WHO CAN ADOPT
To bring an adopted child to United States from Kyrgyzstan, 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, Kyrgyzstan also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
Residency Requirements: Prior to the adoption, prospective adoptive parents must reside with the child for a minimum of one week at the child’s habitual place of residence in the Kyrgyzstan. During this pre-adoption bonding period, a psychologist from the Ministry of Education monitors the interaction between the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the child, and reports to the Ministry of Education. This prior visit requirement may be waived by the Ministry of Education if the adopting parents submit a statement of hardship in accommodating the two-trip requirement. This cannot be waived, however, in cases where the child suffers from serious mental or physical disorders.
Age Requirements: Under Kyrgyz law, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 18 years old.
Marriage Requirements: Both married and single people may adopt Kyrgyz children; however, two people who are not married to each other cannot adopt a child together.
Other Requirements: Kyrgyz law prevents homosexual individuals or couples from adoption. Single parents may be required to present a sworn statement that they are not homosexual.
WHO CAN BE ADOPTED
Kyrgyzstan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Kyrgyzstan unless he or she meets their 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 these U.S. requirements.
HOW TO ADOPT
Kyrgyz Adoption Authority
Ministry of Education
Department for Extracurricular Education and Protection of Children’s Rights (DEEPCR)
The process for adopting a child from Kyrgyzstan generally includes the following steps:
Choose an Adoption Service Provider
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
Be Matched with a Child
Adopt the Child in Kyrgyzstan
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
Bring Your Child Home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The first step in adopting a child 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.
Under Kyrgyz law, adoption agencies are not recognized in Kyrgyzstan . Adoption service providers have to work either as independent facilitators or with legal firms or non-profit organizations. The current Kyrgyz law is ambiguous about the use of intermediaries between prospective adoptive parents and children eligible for adoption. Since 2005, due to the expressed wish of the Kyrgyz authorities to have control over the future welfare of the adopted children, the Ministry of Education started working with U.S.-based adoption agencies. These accredited agencies are responsible for reporting about the welfare of the adopted children to the Kyrgyz Government on a regular basis. Currently the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyzstan has agreements with five U.S.-based adoption agencies to facilitate adoptions from Kyrgyzstan. Please contact the adoption specialist at the Ministry of Education or the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek for contact information for these agencies (the list is not available on-line at this time). U.S. citizens who have lived in the Kyrgyzstan for several years and plan to remain in the Kyrgyzstan for an extended period of time following the adoption do not have to use an agency.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
To bring an adopted child from Kyrgyzstan 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.
Once prospective adoptive parents obtain a home study from their state of residence and an I-600A from USCIS, the adoption agency representing the prospective parents then forwards the “intent to adopt” statement and completed home study to the Ministry of Education in Kyrgyzstan.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Kyrgyzstan.
The Ministry of Education’s Department for Extracurricular Education and Protection of Children’s Rights (DEEPCR), reviews the dossier. Please note that the length of time required for dossier processing is unpredictable.
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 Kyrgyzstan 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.
Based on the expressed preferences of the prospective adoptive parents, DEEPCR selects three children from its database of children eligible for intercountry adoption. DEEPCR, the Custody and Guardianship Committee of the local administration in the region where the orphanage is located, and the local adoption agency coordinator select one appropriate candidate for adoption.
The adoption agency will notify the parents of the decision. The parents then decide if they will accept the child they have been offered.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Kyrgyz’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. Learn more.
4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Kyrgyzstan
Once the parents agree to adopt the child and the parents’ complete dossier is submitted to DEEPCR, the prospective parents are free to travel to the Kyrgyzstan and proceed with their petition for adoption.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Kyrgyzstan generally includes the following:
Role of The Adoption Authority: Kyrgyzstan , prospective parents are required to have a minimum of seven days of personal contact with the orphan they chose. This means that prospective adoptive parents must stay in the town where the orphan is living and visit the orphan on a regular basis during a one-week period. A Ministry of Education psychologist will monitor this interaction and report to DEEPCR whether the prospective parents and child appear to be a good match. \
Role of The Court: Based on the psychologist’s recommendation, as well as its own review of the family’s file, the Custody and Guardianship Committee of the local administration in the region where the orphanage is located makes its own assessment and then refers the case to the district civil court having jurisdiction over the child’s place of residence in the Kyrgyzstan.
Documents Required: The adoption application for the DEEPCR of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education should include all of the documents listed below. It is important to note, however, that this is not necessarily an exhaustive list and that Kyrgyz authorities involved in various stages of the adoption process may request additional documentation.
A written statement of the prospective adoptive parents’ intent to adopt a child or children. The statement should include the prospective parents’ full names and address, as well as any preferences they may have with regard to the child’s gender, age, health/medical condition, etc. The statement should include the prospective parent’s pledge to provide adequate living conditions for the child and to register the child with the Kyrgyz Embassy in the Washington, D.C. within one month after arriving in the United States; translated and notarized;
Copies of the parents’ passports, translated and notarized;
A home study report, drafted by a licensed social worker, attesting to the prospective parents’ living conditions and ability to provide for the child (must be legalized);
Copy of the parents’ marriage certificate (must be legalized);
Prospective parents’ mental and physical examination report from a doctor in the United States (can be included in the home study). The report should state that no adverse information impacting on their suitability to raise a child has been found, translated and notarized;
Reference letter from parents’ place of employment and parents’ current bank statement (must be legalized);
A statement certifying that the prospective parents have not previously had their parental rights terminated or limited by the courts for any reason. (This is normally included as part of the home study report.) (legalized within the home study);
A statement of no criminal record by the police authorities where the parents’ live (must be legalized);
Written statement from the Kyrgyz district administration’s guardianship body where the child resides stating that it has no objection to the adoption of the child by the prospective adoptive family;
A letter of guarantee stating that the child will go to school and will be covered by health insurance;
A letter from parents’ family doctor, stating that the child will be treated by him/her when child enters the U.S. (must be legalized);
A statement of guarantee from the adoption agency stating its commitment to submit information about the child’s living conditions, family situation and health during the post-adoption period (until the child turns 14). This information must be submitted to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education twice a year;
Proof that the U.S. Government will allow the child to enter and reside permanently in the United States . (The Kyrgyz Government will accept the approved I-600A form for this purpose.)
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Kyrgyzstan, 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.
When the court has finalized its decision, the parents may then obtain the child’s new birth certificate showing his/her new name and the adoptive parents as the parents from the local office of the civil registrar (ZAGS).
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Kyrgyzstan.
With the new birth certificate, the parents can apply for a Kyrgyz passport at the local passport office. It generally takes at least one month to receive a passport.
- 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.
At the same time the parents apply for the passport, they can contact the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek to make an appointment (Embassy Bishkek’s contact information is provided below). During the interview, the U.S. consular officer will complete Form I-604, “Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation.” Depending on the specifics of the case, the consular officer may determine that an additional investigation is required and will inform the adoptive parents approximately how long that might take to complete. Generally, prospective parents should allow for up to three business days for processing the I-604.
Adoptive parents must contact Embassy Almaty, Kazakhstan, to arrange to apply for the child’s U.S. immigrant visa. Embassy Almaty’s contact information can be found in the Contacts section.
Orphan Investigation at U.S. Embassy Bishkek: After completing an adoption in Kyrgyzstan, parents are required to bring the child’s passport, adoption certificate and all civil documents relating to the child (birth certificate, orphanage documents, etc.) to the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek for an orphan investigation. Either the parent(s) or their adoption coordinator can drop off the documents at the Embassy and it is not necessary for the child to be present. The purpose of the investigation is to help ensure that children meet criteria for U.S. immigration before the family travels to Kazakhstan for immigrant visa processing.
Note: The U.S. Consular Section in Almaty, Kazakhstan issues U.S. immigrant visas for children adopted from Kyrgyzstan. After completing an adoption in Kyrgyzstan, parents visit the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for a required orphan investigation before traveling to Almaty for visa processing. Embassy Bishkek and Consular Section Almaty give top priority to adoption cases. In most instances, parents can expect orphan certification in Bishkek to take two to three business days and visa processing in Almaty to take an additional two business days. However, delays due to unclear or unreliable Kyrgyz civil documents or other reasons may lengthen this process. Parents are strongly urged to be prepared for delays in visa processing.
Applying for a visa for a Kyrgyz Adopted Orphan at the U.S. Embassy in Almath, Kazakhstan: Children adopted from Kyrgyzstan must apply for immigrant visas at the Embassy Branch Office in Almaty, Kazakhstan. After the orphan investigation is complete in Bishkek, families or their adoption coordinators can drop off the child’s documents (originals, one certified copy of each document, and English translations), a completed but unsigned I-600 form, the I-604 orphan investigation form from Bishkek, one completed visa application, the child’s passport and two photographs at the Consular Section any business day before noon. Visa interviews generally take place the following business day at 3 p.m. At the time of the interview, the child and parent(s) must be present at the Consular Section of the Embassy Branch Office in Almaty. If one or both parents will not be present at the visa interview, please contact the Consular Section well in advance to determine specific requirements.
Note: The Consular Section makes every effort to issue visas at the time of the interview. However, this is not possible in all cases and parents should be prepared to wait 24 hours after the visa interview to obtain the visa. In rare cases, visa issuance may take longer than 24 hours. To help ensure that we are able to issue the visa for your adopted child as quickly as possible, please be sure that your documents are well organized and that forms DS-230, I-604 and I-600 are completed prior to submitting them at the Embassy Branch Office.
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.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave South Korea. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States 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 South Korea, 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 South Korea, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Kyrgyzstan require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
The Kyrgyzstan requires post placement reports twice a year until the child is fourteen years old. Adoptive families must submit their reports through their adoption agencies to be forwarded to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Kyrgyzstan 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 Kyrgyzstan’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:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.