Observe:You may not adopt or obtain custody of a child in Germany before:
- USCIS has approved your Form I-800A Application for Determination of Eligibility to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.
- The German Central Authority has determined that the child is available for intercountry adoption,
- USCIS has preapproved your Form I-800 Petition to Classify the Convention Adopted as an Immediate Relative
- A US consular officer issued an "Article 5/17 letter" in the case. Read on for more information.
Germany's Central Adoption Authority
In Germany there is no central court system that regulates adoption cases. However, adoptions are governed by federal law. The main contact person is:
Federal Secretariat for Justice
Federal Central Office for International Adoption
Tel: +49 22899 410-5414 or -5415
Fax: +49 22899 410-5402
Surveillance:Special transitional provisions may apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read more aboutHague Transitional Cases.
As Germany is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Germany must follow a specific procedure that meets the requirements of the Convention. Below is a brief summary of the process leading to the adoption of the Convention. You must follow these stepsin the following orderto meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions that are not properly conducted may result in the child being ineligible for a United States immigrant visa.
- Choose a US accredited or licensed adoption service provider as your primary provider
- Apply to USCIS to be deemed eligible and eligible for adoption(Formular I-800A)
- Apply to the German authorities to adopt and marry a child
- Apply to USCIS to have the child considered as a provisional convention participant for immigration to the United States(Formular I-800)and obtain US consent to proceed with the adoption (Letter Art. 5/17)
- Adopt the child in Germany (or obtain custody of the child for emigration and adoption purposes)
- Apply for a US immigrant visa for your child and take them home
Surveillance:For German residents who want to adopt a child and stay in Germany, the process is different. Anyone wishing to adopt a child in Germany should contact one of the following institutions:
- Youth welfare offices in every district/big city
- State youth welfare offices of the individual federal states
In addition, there are also some non-profit private adoption agencies that organize non-international adoptions. Contact persons are the state youth welfare offices. Details of youth welfare offices can be found on the website of the Central Authority of Germany under the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (www.bundesjustizamt.de/auslandsadoption, section "Addresses").
The first step in adopting a child from Germany is to select an adoption provider in the United States that is accredited or licensed to provide services to US citizens in Convention cases. In each convention case, a primary provider must be identified and only accredited or licensed adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Your main provider is responsible for:
- Ensure that all six adoption services defined in are present22 CFR 96,2provided in accordance with applicable laws and regulations;
- Supervise the supervised providers and take responsibility for their use (see22 CFR 96.14); e
- Develop and implement a service plan in accordance with22 CFR 96,44.
learn more aboutAgency accreditation.
After you have chosen an accredited or licensed adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible for adoption by USCIS by submitting your documentationForm I-800A Application for Determination of Eligibility to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. As part of this application, you must submit a home study, fingerprints, and background check. Read more aboutEligibility and Admission Requirements.
Submit your dossier to the central authority
Once USCIS determines that you are eligible and eligible for adoption and approves the I-800A form, your adoption service provider will provide the adoption agency in Germany with your letter of approval, home study, and any other required information as part of your adoption application. . The German adoption authority will examine your application to determine whether you are suitable and entitled to be adopted under German law.
Receive a referral for a child from the central authority
If both the United States and Germany determine that you are suitable and eligible for adoption, and the German Central Authority for Convention Adoptions determines that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in the best interests of that child, the Center for Convention When adopting in Germany, you can receive a transfer for a child. A referral is a proposed correspondence between you and a specific child based on your review of your record and the child's needs. The adoption authority in Germany will provide you with a baseline study and, if available, other information about the child to help you decide whether or not to accept the referral. We encourage families to consult a doctor and their adoption provider to understand each child's needs. However, the family must decide for themselves whether they are able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. . child and must comply with USCIS home study recommendations regarding the number of children and ability to accommodate any special needs of an adopted child. know more about ithealth considerations. If you accept the transfer, the adoption service provider will inform the central authority in Germany.Learn more about this important decision.
Submit an application to determine the child's immigration eligibilityAfter accepting a marriage with a child, apply to USCIS for provisional authorization for the child to immigrate to the United States by completing the formForm I-800 Request for Convention Recipient to Be Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a preliminary determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definitionAdopted by the Conventionand likely to be eligible to enter and remain in the United States.
Submit an application for an immigrant visa
Upon preliminary approval of Application Form I-800, you or your adoption provider will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the US Consulate General in Frankfurt, which is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Germany.
You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) acknowledging receipt of the pre-approved Form I-800 application and assigning a case number and invoice identification number. Use this information to sign upConsular center for electronic application(CEAC) to submit your child's electronic immigrant visa application (DS-260). An adoptive parent must complete these forms on behalf of their child. Answer all points in the form. If the information is not applicable, write "N/A" in the block. please check theFrequently asked questions about the DS-260, ourOnline forms for immigrant visasside, orContact NVCNONVCAdoptions@state.govor +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the DS-260 form online. A consular officer will review the pre-approved petition and visa application on Form I-800 and, if necessary, advise you on ways to remove any block associated with the visa application.
For intercountry adoptions involving US citizen parents and a German child, the consular officer sends a letter (called an “Article 5/17 letter”) to the German Central Authority, provided that all requirements of the Convention are met and the child appears to be eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter informs the German Central Authority that the parents are eligible and eligible for adoption, that the child appears to be eligible for entry into and permanent residence in the United States, and that the US Central Authority agrees that the adoption can proceed.
Observe:Do not attempt to adopt (or obtain custody of) a child in Germany until you have received provisional approval of your Form I application from a U.S. consular officer who will issue the “Article 5/17 letter” for your adoption case -Received -800E.
Remember:The consular officer makes the final decision on the child's eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
Remember:Before adopting (or obtaining custody of) a child in Germany, you must have completed the four steps above. Only after completing these steps can you complete the adoption (or the granting of custody by Germany for the purpose of emigration and adoption).
The process of completing the adoption (or obtaining custody) in Germany generally involves the following:
- Role of the adoption authority:In each of the 16 federal states there is a central adoption agency that looks after international adoptions.
- Role of the court:The family court examines an application for an order to change the legal status to that of the parents and child and, if necessary, issues such an order. The court must examine and verify all relevant facts, including information from the adoption agency or authority involved and the child (if age permitting).
- Role of adoption agencies:Adoption placement is carried out by public youth welfare organizations and private non-profit organizations that are qualified under the German Adoption Placement Act to provide adoption services for international adoptions. The adoption agency is responsible for important aspects of the adoption process, including providing information to the family court about potential adoptive parents.
- Expression:After investigation and questioning, Jugendam issues an initial permit with a validity of two years. There is no specific deadline for the adoption process. This varies from case to case and depends mainly on the length of the qualification process and/or the difficulty of finding a child for adoption. The documentation and investigation process usually takes between four and nine months. An adoption period is required for the adoption of a German child. According to the law, the recording time must be "reasonably long". The court decides on a case-by-case basis whether a parental relationship has arisen between the adoptive parent and the child to be adopted.
- Adoption Application:In the case of domestic and international adoptions, the prospective adoptive parents must first contact one of four contact points for initial counselling: 1) one of the youth welfare offices listed above, 2) the German central office for international adoptions, 3) the central office of the country in which the child is born habitually resident, or 4) an international adoption agency. After a positive assessment, the parents undergo home study by the local youth welfare office. The translated home study is sent to the Adoption Board office. When a child is identified, the adoptive parent(s) and the child's legal guardian sign an agreement in front of a German court or notary. Before the family court decides whether the adoption can go ahead and issues a final decision, the adopting parents must prove that the child will be lawfully adopted in their country of origin.
- Adoption Fees:In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will list the estimated fees and expenses associated with your adoption process.
Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through their US adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns about payments that they believe violate the Convention, US or German law to contact you adoption service provider. See also information onThe Hague Complaints Register. Impermissible payments can look like buying a child, violate applicable law and jeopardize all future adoptions in Germany. For example, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits bribing foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. In addition, the ILO makes it unlawful to unduly influence a waiver of parental rights, parental consent in relation to the adoption of a child, or a decision of a central authority.
In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will list the estimated fees and expenses associated with your adoption process.
- Necessary documents:Both the youth welfare office and the adoption agencies require the following documents at the beginning of the adoption process:
- An adoption application;
- birth certificates;
- proof of citizenship;
- CV/resume of both parents;
- Police certificate for both parents;
- ID (passport, photo ID, etc.);
- marriage certificate (if applicable);
- Dissolution of previous marriage(s) (death certificate, divorce decree, etc., if applicable);
- Medical certificate;
- Proof of parental income (including bank statements); It is
- character references.
Surveillance:Additional documents can be requested.
- Document authentication:You may be asked to provide proof of the authenticity of a US document. If so, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Authentication Officehas information on the subject.
Surveillance:The United States and Germany are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. Public US documents can be authenticated with apostilles by the competent authorityUS Competent Authority.
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States), there are a few more steps that must be taken before your child can return home. Specifically, you must apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
If you have completed the adoption in Germany, you firstYou must apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.
If you have been granted custody of the child emigration and adoption in the United States, in most cases your name will not appear on the birth certificate that is issued.
Birth certificates are issued by the registry office of the place where the child was born. Adoptive parents must submit the final adoption decision, marriage certificate, and both birth certificates with the application. For documents that do not originate from Germany, the document must contain an apostille from the countries of the Hague Convention or a certification from a non-Hague Convention country. In all cases of unmarried couples, single parents or same-sex relationships, document requirements vary and must be clarified with local authorities prior to applying.
Your child is not yet a US citizen and therefore needs a German travel document or a German passport.
German passports are issued by the passport office at the local registry office. In order to obtain a German passport, adoptive parents must present the final adoption decision, the child's German birth certificate in their adoptive name, a biometric photo of the child and valid proof of identity of both parents. Up to the age of 16, both parents must provide written consent for the issuance of a passport. Every child over the age of 6 must also be present when fingerprints are taken.
US Immigrant Visa
After receiving your child's new birth certificate and passport, you must also complete your child's U.S. visa application at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany. After the adoption has been granted (or custody for emigration and adoption purposes), visit the U.S. Consulate for a final review of the case and, if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Certificate of Adoption or a Hague Custody Certificate and final approval of the Form I-800 petition and to obtain your child's immigrant visa. With this immigrant visa, your child can travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you will need to provide the consular officer with the medical report from the contract doctor on the child, unless you have provided it during the preliminary approval phase. Read more aboutMedical examination.
Before coming to your child's immigrant visa interview, be sure to complete an online Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online atConsular center for electronic application(CEAC).You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) acknowledging receipt of the pre-approved Form I-800 application and assigning a case number and invoice identification number. You will need this information to register with CEAC and register your child's DS-260. An adoptive parent must complete these forms on behalf of their child. Answer all points in the form. If the information is not applicable, write "N/A" in the block. Print the DS-260 form confirmation page and bring it with you to the visa interview. please check theFrequently asked questions about the DS-260, ourOnline page with forms for immigrant visas, orContact NVCNONVCAdoptions@state.govor +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the DS-260 form online.
It usually takes at least 24 hours for the visa to be issued after the final interview. It is usually not possible to obtain a visa on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Before making final travel arrangements, adoptive parents should contact the US consulate in Frankfurt to find out about the current processing times.
Children's Citizenship Act
For adoptions completed abroad prior to the child's entry into the United States:Generally, an adopted child residing in the United States under the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent under lawful admission to permanent residence automatically acquires U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the child meets the requirementsChild Citizenship Act of 2000, including children under the age of eighteen.
For adoptions completed after the child has entered the United States: You must complete an adoption after your child enters the United States and before the child turns eighteen (if they meet the requirements).Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire US citizenship.
Read more aboutChild Citizenship Act of 2000.