How to Adopt from Iceland

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Colorful rooftops in Reykjavik.

Adoption Authority

Iceland's Adoption Authority

The Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs - The National Commissioner on Adoptions.

The Process

Because Iceland is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Iceland must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Iceland before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Iceland
  6. Bring your Child Home

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

The first step in adopting a child from Iceland is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Iceland. Learn more.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Iceland. Iceland's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Iceland's law.

3. Be Matched with a Child:

If both the United States and Iceland determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Iceland may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.

After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Iceland's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5.Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-country:

Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Iceland, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Iceland.

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Iceland generally includes the following:

  • ADOPTION APPLICATION AND ROLE OF ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The first step to adopt a child is to apply for a pre-approval from The National Commissioner on Adoptions. Applicants can get the application forms on the Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs website . Then they return the forms to "slensk Ættleiðing (Icelandic Adoption Society -IAS) and the agency will send the forms to The National commissioner on adoptions and attach necessary documents. Please see the Required Documents section below. The application with attached documents is sent to The National Commissioner on Adoptions which then asks the social services and the child protection agency in the applicants' home town to give a report about the applicant's home and family environment. An employee from social services will contact the applicant and do a home study. This report is sent to the ministry which will take the decision based on this report. If the pre-approval is granted, then it is sent in English to IAS and the applicant gets a copy. The approval notice, which is valid for two years, will state that the applicant is permitted to adopt a child from a specific third country.
  • TIME FRAME: The pre-approval process, described below, will take three to six months. The length of time to adopt in a third country will depend on the child's country of origin.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Documents required include the following:
1. Application for pre-approval, Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs - The National Commissioner on Adoptions. Skuggasundi, 150 Reykjavík. Telephone: 354-545-9000. Opening hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30 - 16.00;
2. Birth certificate from applicant;
3. Information about applicant on this form. (1. Re Application For Permission to Adopt. 2. Re Application for Pre-Approval)
4. Marriage certificate or certificate that proves proxy marriage of applicant;
5. Certificate from the National Registry to show how long applicants have been living together. Marriage must have lasted at least three years and Proxy Marriage at least five years. The certificate can be sought at the National Registry in Iceland, Borgartúni 21a, 104 Reykjavík. Telephone: 354-569-2900. Business hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30-16:00;
6. Police certificates from countries prospective adoptive parents resided for 3 months after the age of 16;
7. Information about the applicant's health on the Information on Health Re application for Pre-Approval to Adopt a Child form;
8. Doctors certificate for the adopting parent. Here you can get the Medical Certificate for Prospective Adoption Parent form, needs to be filled out by a doctor and the applicant;
9. Certified copy of tax returns for the last two years.

The documents referenced above can be sought in Icelandic at this website.

NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

6.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 three 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. To obtain a new birth certificate for the adopted child, please contact Iceland's national Registry:

The National Registry (Thjodskra) Borgartun 24, 105 Reykjavik, Iceland. Phone #354-569-2900, Opening hours are from 8:30 - 16:00 Phone hours from 9:00 - 16:00, The fee is Icelandic kronur 900,00

2. Iceland Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Iceland. To obtain a Passport for the child in Iceland please contact The District Commissioner in Kopavogur.

The District Commissioner in Kopavogu ( Sýslumaðurinn í Kópavogi)

Dalvegi 18 201 Kópavogur - Map Tel.+354-560-3000; Fax +354-560-3090 Netfang Opening hours are from 9:00 to 15:30. Phone hours are from 8:30 to 16:00

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-800 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.

To learn about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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