How to Adopt from Kazakhstan
WARNING: Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Kazakhstan before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Children Rights Protection Committee Ministry of Education and Science
Because Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Kazakhstan 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. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
- Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Kazakhstan
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
- Bond with the child for four weeks.
- Adopt the child in Kazakhstan
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:
The first step in adopting a child from Kazakhstan is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption service providers that also have received Kazakhstan's approval may provide adoption services between the United States and Kazakhstan. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Kazakhstan as part of your adoption dossier. Kazakhstan’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Kazakhstan’s law.
3. Be Matched with a Child in Kazakhstan
If both the United States and Kazakhstan determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Kazakhstan may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Kazakhstan. The adoption authority in Kazakhstan will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Kazakhstan. Learn more about this critical decision.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.
After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Kazakhstan. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Kazakhstan’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Kazakhstan where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Kazakhstan’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Kazakhstan, you must have completed the above four steps. You must also bond with the child for four weeks in the child’s place of residence. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Kazakhstan.
The adoption in Kazakhstan is concluded by the court based on the prospective parents’ application. The process requires the physical presence of the prospective adoptive parents, guardianship or custodian representatives, and representatives of the General Prosecutor. The individuals or state agencies who have custody of the child must agree to the adoption. After the court decision (15-day appeal period) the court must forward the adoption decree to the local registration office for civil documents.
- Role of Adoption Authority: Information not currently available.
- Role of the Court: Information not currently available.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: Information not currently available.
- Time Frame: Information not currently available.
- Adoption Application: Information not currently available.
- Adoption Fees: Information not currently available. 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: See requirements listed under section “Who Can Adopt.” NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
- Authentication of Documents: The United States and Kazakhstan are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.
6. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
If you have obtained a grant of custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate that you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
After a court decision granting adoption becomes effective, which generally takes 15 days, the court forwards the decision to the local registration office (ZAGS), where the adoptive parents later request the adoption certificate and birth certificate listing them as parents. The new name(s) for the child and the names of the adoptive parents must be specified during the court hearing and included in the court documents.
- 2. Kazakhstan Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Kazakhstan.
When you have the court document, adoption certificate, and new birth certificate, you can apply for the child’s Kazakhstani passport from the population service centers located in all major cities in Kazakhstan. The process takes a minimum of seven days. Adopted children must also obtain exit visas from the Migration police prior to departure from Kazakhstan.
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain your child’s new birth certificate and passport, you need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Following the grant of adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption), visit the U.S. Consulate for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Declaration of Grant of Custody, final approval of the child’s I-800 petition, and issuance of your child’s visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home to the United States with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must receive the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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