Adopting from Kosovo
Hague Convention Information
Kosovo is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Kosovo did not change.
PLEASE NOTE: The United States has an Embassy in Pristina that provides limited services to U.S.citizens in Kosovo. Immigrant visa applications for Kosovo citizens are processed at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia.
The following is intended as a very general guide to assist U.S. citizens who plan to adopt achild in Kosovo and apply for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States.
Two sets of laws are particularly relevant:
- The laws of Kosovo govern all activity in Kosovo including the adoptability of individual children as well as the adoption of children in country.
- U.S. federal immigration law governs the immigration of the child to the United States.
The information in this flier relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign areas is based on public sources and our current understanding. It does not necessarily reflect the actual state of the laws of Kosovo and is provided for general information only. Moreover, U.S. immigration law, including regulations and interpretation, changes from time to time. This flyer reflects our current understanding of the law as of this date and is not legally authoritative. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.
Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to United States from Kosovo, you must 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.
According to the law, there are no residency requirements to complete an international adoption in Kosovo. However, there is a fostering period of 2 to 3 months prior to the final adoption of the child, where the prospective adoptive parents are required to live with the child in Kosovo, before the final approval for adoption is given to the parents.
Age of Adopting Parents
According to the applicable law in Kosovo, the minimum age for prospective parents is 21. If spouses intend to adopt a child, one of the spouses must have reached 25 years of age and the other spouse must have reached 21 years of age. The law has not established an age limit or civil status requirement(single, married or divorced) and how old the prospective parents must be in order to adopt, although it is preferred that at least one of the prospective parents be not older than 55 years.
Marriage certificate (not older than six months)
Letter of employment with salary or income information (for both spouses, if applicable)
- Written request for adoption - signed by both spouses;
- Birth certificate - for each spouse;
- Identification document (true copy of photo ID and passport, issued by State or Federal government agency) for both spouses;
- Proof of Nationality;
- Medical certificate regarding health condition and adoption capability - for both spouses, i.e., general health, illnesses that might impact on ones ability to care for a child, etc.;
- Evidence of economic condition (i.e., property ownership, bank statements);
- Statement from local police authorities that applicants have no criminal record;
- Certificate from a competent authority certifying that parental rights have never been taken away from either spouse;
- Home Study by competent adoption authority in the parents' place of residence.
NOTE: All documents must be translated into Albanian or Serbian depending on the child's nationality. The documentation noted above should be original and issued in the past 6 months. All documents must be translated into Albanian or Serbian (depending on the place of origin for the child). If a child's nationality is unknown, then documents only need to be translated into Albanian. (Include information about gay and lesbian adoption, and/or adoption by same-sex couples, if available.)
Who Can Be Adopted
How to Adopt
Kosovo's Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare Social Services Division Adoption Coordinator
The process for adopting a child from Kosovo generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child in Kosovo
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The first step in adopting a child from Kosovo is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
To bring an adopted child from Kosovo to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
3. Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Kosovo will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Kosovo requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.
4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Kosovo, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.
5. 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 several 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. Kosovo Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Kosovo.
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Kosovo. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.
Obtaining Your Visa
In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Kosovo, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Kosovo registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information