Who Can Adopt from Panama

Embera-Wounaan women dressed for a dance.

Adoption between the United States and Panama is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Panama, 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). Learn more.

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


Panamanian courts allow U.S. citizens to adopt, however Panamanian citizens are given preference. There are no official residency requirements for adoption in Panama.

Age of Adopting Parents

There must be an age difference of at least 18 years and no more than 45 years between the prospective adoptive parent and the child.


Prospective adoptive couples must have been married for at least two years.


There is no minimum income requirement for prospective adoptive parents in Panama.


No family line adoptions are allowed, meaning grandparents may not adopt their grandchildren and siblings may not adopt their minor siblings. Same sex couples are not permitted to adopt children.

Most adoptions of Panamanian children by U.S. parents take place in Panama. Less frequently, Panamanian courts may grant the U.S. citizens guardianship, allowing for adoption following the family's return to the United States. There are no legal impediments to granting guardianship, but the Panamanian court system generally discourages this practice.

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