authority: Maintains the list of children eligible for adoption, suggests prospective children to prospective parents.
- Role of the Court: Will review the case and determine if the adoption should be granted based on the welfare and best interest of the child.
- Role of the Adoption Agencies: Coordinate between the Adoption Committee and the prospective parents, prepare the paperwork and court documents for local adoption, schedule a court date, and assist parents to obtain the new birth certificate and passport.
- Time Frame: Varies depending on court workload. Currently, the wait from the time the parents are matched with a child it will take approximately 2-3 months to have a finalized court decision. This process requires two court sessions, about two weeks apart.
- Adoption Application: Handled by the accredited adoption agency.
- Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
- Documents Required:
- 1. A written request clearly stating the reasons why he/she/they want(s) to adopt a child
- 2. Birth certificates and marriage certificates of the adopting parent(s)
- 3. Divorce decree and former spouse's death certificate as applicable
- 4. Police records of the adopting parent(s)
- 5. Personal, family, social and medical information on the adopting parent(s)
- 6. Home Study (An evaluation study on the adopting family made by a social worker)
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.Learn how.
6.Bringing Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
How to obtain a new birth certificate for the child in Albania:
The ASP or adopting parent/s will have to submit the court decision of adoption to the Civil Registry, where the child is registered. The civil registrar enters the new parent/s information on the Albanian National Registry of Civil Status, and then issues the birth certificate under the new name (if applicable) and adopting parents' names in it.
- 2. Albanian Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Albania.
How to obtain a Passport for the child in Albania:
The ASP or adopting parent/s will first get a notarized request for passport issuance to the child. then, the ASP or the adopting parents go to the Passport Office, usually located in the same building with the Civil Registry where the child is registered. A copy of the final court decision regarding adoption is held by the Passport Agency.
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the Panel Physician's medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.
For this process you will need to obtain:
- 1. A DS-260 application for an Immigrant Visa
- 2. 2 Visa photos of the child
- 3. Child's birth certificate
- 4. Child passport
- 5. Medical report for child
If the child will be 16 years at the time of the visa interview, he or she will need to obtain police clearances from the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor, and Court offices. If this age requirement will apply to your child, remind your ASP to coordinate with the Consular Office to obtain the correct clearances.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents as long as certain requirements are met.
For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.
Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which became effective on February 27, 2001, children automatically become U.S. citizens when all of the following requirements have been met: at least one parent is a U.S. citizen; the child is under 18 years of age; there is a full and final adoption of the child; and, the child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant to live in the physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent. A foreign-born child who is adopted abroad and enters the United States on an IR-3 or IH-3 visa, the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. A foreign-born child who will be adopted in a U.S. court and enters the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa will become a U.S. citizen when the adoption is finalized in the United States (the child will be a legal permanent resident until then). For further information, please consult with the consular section at U.S. Embassy Tirana or the nearest office of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration (BCIS) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Additional information is available at 
Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
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