How to Adopt from Lithuania

Old Town Kaunas.

Adoption Authority

Lithuania's Adoption Authority

The State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service

The Process

Because Lithuania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Lithuania 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 Lithuania 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 Lithuania
  6. Bring your Child Home

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

The first step in adopting a child from Lithuania 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 Lithuania. 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 Lithuania. Lithuania's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Lithuania's law.

3. Be Matched with a Child:

If both the United States and Lithuania determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Lithuania 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. Learn more about this critical decision.

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 Lithuania'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 Lithuania, 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 Lithuania.

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

  • Role of The Adoption Authority: The State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service places approved prospective adoptive parents on a waiting list according to the date of submission of the complete set of documents. Once a child is matched, the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service issues special permission for the prospective adoptive parents to meet the child.
  • Role of The Court: After the Chairman of the Vilnius District Court verifies that all the documents are in order, he assigns the case to one of the Vilnius District Court judges for final review. The assigned judge will set a court date. After the judge approves the adoption, there is a 40-day waiting period before the adoption is final. Adoptive parents should note that the adopted child remains in the custody of the institution where he/she resided prior to the hearing. Special permission may be granted in some cases for the child(ren) to reside with the adoptive parents in Lithuania.
  • Time Frame: Once a family is approved to adopt, it can take several years for a child eligible for intercountry adoption to be matched with the prospective adoptive parents' preferences. After a referral has been made and accepted, an adoption petition can be filed with the court. There is a 40-day waiting period from the time the court issues the final approval until it comes into force.
  • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents submit their application (letter) to the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service. The letter should describe the gender and age of the child(ren) they are interested in adopting, prospective adoptive parents' ages and professions, and any family ties to Lithuania.
  • Documents Required: The following is a list of documents that must accompany the letter requesting adoption:

1. Information letter introducing the prospective adoptive parents (issued by the Central Governmental authority or accredited adoption association) Home Study copy (the socio-psychological study);
2. Permit for adoption issued by a competent authority of the receiving state;
3. Confirmation of a competent authority of the receiving state that the adopted child will be permitted to enter the country for permanent residence;
4. Copies of prospective adoptive parents' passports or other personal identification documents;
5. Copies of birth certificates;
6. Copy of marriage certificate, divorce certificate (if divorced), or death certificate of the spouse (if widowed);
7. Health certificates;
8. Certificates of the family's financial standing (income received and assets owned);
9. Criminal record certificates;
10. Health certificates and copies of birth certificates of children residing together with prospective adoptive parents.

If the family applies through an accredited adoption agency, the following documents must also be submitted:

A. Power of attorney issued by the family to the agency;
B. Document issued by a competent authority of the receiving state certifying the authority of the agency to engage in intercountry adoption.

The following is a list of documents that must accompany the letter requesting a hearing:

1. Full names and addresses of the prospective adoptive parents;
2. Names and addresses of the Lithuanian state representative in charge of the orphanage or institution where the child resides;
3. Statement regarding why they want to adopt a child;
4. Statement as to whether the child is to be their stepchild (in cases where a foreigner wishes to adopt a child of his/her spouse in Lithuania or adoptive child);
5. New name to be given to the adoptive child;
6. Affidavit from the birth parent(s) surrendering all rights to the child, if there are surviving biological parents OR a
7. Lithuanian court decision regarding termination of parental rights;
8. Statement from the institution responsible for the child agreeing to the adoption;
9. Financial statement of the adoptive parents indicating that they are financially able to provide for the child;
10. Copy of the home study (updated by the authority or accredited adoption association that prepared the original home study;)
11. Health certificates;
12. Certificates of the family's financial standing;
13. Criminal record certificates;
14. Original birth certificate of the child;
15. Filing fee receipt.

The hearing request should be sent to the Vilnius District Court at the following address:

Chairman, Civil Cases Department Vilnius District Court Gedimino 40/1 Telephone: (370-5) 261-4923

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.

The adoptive parents must present the original Adoption Decree and the child's original birth certificate to the Vilnius Civil Registry Office, Kalinausko Street #21, Room 8, together with their passports and marriage certificate, in order to obtain a new birth certificate and adoption certificate.

2. Lithuania Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Lithuania.

A Lithuanian passport may be obtained from the local migration office where the child was residing before the adoption. Adoptive parents will need four photos of the child according to strict Government requirements for the passport. The passport can take from 1-15 days depending on the method of issuance the parents choose. Most passports issued outside the Vilnius area take at least 3 days with express processing. The fee for regular passport processing, which takes three to four weeks, is about $42 USD. For a five-day turnaround, the fee is $55 USD and for next-day service it is $68 USD. The child must be present while the adoptive parents submit the passport application. At least one of the adoptive parents must sign the passport application. When applying for the child's new passport, the adoptive parents must present the following documents:

1. Copies of the adoptive parents' passports;
2. Copy of the consent to adoption by the biological parents, copy of the biological parents' death certificates, or copy of the court's judgment regarding the declaration of the biological parents as legally incapable or the restriction of the parents' authority for an unlimited period;
3. Copies of the child's original and new birth certificates;
4. Copy of the child's birth entry;
5. Copy of the Mayor's decree regarding the temporary guardianship of the child or the court's judgment regarding the establishment of permanent guardianship for the child;
6. Banker's receipt certifying the payment of the fee.
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, contact the U.S Embassy for the final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. Adoptive parents should contact the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius by telephone at (370)(5) 266-5600 to schedule the visa interview. The embassy requires three working days' advance notice for all appointments. Visas cannot be issued outside of working hours. 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. The U.S. Embassy panel physician in Lithuania is Dr. Richard Cervin located at Gedimino Pr. 1-19, telephone number (370) (5) 261-3534. The cost of the medical exam is $120.00 USD for children under 15 years of age

NOTE: Please also do not plan to depart from Vilnius the same day as the interview. Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Learn more.

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

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