How to Adopt from Venezuela

Collage of Caracus

Adoption Authority

Venezuela's Adoption Authority

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

The Process

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

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Venezuela
  6. Bring your Child Home

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

The first step in adopting a child from Venezuela 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 Venezuela. Learn more.

The adoption service provider will perform the home study and will assist the prospective adoptive parents in preparing the Form I-800A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) and its supporting documents for approval by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division.

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 (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

Once the I-800A has been approved by DHS, the parents, together with the Adoption Service Provider, must compile a package of documents for submission to the Venezuelan Central Authority. This package of documents is called the "dossier." Once it is compiled, it should be given to the accredited U.S. Adoption Service Provider, to send directly to the Venezuelan Central Authority (MFA). The MFA will then send it to the Venezuelan Adoption Authority (IDENA). The MFA will contact the U.S. Central Authority with updates and the decision.

3. Be Matched with a Child:

The U.S. Central Authority will contact prospective adoptive parents about the availability of children in need of a family placement and the amount of time it is likely to take to complete the adoption. This timeline will depend on several factors, including the parent's age, the desired sex of the child, age of the desired child, and how many children are available at the time. Medical, social, psychological, and nutritional assessments are provided to the parents.

After the parents are informed that they have been assigned a child, they then travel to Venezuela to begin the legal process with Venezuelan authorities. The IDENA will assist the family with obtaining the documents needed to complete the Venezuelan legal procedures.

4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

After you accept a match with a child and after you complete the Venezuelan legal procedures, 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, you will file an immigrant visa petition 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. 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. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Venezuela's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). The final decision and issuance of the immigrant visa will take place later in the process.

The following is a list of the documents required by the U.S. Embassy in order to file immigrant visa petitions for Venezuelan children who have been adopted by U.S. citizens. To file a petition at post, you must have been living in Venezuela 6 months or have a valid resident visa or Venezuelan passport. If not, you will file the petition in the United States. Documents include:

1. Proof of United States citizenship from the Petitioner (valid U.S. passport and U.S. birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad or U.S. naturalization certificate), originals and copies;
2. Child's passport and one copy of the passport's biographic information page;
3. Payment of U.S $355 or the equivalent in local currency (Bolivares Fuertes), per applicant (cash only);
4. Form I-800: "Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative." This form has to be filled out completely, signed by both adoptive parents and filed with the U.S. Embassy before the child reaches his/her sixteenth (16) birthday;
5. Child's Birth Certificates (originals or authenticated copies): All visa applicants must have their original birth certificate and a photocopy; Venezuelan birth certificates must be on sealed paper (papel sellado) and must be legalized (Hague Convention Apostille). See the Venezuelan web site for the requirements ( );
6. Abandonment Decree or Custodial Parent's Release (original or authenticated copy): This document should have the Venezuelan Family Welfare Institute's (ICBF) approval. Along with one simple copy of the decree;
7. Approved I-800A: Proof of approval by USCIS of the I-800A petition, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country

5. Adopt the Child in Venezuela

Ministerio del Poder Popular de Relaciones Exteriores

Oficina de Relaciones Consulares Attn: Carolina Iguaro Piso 15 Avenida Urdaneta con Esquina Carmelitas Caracas 1010 Venezuela Tel: (58-212) 806-4504

Instituto Autónomo Consejo Nacional de Derechos del Niño, Niña y Adolescente

Avenida Francisco de Miranda, Edificio Mene Grande, Piso 2 Caracas-Venezuela Tel: (58-212)287-0005/0757 Internet: website

  • TIME FRAME: It is hard to predict how long an adopting family should expect for the adoption to be completed. There are many factors that determine how long the adoption and immigrant visa process takes, including how long it takes to have paperwork approved in the United States and in Venezuela.
  • ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in Venezuela discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted. "Donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents, have the appearance of "buying" a child and put all future adoptions in Venezuela at risk. It is difficult to predict how much the entire adoption process will cost as each case has unique circumstances. The international adoption process in Venezuela is free of charge, however, fees are incurred if a private attorney is hired and in the immigrant visa process.

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 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.

2. Venezuela Passport

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

3. U.S. Immigrant Visa

Once the I-800 is approved an appointment can be made for the immigrant visa interview once the following requirements are ready. It is at this point in the process that the immigrant visa will be issued.

FEES: The total fees for an Immigrant Visa are $400 dollars or the equivalent in local currency (Bolivares Fuertes). Each applicant must be prepared to pay this fee, in cash or with a credit card that accepts USD charges, at the time of interview. The fees will be paid with the Embassy Cashier on the date of interview. If the petitioner has already paid the fees to the National Visa Center (NVC) in the U.S., please bring a copy of the receipt. The $400 fee is non-refundable.

Instructions on scheduling an interview can be found below. Each applicant must appear in person on the day of the interview. The following should be presented at the time of interview:

COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS: Three (3) color photographs with white background, with a front view Size: 5cmx5cm.

PASSPORT: Passports must be in good condition. Passports must be valid and must have at least six months validity beyond the issuance date of the visa. The passport must not have a lapse of more than 5 years between renewals. Children must have their own passports. All Applicants must bring any and all previous passports and/or passports from another nationality.

FORMS: Biographic data forms DS-260 Part I & Part II ( )

MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS: Forms DS-2053, 3026, 3025, 3024. Medical examinations are valid for six (6) months only. A U.S. Embassy Panel Physician must be used.

EVIDENCE OF SUPPORT: Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) must be submitted for family- based applicants. The petitioner's federal income tax return (1040) and W-2 from the last three years must also be included. An additional sponsor may be submitted if needed. Any "co-sponsor" must also fill out the I-864 and submit tax documents as well. Sponsors must be domiciled in the Unites States.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE: All applicants must have their original birth certificate and a photocopy. Venezuelan birth certificates must be on sealed paper (papel sellado) and must be legalized (Hague Convention Apostille) see the Venezuelan web site for the requirements ( ). In the case of adoptions we must have both birth certificates - the one before the adoption and the one after.

FINAL ADOPTION DECREE (original or authenticated copy): Along with one simple copy of the decree.

TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION: Both parents have to be present the day of the interview. A travel authorization is required in case one of the parents is not able to appear in person the day of the interview.

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE : Applicants must have original and one photocopy of marriage certificate, if applicable.

DIVORCE DECREE, DEATH CERTIFICATE OR ANNULMENT: Proof of the termination of any previous marriage(s) must also be submitted (e.g. death certificate, final decree of divorce or annulment). If applicable.

MILITARY RECORDS: Original and copy, if applicable.

POLICE CERTIFICATE: Required for all applicants from any country where the applicant lived more than twelve (12) months after the age of sixteen (16), for Venezuelan (Antecedentes Penales) see the Venezuelan web site for the requirements ( ). If you have been deported or have a voluntary departure, bring all your support documents related to your case. Also, if you have lived in the U.S. for more than six (6) months please bring all authorized extension documents issued by USCIS.

COURIER FEE: All approved applicants must pay a fee to the courier service who will deliver the passport, visa and all additional documents after the interview. The passport visa and documents will be returned to a Venezuelan address. It normally takes 5-10 working days. Appointments must be made through our email address at:

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

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