How to Adopt from Brazil
Brazil's Central Authority
The State Judiciary Commission of Adoption (CEJA)
Because Brazil is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Brazil 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 to meet all necessary legal requirements for adoption. Adoption is granted as an exceptional measure and is irrevocable; proxy adoption is prohibited.
NOTE: If you filed your I-600A, a "transitional case" with Brazil before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption; it could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for orphan adoptions, if it meets Brazils "transitional case" requirements. Brazil only considers a "transitional case" as cases where the prospective adoptive parents were matched with a child(ren) prior to the implementation of the Hague Convention. If the I-600A petition was filed prior to April 1 st 2008 without a child match, the case will not be considered a "transitional case" therefore, the I-800A process must be started. 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 Adoption
- Adopt the Child in Brazil
- Bring your Child Home
1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider (ASP):
The first step in adopting a child from Brazil is to select an accredited or approved adoption service provider in the United States. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Brazil. Learn more. Each Brazilian state maintains a CEJA (State Judiciary Commission of Adoption) that acts as the Central Authority and is the sole organization authorized to approve foreign adopting parents. Some CEJAs are less apt to work with American petitioners; however, the CEJAs of Alagoas, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo are known to work with American citizens.
NOTE: Since the implementation of the Hague Convention, the CEJA requests adoption service provider's to send reports on the adopted child(ren) every six months for up to two years after the adoption is granted and/or until the child gets their naturalization certificate.
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, Application for Determination of Suitability to adopt a child from a Convention Country) by the 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 adoption service provider will forward your information to the Central Authority in Brazil. The CEJA will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Brazilian law. A lawyer is not required for this service. If prospective adoptive parents are approved by CEJA, it will provide the parent(s) with a "Habilitation Approval Certificate."
3. Be Matched with a Child:
If both the United States and Brazil determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the CEJA 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.
Eventually identify the child(ren) eligible for adoption from a database of prospective adoptees and notify the prospective adoptive parent(s) of the match. There will be a gradual preparation of the prospective family to adopt a child and a post-adoptive follow-up.
4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the USCIS for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800, Petition to Classify a Convention adoptee as an Immediate Relative). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. immigration 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. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will notify the CEJA (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.
REMEMBER: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
REMEMBER: Before you adopt a child in Brazil, 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 Brazil.
- ROLE OF THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY: The State Judiciary Commission of Adoption (CEJA) is the division of government responsible for intercountry adoption in Brazil. Each Brazilian state maintains a CEJA that acts as the Central Authority and is the sole organization authorized to approve foreign adoption parents.
- ROLE OF THE COURT: In October 1990, Brazil promulgated a new Federal Statute for the protection of children and adolescents. In accordance with this law, priority in adoptions is given to Brazilian citizens. Other major terms of the law include:
- ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Prospective adoptive parents are required to use the services of an accredited or approved adoption service provider in the United States, and are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services in Brazil. Because Brazil is a Convention country, adoption services must be provided by an approved service provider.
- TIME FRAME: The average time to complete an intercountry adoption in Brazil varies from three months to three years.
- ADOPTION APPLICATION: To begin the adoption process, prospective adoptive parents must apply for permission to adopt from the CEJA. CEJA will process the application; a lawyer is not required for this service. CEJA provides the prospective adoptive parents with a "Habilitation Approval Certificate" and eventually identifies the child(ren) eligible for adoption from a database of prospective children. The U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro provides a letter addressed to the CEJA stating that the United States will comply with the Hague Adoption Convention (i.e. that the adopted child will be a United States citizen and have all rights as any United States citizen). This letter is provided only after the USCIS has provisionally approved the I-800A application and a copy of the approval is received by the United States Consulate in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro provides the Article 5 letter. The letter is addressed to the CEJA stating that the child(ren) appear(s) to be eligible to receive a visa, and that the United States agrees that the adoption process may continue. Once the adoptive parents satisfy Brazilian adoption requirements, a judge may grant a final adoption. The Brazilian government will then allow the child to leave Brazil.
- ADOPTION FEES: There are no government fees to open a dossier with the CEJA. Unfortunately it is difficult to determine an average cost for attorneys in Brazil since prices vary from state to state, and on the qualifications of the attorney. The U.S. Embassy in Brazil discourages and the Brazilian National Adoption Law prohibits payment of any fees that are not properly receipted. "Donations," or "expediting" fees, which may be requested from prospective adoptive parents, have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in Brazil at risk. Any expected expenses should have been itemized in the fees and estimated expenses section of your adoption services contract.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: According to CEJA statutes, petitioners must provide at a minimum the following:
- 1. A home study including a psychological evaluation and medical report(s) of prospective adoptive parent(s) stating they are in good health and capable to adopt;
- 2. Certificate of Residence - proof of home ownership or an affidavit from landlord regarding the apartment lease;
- 3. Photos of the prospective adoptive parent's(s') residence (inside and outside);
- 4. Pictures of prospective adoptive family and grandparents, if possible;
- 5. Notice of Approval of I-800A petition;
- 6. Copy of Petitioner's U.S. passport(s), photo and signature page;
- 7. Police records, requested within one year;
- 8. Last filed Federal Income Tax return;
- 9. Marriage certificate (if applicable);
- 10. Birth certificate(s) of prospective adoptive parent(s);
- 11. Divorce Decree (if applicable);
- 12. Copy of applicant's current state of residence law on adoptions, including statement that the law is still in effect (generally obtained at a state Court House, from a Senator's office, or lawyer);
- 13. Handwritten signed statement from prospective adoptive parent(s) saying they are aware that adoption in Brazil is free and irrevocable; and
- 14. Statement that prospective adoptive parent(s) is(are) aware that they must not establish any contact in Brazil with prospective child's birth parent(s) or guardian (if applicable) before the authorization from CEJA is issued.
NOTE: All documents must be translated into Portuguese and authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy and/or Consulate in the United States. Additional documents may be requested.
6. Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
Prospective parent(s) 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. Adoptive parents can change the child's name and request a new birth certificate, listing their names as parents, at the Brazilian Civil Registry Office. However, the child needs to agree with his/her first name change, if that is the case. There should not be any remarks concerning the adoption on the child's new birth certificate.
- 2. Brazilian Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Brazil. After you obtain a new birth certificate for the child, you will need to apply for a passport for the child at the Brazilian passport office.
- 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 U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro for your child. After the adoption is granted, visit the consulate 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. Learn more. The U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro is the only consulate in Brazil that issues immigrant visas, including adoption visas. Adoptive parents should contact the Immigrant Visa unit by e-mail: email@example.com to verify if their I-800 approval has arrived and to schedule their child's immigrant visa interview. Pre-scheduled appointments are required. Adoptive parents are asked to be at the consulate by 7:45 am. Since wait times vary greatly, adoptive parents should be prepared to spend the entire day at the consulate.
Adoptive parents are required to bring the following documentation to the consulate on the day of the visa interview:
- 1. Form I-800, Petition to Classify a Convention adoptee as an Immediate Relative;
- 2. Form DS-260, Parts I and II;
- 3. Copies of adoptive parent's(s') passport(s); if one parents is not going to be present on the day of the interview, a notarized copy of their passport data page is required;
- 4. Child's Brazilian passport;
- 5. Original and certified copy of child's birth certificate (before the adoption), with official translation, if applicable;
- 6. Original and certified copy of Adoption Decree, with official translation, if applicable;
- 7. Medical report on the child, completed by Panel Physician; please consult the consulate's website for a complete list of the Immigrant Visa Unit's Panel Physician List at www.consuladodoseua-rio.org.br;
- 8. Form I-864W, Affidavit of Support;
- 9. Proof of income (most recent Federal Income Tax Return);
- 10. Three (3) frontal face pictures of the child;
- 11. Immigrant Visa Application fee of $400 in either U.S. Dollars or Brazilian currency. Cash or international credit cards are acceptable, payable at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro.
NOTE: Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate before making final travel arrangements.
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.
For extremely rare cases of 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.
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.
Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.
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