CONTACT INFORMATION 

U.S. Embassy in Japan
Box 205
1-10-5 Akasaka Minato-ku
Tokyo 107-8420, Japan
Tel: (81)(3) 3224-5000
Fax: (81)(3) 3224-5929

Japan’s Adoption Authority
The Family Court and the Child Guidance Center (CGC). The Family Court and the CGC is often located in the City or Ward Office.

Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-2869
Tel: (202) 939-6700

*Japan also has Consulates in Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Miami, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Portland (OR), Saipan (Mariana Islands), San Francisco, Seattle, and Tamuning (Guam).

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

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

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Japan

Map of Japan

Japan 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 Japan did not change.

DISCLAIMER

 

WHO CAN ADOPT

There are two types of adoptions in Japan – regular and special. Regular adoptions do not sever the ties between the child and his/her birth family. As a result, these types of adoptions may not be eligible for a U.S. immigrant visa. Japan introduced “special” adoptions in an effort to make Japanese adoptions more compatible with intercountry adoptions and to give more protection to adopted children under six years of age.

To bring an adopted child to United States from Japan, 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 adoptive parents, Japan also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements: The Japanese courts will not accept an adoption application by prospective adoptive parents who are in Japan on a visitor’s visa. At least one parent must provide evidence of long term residence in Japan. When the adoption is finalized at least one parent must be present at court. Proxy adoptions are not permitted.

 

  • Age Requirements: In special adoptions, prospective adoptive parents must be over 25 years of age. In regular adoptions, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 20 years of age.

 

  • Marriage Requirements: Depending on the U.S. State law, the Family Court may allow a single parent to adopt (case by case basis).

 

  • Income Requirements: While there are no specific income requirements for intercountry adoption from Japan, the prospective adoptive parents will have to provide documentation on their income and finances.

 

WHO CAN BE ADOPTED

Normally 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 these U.S. requirements.

In addition to these requirements, Japan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption.

Japanese law does not define “orphan.” Japanese law defines a “child who requires attention” as:

  • Born out of wedlock;
  • Abandoned infant;
  • Parent(s) deceased or disappeared;
  • Parents are incapable of providing support; or
  • Abused.

There are two types of adoptions in Japan – regular and special. Regular adoptions do not sever the ties between the child and his/her birth family. As a result, these types of adoptions may not be eligible for a U.S. immigrant visa. Japan introduced “special” adoptions in an effort to make Japanese adoptions more compatible with intercountry adoptions and to give more protection to adopted children under six years of age.

 

HOW TO ADOPT


Japan’s Adoption Authority
Family Court and the Child Guidance Center (CGC)

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Japan 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 Japan
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 Japan 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. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

Neither adoption agencies nor attorneys are required to process an intercountry adoption in Japan. However, Japanese attorneys specializing in adoptions do exist, and the Japanese Government does maintain a list of recommended adoption agencies. All adoption agencies in Japan are privately operated. American prospective adoptive parents who would like to contact adoption agencies in Japan can obtain a list of adoption agencies on the U.S. Embassy’s website at http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-adopt.html.


2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

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

In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Japan 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 central adoption authority in Japan 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 Japan’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.

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

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

  • Role of The Adoption Authority: The CGC is the local government authority responsible for determining whether a child requires protection. The CGC will not issue a certificate if the child is to be adopted abroad or if the child will benefit from a privately arranged adoption.

 

  • Role of The Court: The Family Court reviews the adoption application. In reviewing the application, the Court examines the law governing intercountry adoptions in the prospective adoptive parents’ state of legal domicile. The Court informs the prospective adoptive parents of their court hearing date. This first hearing date generally occurs at the end of the trial six-month period. Approximately two to three weeks after the final hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to approve the adoption. If the judge approves the petition, the Court issues a certificate allowing “Permission to adopt” (yoshi to suru koto o kyoka-suru). If the biological parents or any interested parties do not object within two weeks of the parents’ registering the adoption, it is considered final.

 

  • Role of Adoption Agencies: Neither adoption agencies nor attorneys are necessary to complete an intercountry adoption in Japan.

 

  • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents submit their adoption application to the Family Court with jurisdiction over the child’s residence.

 

  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions through the Family Court require at least nine months and sometimes longer. Note: The Family Court does not mandate a time limit on when an adoption must be completed.

 

  • Adoption Fees: The costs for intercountry adoptions from Japan vary widely; however, the average total cost is approximately $20,000 USD. This includes fees for the Family Court, adoption agency, immigration processing, airfare, lodging, and document translations and authentications. It should be noted that adoption agency fees can range from $2,000 to $60,000 USD, so the overall cost of adoption depends on the agency the prospective adoptive parents select. Prospective adoptive parents may incur additional fees when adopting a child(ren) with medical conditions.

    In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. Learn more.

 

  • Document Required:The following is a list of documents required for an intercountry adoption from Japan:
    • Birth certificate and/or family register of all parties
    • Copy of passport, Japanese visa, and Alien Registration card
    • Copy of U.S. military ID (where applicable)
    • Marriage, divorce, and death certificates (where applicable)
    • Medical examination certificates
    • Certificate of foster parent registration (where applicable)
    • Certificate of good conduct/no criminal record for each adoptive parent (issued by their home city or state police department)
    • Certificate of legal address, employment, and income
    • Copy of any property ownership deeds and/or bank statements
    • Biographic history of all parties
    • Statement of consent to adopt by the child’s biological parent(s) or guardian
    • Statement of prospective parent(s)’ intent to adopt the identified child
    • Pictures of all parties, preferably pf parents with the child
    • Home Study (approved by an authorized and licensed adoption agency)
    • Two character references

    • 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 Japan, the U.S Government, 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.

 

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.

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

Before proceeding with U.S. immigration procedures, American citizens who have adopted a foreign child must obtain a passport for that child. An adopted foreign child is not a U.S. citizen from the moment of adoption, and thus cannot immediately get a U.S passport.

If the child is a Japanese citizen, adoptive parents must obtain a Japanese passport for the child from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Only the child’s biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian may apply for a passport on behalf of the minor child. Japanese passports issued to minors are normally valid for five years from the date of issue and may be renewed at a Japanese Embassy or consulate abroad.

If the child is not a Japanese citizen, the child will need to apply for a passport from his/her home country’s embassy. If the adopted child is stateless or from a country that does not share diplomatic relations with Japan, the child may apply for a re-entry permit from Japan’s Ministry of Justice. The Japanese Government does not control the international movement of children who hold Japanese citizenship or legal residency.

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-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. Learn more.

 

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 Japan

 

TRAVELING ABROAD 

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Japan. 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 Japan, 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 Japan, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

 

AFTER ADOPTION

What does Japan require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Japan does not have any post-adoption requirements.

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:


Comments on this Adopt                                                     page 1 of 1
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Sexy Sully
Posted 40 days ago
I'll take two for $20, better than the Steam Summer Sale.
Joe
Posted 154 days ago
Hi all! We just posted a new story to the Nikkei Chicago website on a local Chicago couple and their experiences adopting a child from Japan. With only a handful of Japanese children adopted into the US each year this article highlights some of the issues surrounding adoption in Japan and the difficulties of intercountry adoption. If you get a chance, please check it out!:
http://nikkeichicago.com/2014/03/26/469/
From the article: "According to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, only 21 children, all below the age of six years old, were adopted into the US from Japan in 2012. By comparison, there were 2,697 adoptions from China and 627 adoptions from South Korea in the same year. In the period from 1999 to 2012, there were a total of only 483 adoptions to the US from Japan."