Adopting from Bulgaria

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Hague Convention Information

WARNING: Bulgaria is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Bulgaria before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter.” See the “How to Adopt” section for more information.

Bulgaria is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, all adoptions between Bulgaria and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Act of 2000 (IAA), and the IAA implementing regulations.

Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Bulgaria is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Bulgaria, 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, Bulgaria also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:


There are no residency requirements to complete an intercountry adoption in Bulgaria. However, prospective adoptive parents are expected to spend five days with their adoptive child before the orphanage director will release the child.

Age of Adopting Parents

Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 15 years older than their adoptive children.


Under Bulgarian law, prospective adoptive parents can be a heterosexual married couple or a single person. Here the law does not specifiy orientation.





Who Can Be Adopted

Children are listed on the registry for domestic adoption if they are officially relinquished or abandoned by the parents. If no Bulgarian family adopts a child from the domestic registry within six months of listing, the child is entered into the registry for international adoptions, maintained by the Ministry of Justice. Biological parents may reinstate their custody even after they have officially relinquished or abandoned their child and the child has been entered into the registry for domestic or international adoptions. However, this happens very rarely and only after careful review by the Bulgarian social services.

Because Bulgaria is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Bulgaria 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 Bulgaria have determined that placement of the child within Bulgaria has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Bulgarian requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

How to Adopt

Adoption Authority

The Process

Traveling Abroad

After Adoption


Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information