How to Adopt from Vanuatu

Eratap Beach

Adoption Authority

Vanuatu's Adoption Authority

Ni-Vanuatu Courts

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Vanuatu generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Vanuatu
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

In general the first step in adopting a child is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. . Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

There are no adoption agencies in Vanuatu. However, American prospective adoptive parents may still wish to enlist the services of an American adoption agency to assist them with the overall intercountry adoption process

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

To bring an adopted child from Vanuatu to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Vanuatu as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

3. Be Matched with a Child

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Vanuatu will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Vanuatu's requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Vanuatu

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Vanuatu generally includes the following:

  • ROLE OF THE COURT: The Ni-Vanuatu courts review and approve the adoption.
  • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Applications for adoption are obtained from and must be submitted when completed to the Courthouse in Port Vila (Capital of Vanuatu).
  • TIME FRAME: The estimated time for an adoption to be processed is about three to four months.
  • ADOPTION FEES: Prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay less than $100 USD in Ni-Vanuatu government fees related to processing an adoption. It may or may not be necessary for prospective parents to pay additional fees to lawyers, depending on the services rendered.
1. A completed adoption application;
2. Child's birth certificate;
3. Bank statements for the prospective adoptive parents; and
4. Prospective adopting parents' marriage license (or proof of single status). 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.

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Vanuatu, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

6. Bring 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 several 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.

2. Vanuatu Passport

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

3. U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the final adoption decree, new birth certificate, and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy in Port Moresby 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-600 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.

Specific questions about adoption in Vanuatu or immigrant visas for adopted children from Vanuatu may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea, at the address listed in the Contacts section of this information.

NOTE: Most immigrant visas cannot be issued the same day, but rather take a week or so for name checks to clear the computer databases.

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

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