Adopting from Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan Adoption Alert
Alert: Decree amending the Civil Procedural Code concerning Courts appointed as adoption authorities to review domestic and intercountry adoptions (July 22, 2013)
In May 2013, the Government of Uzbekistan issued a decree amending the Civil Procedural Code concerning Courts appointed as adoption authorities to review domestic and intercountry adoptions. The changes will require the judicial system of Uzbekistan to implement certain procedural steps for reviewing adoption cases. Because the details of these changes will not be known until the Cabinet of Ministers releases final procedural orders, prospective adoptive parents may face unexpected delays during the implementation of the new process. Updated information about the new procedures will be added as soon as it becomes available.
Hague Convention Information
Uzbekistan is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
Adopting in Uzbekistan is difficult. Although legal changes made in 2007 led to a modest increase in the number of foreign parents seeking to adopt in Uzbekistan, there have been few successfully completed intercountry adoptions.
In May 2013, the Government of Uzbekistan issued a decree amending the Civil Procedural Code concerning Courts appointed as adoption authorities to review domestic and intercountry adoptions. The changes will require the judicial system of Uzbekistan to implement certain procedural steps for reviewing adoption cases. Because the details of these changes will not be available until the Cabinet of Ministers releases final procedural orders, prospective adoptive parents may face unexpected delays during the implementation of the new process. Updated information about the new procedural steps will be added as soon as it becomes available.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Uzbekistan, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphanunder U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
Who Can Adopt
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Uzbekistan:
Age of Adopting Parents
Prospective adoptive parents MUST appear in person in the beginning and at the final stage of the adoption process
Who Can Be Adopted
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Uzbekistan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
Relinquishment: Minimum legal requirements must be met prior to the issuance of an adoption decree by a court. One such requirement is that a child who has been placed with social services by his or her parents must remain in an orphanage for at least one year before becoming eligible for adoption. However, if there is a legal finding that the parents are “missing,” “deprived of parental rights,” “legally incapable,” or “deceased,” the one-year rule does not apply. In the case of missing parents, a competent authority must make a reasonable effort to locate the birth parents to satisfy U.S. and Uzbek law.
Abandonment: The Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) must document all instances of children reported as abandoned or found, including the party that claims to have found the child (often the director of a clinic or maternity hospital). Following documentation of abandonment, the Ministry of Health (for children under age 3) or the Ministry of Public Education (for children over age 3) will assume tutelage of the child.
Age of Adoptive Child: For the purposes of adoption in Uzbekistan, a child must be under 16 years of age by the time the adoption is completed. Under the law of Uzbekistan, the age difference between the adoptive parent and the adoptive child must be at least 15 years, except in cases where the child is being adopted by a step-parent.
Sibling Adoptions: Siblings generally must be adopted by one adoptive family, except in cases where health or other considerations prevent them from being raised together.
Waiting Period or Foster Care: Absent an earlier legal finding of abandonment, one year must pass from the date the child was found abandoned before s/he becomes eligible for adoption.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
How to Adopt
Uzbek Adoption Authority
Uzbek Regional and City Courts and the Department for Social Support and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Public Education (Education Ministry)
The process for adopting a child from Uzbekistan generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an adoption service provider
- Apply to the court
- Obtain court determination letter
- Be matched with the child and obtain conclusion letter
- Adopt (or obtain custody of) the child in Uzbekistan
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bring your child home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Uzbekistan is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
2. Apply to the Court
In order to adopt a child from Uzbekistan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Uzbekistan and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to the Regional or City courts in the domicile of the adoptee.
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
3. Obtain Court Determination letter
During preparation of the case for judicial review, a judge will issue a determination letter obliging guardianship and trusteeship bodies in the domicile of the adoptee to issue a conclusion letter on justification of the adoption and how it will benefit the adoptee. The guardianship and trusteeship body is the Department of Social Support and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Public Education and its regional and local branches.
4. Obtain Conclusion Letter
If you are eligible to adopt and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the guardianship and trusteeship bodies in Uzbekistan, after reviewing the court determination letter, will conduct a careful review of your family. The list of documents for such review will be required. The conclusion letter on adoption will be provided to the court. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Uzbekistan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or obtain legal custody) in Uzbekistan generally includes the following:
- Adoption Application to the Court: Prospective adoptive parents or their legal representatives submit an application to adopt and supporting documents directly to the Regional or City Courts. Information/Documents Required with Application to the Court:
- 1. Prospective parents' names;
- 2. Consent of the second spouse to adopt;
- 3. Passport copies;
- 4. Marital information;
- 5. Medical records (must include reference letters from psychiatric, counter TB, drug treatment facilities and HIV clinics);
- 6. Letter from the employer and income statements;
- 7. Police checks;
- 8. Information about the child prospective parents intend to adopt: name, age, and sex;
- 9. Adoptive child’s name change request;
- 10. Consent of the legal guardian of the child and competent authority of that country;
- 11. Home study report;
- 12. Letter from the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, based on the approved Form I-600A, which states that the U.S. government is aware of the family, and that relevant authorities have approved the family for an adoption of an orphan;
- 13. Notarized statement of the prospective adoptive parents about providing information to the representatives of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Uzbekistan abroad about the adopted child and possibility to communicate with such child. Foreign public documents, such as vital records, notarized documents, etc., must be authenticated with Apostiles. For information on authenticating U.S. documents see this website. Uzbek law also requires that both prospective parents appear at court. The application for adoption must be signed by the adoptive parent(s).
- Role of the Court: The Regional or City Courts grant the final decrees on adoptions after reviewing the conclusion letter of the guardianship and trusteeship bodies. To receive this conclusion letter after an application to the court has been filed, the judge issues a letter to the guardianship and trusteeship bodies requesting a review of the prospective adoptive family and conclusion. The court may request additional documents.
- Role of Adoption Authority: The guardianship and trusteeship bodies are responsible for placement of orphans. The conclusion letter will be issued to the court after the guardianship and trusteeship organ determines that the orphan is eligible for adoption by the prospective adoptive parents.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no public or private adoption agencies. Instead families hire attorneys or facilitators who help them file the appropriate paperwork with the various government offices.
- Documents Required: After the conclusion of the guardianship and trusteeship bodies is finalized, the following documents must be submitted with the conclusion to the court:
- 1. Prospective parents’ home study;
- 2. Excerpt of the birth record of the adoptive child;
- 3. Medical report of the adoptive child;
- 4. Consent of the adoptive child if under the age of 10;
- 5. Consent of the adoptive child’s parents for adoption;
- 6. A document confirming the inclusion of the adoptee child in the database of children without the custody of parents or adoption candidates; as well as documents, confirming that the child could not possibly be transferred to a family of the citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan or adopted by his/her relatives regardless of those relatives’ citizenship and domicile. Please note: All U.S. public documents must be translated into Uzbek or Russian by a certified translator, and when requested, authenticated with an Apostile. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
- Time Frame: Foreign adoption in Uzbekistan is a time-consuming process. It can take from six months to two years. Moreover, prior to issuing an immigrant visa to the adopted child, the U.S. Embassy may have to conduct a field investigation. Prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to make additional trips to Uzbekistan before the adoption is complete.
- Adoption Fees: The fees for the submission and processing of the adoption application and corresponding documents are about $10 USD per document.
- Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
6. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Uzbekistan, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
7. Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Uzbekistan, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
Following adoption, the Uzbekistan Vital Records Office should provide you with a new birth certificate for the child.
- 2. Uzbekistan Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Uzbekistan.
Adoptive parents can obtain a new biometric passport and exit permission for the child from the Department of Entry, Exit and Citizenship. You will need to present the court decree on adoption and the child's new birth certificate. There is no residency requirement for prospective parents before they can apply for the child's passport.
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. 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.
You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent’s website.
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 Uzbekistan. 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 Uzbekistan, 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 Uzbekistan, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you. Registration is free and can be done online.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information