Who Can Adopt from Costa Rica

Iglesia de Ujarras, one of the oldest churches in , Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion.

Adoption between the United States and Costa Rica is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Costa Rica, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Costa Rica also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:


Costa Rican law requires that, at the initial stage of the adoption process, both prospective adoptive parents must be in Costa Rica to sign the official consent documents before the Costa Rican court. In the case of adoption by a single prospective adoptive parent, that individual must be present to sign the documents. At least 30 days should be allowed for this initial trip. At the end of the process, one of the adoptive parents, or the sole parent if it is a single-parent adoption, must be in Costa Rica to finish the paperwork for the adoption, obtain a travel document for the child, and complete immigration procedures at the U.S. Embassy. Since the length of time for the entire adoption process may vary (from eight months to a year), many prospective adoptive parents make two trips to Costa Rica; others prefer to remain in Costa Rica for the entire process. While in Costa Rica, the adopting parents need to take the following steps to satisfy local adoption requirements:

  • Meet the child;
  • Give formal consent for the adoption at the court;
  • Obtain a decree of abandonment;
  • Obtain a certified copy of the final adoption decree from the court;
  • Register the adoption at the local Civil Registry;
  • Obtain a birth certificate from the Civil Registry with the new name of the child;
  • Obtain PANI authorization for the child to leave the country;
  • Obtain a Costa Rican passport for the child.

Age of Adopting Parents

Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and under 60 years of age.


Costa Rican law permits adoption by married and single persons. A foreign couple must have been married for at least five years.





Back to Adopting from Costa Rica