Who Can Be Adopted from El Salvador

Green Izalco Volcano.

Because El Salvador is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from El Salvador must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of El Salvador have determined that placement of the child within El Salvador has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to El Salvador’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. law to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.


Relinquishment: Salvadoran law states that a child less than 18 years of age may be eligible for international adoption if the child is abandoned or orphaned and a family court determines that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Salvadoran law also permits the adoption of a child more than 18 who is under the care of a parent or relative if a court determines the adoption is in the child’s best interest.

Abandonment: According to Salvadoran family code, a child is abandoned if the biological parents are no longer providing care for their child. This definition is very broad and can include parents that are incarcerated or who left their children in the care of other family members. In most cases, however, the parental rights are still intact and the legal relinquishment or revocation of parental rights does not occur until after the child has been matched with a family for adoption. This is one of the lengthiest and most complex steps in the Salvadoran adoption process. Prospective adoptive parents should not assume that the legal relinquishment of parental rights has occurred prior to being matched with a child.

Age of Adoptive Child: Although Salvadoran law permits adoptions of children over the age of 18 in certain cases, prospective adoptive parents should bear in mind that foreign adoptions of children over 16 years of age are not valid for immigration purposes for the United States, except for specific cases of sibling adoptions.

Sibling Adoptions: The Salvadoran Central Authority makes an effort to keep biological siblings together whenever possible. If the children are abandoned in different municipalities, however, biological siblings may be adopted by different families without the Central Authority’s knowledge.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions: The adoption of children with special needs is a top priority for the Salvadoran Central Authority. Prospective adoptive parents must pass a suitability review to ensure they are able to care for a child with special needs.

Waiting Period or Foster Care: Foreign adoptive parents must formally adopt Salvadoran children in El Salvador, in accordance with Salvadoran laws and procedures, before taking the children out of the country to live. Prospective adoptive parents who reside in El Salvador and who wish to adopt a child who is not related to them must first be appointed the foster parent or guardian of the child, and be prepared to reside with the child in El Salvador for at least one year prior to the finalization of the adoption.

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