How to Adopt from Poland


Adoption Authority

Poland’s Adoption Authority

Ministry of Labor and Social Policy Department of Family Policy 11 Nowogrodzka Street 00-513 Warsaw, Poland Tel: +48 (22) 529-0666 or 0665 Fax: +48 (22) 429-0661 Email:

The Process

Because Poland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Poland 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.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Poland
  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
  5. Adopt the Child in Poland
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Poland 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 services providers 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.

Agencies that want to operate in Poland must receive an authorization to do so from the Polish Central Authority (Ministry of Labor and Social Policy).

There are three adoption centers in Poland that are authorized to qualify foreign prospective parents for adoption in Poland and match them with children available for intercountry adoption. These centers, all located in Warsaw, are: the Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center (formerly known as the Public Adoptive-Guardian Center), the National Adoptive-Guardian Center of the Children’s Friends Society, and the Catholic Adoptive-Guardian Center. The Hague-accredited U.S. adoption service providers may submit dossiers to these centers only.

Polish adoption law does not explicitly forbid directed or private adoptions. However, Polish law only allows intercountry adoption of orphans listed by the Public Adoptive-Guardian Center. This Center will only list orphans for intercountry adoption for whom no adopting Polish family can be found. In practice, it is extremely difficult to arrange a directed adoption between a birth parent and prospective adoptive parent without violating Polish law.

Before considering “direct” or “private” adoptions in any country, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues, Department of State.

2. Apply to USCIS 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 Poland. Poland's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Polish law.

3. Be Matched with a Child in Poland:

If both the United States and Poland determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the Polish adoption authorities have determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the adoption center that you have chosen to work with in Poland will 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 Poland. The adoption center in Poland 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 chosen adoption center in Poland. 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. Embassy in Warsaw is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Poland. 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 Poland’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Poland 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 Poland’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.

Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Poland before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Poland

Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Poland, 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 Poland.

The process of finalizing the adoption in Poland includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Agencies: The Central Authority (the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy) reviews the child’s and prospective adoptive parent's documents and, after receiving the Article 5 Letter from the U.S. Embassy, makes the final determination to adopt. The Central Authority issues the formal permission to continue the adoption process and the prospective adoptive parents take their adoption case to court.
  • Role of the Court: Prospective adoptive parents file a formal request to adopt the child with the Polish family court in the region where the child resides. A copy of the state adoption law (and Polish translation) where the prospective adoptive parents reside must also be included with the filing. Polish law requires all prospective adoptive parents to be present during the final two adoption hearings, though the judge has the discretion to waive the requirement of the first of these two final hearings. At the first hearing, the judge will grant permission for the prospective adoptive parents to visit with the child daily for a two- to four-week period. The bonding period is mandatory and evaluated by a local adoption center psychologist. At the final hearing, the judge decides whether to grant the adoption and full custody. It is followed by a 21-day appeal period which may be shortened to 14 days at the judge's discretion. The court issues both the final adoption decree and the Article 23 Hague Certificate.
  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract signed at the beginning of the adoption process, the agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process. Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Poland include:
1. Complete form of the birth certificate - 35 PLN per copy;
2. Short form of the birth certificate - 20 PLN per copy;
3. Polish temporary passport - 30 PLN;
4. Visa and passport photos – about 100 PLN;
5. Immigrant visa fee - 230 USD;
6. Medical exam - 250 PLN;
7. Translations of Polish documents into English - 30-40 PLN per page;
8. Court interpretation services – 150-200 PLN per hour;
9. Formal psychological evaluation of the bonding process – 2,000 – 2,500 PLN. In some areas of Poland, adoptive parents may also be financially responsible for the housing costs of the child in the orphanage, from the time n adoption is finalized through the child’s removal from the orphanage. It is customary, but not required, for adoptive parents to make donations in the amount of 500-1,000 PLN to the adoption center that assisted in the adoption processing.
  • Documents Required: Some documents required include:
1. Adoption application;
2. Birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
3. Marriage certificate(s) and proof of termination of any previous marriage(s), if applicable;
4. Criminal records clearance check;
5. Confirmation of financial status;
6. Proof of citizenship;
7. Certificate attesting to good physical and mental health of the prospective adoptive parents – medical records;
8. Approved home study prepared by licensed agency with a recommendation of a U.S. Hague accredited adoption service provider; and
9. Approved I-800A petition. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Poland 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 completed, 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 finalized the adoption in Poland, you will firstneed to apply for a new birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

With the final court decree, you may apply to the civil registry for a complete birth certificate ("zupełny act urodzenia") with the child’s new name and listing the adoptive parents as parents. This document is typically ready within one to two days. Applications should be made at the office where the child's birth was originally registered.

2. Polish Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Poland.

After receiving the new birth certificate, the parents must apply for a child’s new identification number, or "PESEL". Once it has been assigned, both parents may apply for a Polish passport from either the local passport office where the child was adopted or the main passport office in Warsaw. The PESEL number, birth certificate, parents' passports, passport application and fee will be required. Within seven days of application, adopted children are generally issued a temporary Polish passport with a one-year validity for travel.

3. U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. 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. Read more about the Medical Examination.

To learn about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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