CONTACT INFORMATION

U.S. Embassy in Jamaica
16 Oxford Road
Kingston 5
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: 876-935-6000
Fax: 876-935-6019

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 541
Kingston
Jamaica

Jamaica’s Adoption Authority
Child Development Agency (CDA)
2-4 King Street
Kingston 5, Jamaica
Tel: 876-948-6678
Fax: 876-924-9401
Website: http://www.cda.gov.jm

Embassy of Jamaica
1520 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-452-0660

*Jamaica also has Consulate-Generals in New York and Miami as well as Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Richmond, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
SA-29
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Website: http://adoption.state.gov


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283
(TTY 1-800-767-1833).

Or, contact USCIS in Kingston, Jamaica, at:
2 Oxford Road, 1st Floor
Kingston 5
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: 876-926-6098

Jamaica Flag
Jamaica

Map of Jamaica

 

Jamaica is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Jamaica did not change.

There are two types of adoption in Jamaica – Adoption Licenses and Adoption Orders. An Adoption License allows a Jamaican citizen child to be taken to a “scheduled country” (in these cases, the United States) and adopted there. An Adoption Order provides for an orphan to be adopted in Jamaica. An Order legally supersedes a birth certificate, as it shows date of birth, (new) parentage, and (new) name. The child’s Jamaican passport information may also be superseded by the new parentage and name. 

 

DISCLAIMER

 

WHO CAN ADOPT

To bring an adopted child to United States from Jamaica, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Jamaica also has the following eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements Prospective adoptive parents seeking an Adoption License can expect to have to travel to Jamaica at least twice (once to meet with the Child Development Agency (CDA) and again to apply for a visa), but are not required to reside in Jamaica. Prospective adoptive parents seeking an Adoption Order must reside in Jamaica during the pre-adoption placement and until the case appears before a Jamaican court (at least four months). The court may waive the pre-adoption placement requirement if the prospective adoptive parents are Jamaican nationals adopting a relative.

 

  • Age Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents who aren’t related to the potential adopted child must be 25 years of age or older. If the child is a brother, sister, niece, or nephew of the prospective adoptive parent(s), at least one parent must be 18 years of age or older. There are no laws dictating the age difference between the adoptee and the prospective adoptive parent when they are related.

 

  • Marriage Requirements: Both single individuals and married couples can adopt.

 

  • Income Requirements: While there are no specific income requirements, prospective adoptive parents will have to provide documents relaying their financial status.

 

  • Other Requirements: While there are no specific medical ineligibilities, each potential adoption is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Prospective adoptive parents’ medical conditions may factor into that evaluation.

 

WHO CAN BE ADOPTED

Jamaica has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Jamaica unless he or she meets the requirements.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States. Learn more about the U.S. immigration requirements.

 

HOW TO ADOPT

Jamaica’s Adoption Authority
Child Development Agency (CDA)

The Process

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

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
3. Be Matched with a Child
4. Adopt the Child in Jamaica
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
6. Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

The first step in adopting a child from Jamaica is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The CDA is the only agency legally authorized to provide adoption services in Jamaica. There are one or two private agencies operating in Jamaica, but they do so without government sanction. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

To bring an adopted child from Jamaica to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

The CDA verifies the contents of the home study by writing to the home study agency. This verifies the home study authorship and obtains the home study agency’s agreement to supervise the placement in the future.

In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Jamaica as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

3. Be Matched with a Child

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the CDA in Jamaica will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Jamaica’s requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. The CDA identifies children for adoption. It administers the public children’s homes; however, the CDA places children from either public or private children’s homes.

4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Jamaica

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

  • Role of The Adoption Authority: The CDA approves the adoption and forwards the case to the court.

 

  • Role of The Court: In the Kingston, St. Andrew, Westmoreland, and St. James parishes, special Family Courts exercise jurisdiction over adoptions. In the remaining parishes, the local Resident Magistrate’s Court supervises adoptions.

 

  • Role of Adoption Agencies: The CDA is the only agency legally authorized to provide adoption services in Jamaica. The one or two other agencies operating in Jamaica do so without the governments sanction or authorization.

 

  • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents submit the adoption application to the CDA.

 

  • Time Frame: Most adoptions using the Adoption License process can be completed in four months. Those using the Adoption Order take longer to complete. The paperwork processing for the Adoption Order can take from two to three months to complete prior to the pre-adoption placement (unless the child is a relative). The pre-adoption placement generally lasts four months.

 

  • Adoption Fees: Jamaica does not charge any fees for adoptions. However, each child is required to have an extensive physical. Licensed pediatricians generally charge approximately $100 USD for this service. Adoptive parents may have legal representation at the court proceeding, but most do not hire an attorney. Attorney fees will vary.

 

  • Documents Required: The following documents are required to obtain an Adoption License:
    • Application form (available from the CDA);
    • Home Study - Certified original home study plus two additional copies to be sent directly to the Board by the Department of Health (in most cases, this can be the same home study conducted in the U.S. for the I-600A or I-600);
    • Medical Examination (examination of both the prospective adoptive parents and the child);
    • Letter of Undertaking – The agency that conducted the home study submits the letter agreeing to supervise the placement until the adoption is complete, and beyond, as determined on a case-by-case basis by the CDA;
    • Bank Statement; and
    • Letter(s) from Employer(s) – The letter(s) should indicate the annual income and the nature of employment.

      The following documents are required to obtain an Adoption Order:
      • Application form (available from the CDA);
      • Home Study - certified original home study plus two additional copies to be sent directly to the Board by the Department of Health (can be the same home study conducted in the U.S. for the I-600A or I-600);
      • Medical Examination (examination of both the prospective adoptive parents and the child);
      • Income Statement;
      • Personal References (two); and
      • Letter of Undertaking – provided by the Jamaican agency that conducted the home study to supervise placement.

        Note: Additional documents may be requested.

 

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Jamaica, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

The USCIS has an office in Kingston, Jamaica, where I-600 petitions can be filed locally. The office is open to the public Monday through Thursday (except holidays), 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The USCIS office is located at:

2 Oxford Road, 1st Floor
Kingston 5
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: 876-926-6098


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 several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

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 Jamaican birth certificate, prospective adoptive parents apply with the Jamaican Registrar General’s Department (RGD). Parents may apply in person at any RGD office in Jamaica or by mail, including from the United States, although this is more expensive. Prices also differ based on whether the applicant can provide the RGD with a birth record number, and on whether the applicant requests express service. For the full current fee schedule, please visit the RGD website. The main page, http://www.rgd.gov.jm, has general contact and other information. Questions about applying for a birth certificate should be directed to the RGD.

Jamaican Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he or she will need a travel document or passport from Jamaica. The child must appear in person at the Passport Office unless he or she is less than three years old. The cost of applying for a passport is $1500 Jamaican (about $25 USD) for children up to the age of 18, and $2500 Jamaican (about $40 USD) for those over 18. Two passport photos must be presented along with the new birth certificate or the Adoption Order, if one has been issued.

If the child has already been adopted, the adoptive parent(s) must appear with the child. If the child has not yet been adopted, a representative of the Child Welfare Division or the biological parent must appear; the adoptive parent(s) may only appear with a letter from the Child Welfare Division.

Jamaican passport applications must be made in person at the Jamaican Immigration

Citizenship and Passport Services Division, commonly known as the “Passport Office.” There are only two Passport Offices able to accept applications in Jamaica:

25 Constant Spring Road,
Kingston 10
Tel: 876-754-4742;

and
Overton Plaza,
49 Union Street,
Montego Bay
Tel: 876-952-5380

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for a U.S. visa from the U.S. 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-600 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. After obtaining the Adoption License or Adoption Order, the adoptive parents should schedule an immigrant visa interview at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy.  Learn more about the Panel Physician's medical exam. 

This may be done by appearing at the Information Window of the Immigrant Visa section on any weekday (except U.S. and Jamaican holidays) between 7:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The medical examination can usually be scheduled for the next business day, and the interview for the day after that. The cost of the medical examination for the immigrant visa application is approximately $50 USD for children under 15 and $100 USD for children 15 and older. The medical examination used to meet to the CDA requirements cannot be used for the immigrant visa interview.

Note: Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least 24 hours, and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.

 

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.


Statistics

Statisitcs about adoption from Jamaica

 

TRAVELING ABROAD

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Jamaica. 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 Jamaica, 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 Jamica, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

 

AFTER ADOPTION

What does Jamaica require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

The Child Development Agency may, on case-by-case basis, require the agency that conducted the home study to submit reports to the CDA on a regular basis for up to two years after an Adoption License is issued. Post-adoption reporting is not mandated in cases that receive Adoption Orders.

We strongly urge you to comply with the wishes of Jamaica and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Jamaica’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

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:


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