How to Adopt from Iran

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Adoption Authority

Iran's Adoption Authority

Iranian Welfare Organization (Edareh Beh Zistiti, Bakhshe Farzand Khandegi) Address: 188 Karimkhan St., Tehran

The Process:

The process for adopting a child from Iran generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to obtain Legal Guardianship
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Iran
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
  6. Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Iran 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.

There are no formal adoption agencies in Iran assisting individuals in the Iranian guardianship process. Iranian NGOs such as "The Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child" may be helpful resources.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to obtain Legal Guardianship

In order to obtain legal custody/guardianship of a child from Iran, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Iran and U.S. Immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to obtain legal custody/guardianship with the IWO of Iran.

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you should 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. Be Matched with a Child

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, your adoption service provider, or an authorized entity in Iran will provide you with a referral. 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 Iran’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.

4. Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Iran

The process for gaining legal custody in Iran generally includes the following:

  • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The IWO is the decision making authority in legal custody/guardianship cases. Prospective adoptive parents intending to acquire legal custody/guardianship of a child should contact and inform the organization of their intent, after which the organization may be able to open a file for the family and assign a case number.
  • ROLE OF THE COURT: Create a file at the Judicial Center with the required documents and translations. File at Judicial Center(s) should be created as a part of the legal custody/guardianship process by submitting the required documents with necessary translations.
  • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adoptive parents must file a formal application with the IWO, and get approval from to the court to initiate the legal custody/guardianship process. Prospective adoptive parents are also required to pass physical and mental examinations. They will need to provide the court with information on any criminal history. After the above steps are completed and the petition is approved, the court will issue an introduction letter to the IWO. A series of interviews take place at the IWO, and a file in the orphanage is established. The head nurse at the orphanage will refer the file to the Adoption Affairs Office. Interviews and visits by a social worker and referral to any necessary offices(s) will follow. The prospective adoptive parents may need to meet with an adoption council (or its representative) at this stage to the orphanage’s social office. The prospective adoptive parents are now put on a waiting list, and the child selection process begins. After the selection, the child goes through a medical examination by a physician selected by the prospective adoptive parents. Mental and physical health certificates for the child are issued by a Specialist. At the end of this process, the IWO refers the case to the court. The court issues a temporary custody document and places the child with the prospective adoptive parents as guardians for a six month probationary period.
  • TIME FRAME: The prospective adoptive parents are initially granted six-months of temporary custody. At the end of that period, the court may grant full custody, or extend the temporary custody, which can be as long as three years.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: (all English documents must be translated into Farsi, certified by the Department of Official Translators’ Affairs of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Registration and Personal Status Department, and provided in duplicate):

1. A “Request” form must be completed and signed by both prospective adoptive parents at the .
2. Prospective adoptive parents’ original and notarized copies of their birth certificates (Shenasnameh)
3. Prospective adoptive parents’ original and notarized copies of their marriage certificate
4. Prospective adoptive parents’ original notarized copy of the infertility certificate
5. Prospective adoptive parents’ test results of their physical and mental health (including addiction tests)
6. Prospective adoptive parents’ police records
7. Prospective adoptive parents’ proof of financial status
8. Prospective adoptive parents’ last education document (diploma)

NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.

  • 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.

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

After you gain legal custody/guardianship in Iran, 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.

6. Bring Your Child Home

Once you have obtained legal custody/guardianship 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

After you have gained legal custody/guardianship in Iran, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate (shenasnameh) for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. Your guardian child's name should also be included into your “shenasnameh(s)” as your child, so that you can later apply for a passport.

How to obtain a Passport for your child in Iran

Your guardian child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Iran. He/she can be included in one of the adoptive parent's Iranian passport. The form and passport file can be obtained at the electronic service desks of disciplinary forces (Police +10) or postal centers. The addresses for passport offices in the greater Tehran area are:

  1. Tehran Pars passport office- first intersection of Tehran Pars- Parvin Blvd-second floor
  2. Yaft Abad passport office - Yaft Abad intersection- Moallem Blvd. -
  3. Shahrerey Passport office - Fadaian Islam Blvd-Basij Blvd, next to Gas Department. The price for the Iranian passport application form is 37,500 Riyal, and the price for the passport is 750,000 Riyal.

2. 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 will need to visit the U.S. Embassy either in Ankara, Turkey, Yerevan, Armenia, or Abu Dhabi, UAE for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. The immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. In order to obtain an immigrant visa, you will need to have your adopted child undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physicians. You should provide the panel physician with vaccination or other medical records to help the panel physicians determine your guardian child's medical condition. The cost of the medical report is $150-200 depending on the child's health. As part of the process for adjudicating the immigrant visa, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening apply to all immigrant visa applicants, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website at for further information regarding the 2007 “Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians”.

The Iranian court may not grant legal custody/guardianship before the six month probationary period is finalized. It is not possible to issue an immigrant visa to an applicant without a court decree that grants custody. The initial court decree, which grants the six month probationary period, does not serve as the final custody decree for immigration purposes, even if it grants full custody to the adoptive parents. In some cases, the judges may issue a decree lifting the six month probationary period. You, as the guardian parents, must specifically request this waiver from the judge if you wish to immigrate with the child to the U.S. before the six month period is completed.

Documentation about the child's background and primary evidence of abandonment is also required for the visa adjudication. If you gain custody of the child from an orphanage, you will need to provide an official report from the Iranian Welfare Organization. The report must give detailed information about the child's background and parents' whereabouts, if known. If yours is a private adoption, you will need to provide similar documentation about the child's background. This documentation should be obtained from the existing parent of the child. The orphan's existing parent must give his/her consent for the adoption of the child and must give a notarized statement. This document must state that he/she is unconditionally forsaken all parental rights, obligations and claims to the child, as well as all control over the physical custody of the child. In addition to the existing parent's statement, you should also provide a document from the prosecuting attorney agreeing to the immigration of the child to U.S. with the guardian parent to obtain a full and final adoption.

For information on the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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