Information on the procedure of transnational adoption of a child with usual residence in the R of Bulgaria by persons with usual residence in the USA
Requirements for qualification of adopters from USA:
- Prior to submission of the application for transnational adoption they shall have usual residence in the USA;
- They shall have concluded a marriage;
- If they are not married they shall be at least 25 years old;
- In the event of adoption by spouses when one of them is not an American citizen he/she shall be residing legally in USA and adopt the child as well;
- According to the American legislation there is no requirement whatever concerning the difference in the age of adopter and adoptee yet, while proceeding to the adoption of a child with usual residence in the R of Bulgaria the adoptive parents must satisfy the requirement for a difference of 15 years between adopter and adoptee;
- The adopters shall possess an approved Form I-800A.
This is a complex procedure which takes much time.
In the first place the prospective adoptive parents shall contact an accredited adoption agency in USA, which will thereafter work with a similar accredited agency in R of Bulgaria.
The agency will consult the candidates, will carry out a social research and ought to prepare social report on the family.
Following preparation of the social report the prospective adopters shall approach the Department of National (Homeland) Security – USCIS – its ‘United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ office.
For this purpose the adopters from a respective state per usual residence shall present a social report with the accompanying documents to the local USCIS office and submit an application after form I–800A in which they must describe the main characteristics of the adoptive parents. At completion of the I-800A form the home environment study (their social report) shall not be older than 6 (six) months and it shall conform to the requirements applicable to adoptions in the state of adopters’ usual residence.
Where the adopters wish to adopt a child with special needs or a disabled child their social report shall contain a consideration of their training, readiness and ability to provide proper care to a disabled child or one with special needs.
The local USCIS office will appoint a place and time for taking fingerprints and passing through the FIRS procedure – the fingerprint identification register system with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the FBI) for the purpose of evidencing a clean criminal record for both adopters.
The process of approving the actual adopters by their respective state USCIS office to adopt a child with usual residence in R of Bulgaria, the characteristics of the child they would like to adopt (gender, age, more than one child, a child with disability, etc.) will end with the issue of Form I-797C.
Such approval has a term of 15 months considered from the date of taking the biometric data and it is possible to have it renewed by another 15 months.
The approval obtained by the adopters from USCIS is the requisite document under the Hague Convention stating that they qualify under their homeland legislation to become adoptive parents. This procedure also refers to adopters with double citizenship (American and Bulgarian).
After having obtained an approval to adopt a child with usual residence in R of Bulgaria the adopters shall forward their adoption dossier (social report, approval and the rest of the requisite documents, such as criminal record certificates, medical certificates, civil marriage certificate, etc.) to R of Bulgaria via the accredited American organization for the purpose of being entered in the purposive Register with the Central Authority (the Ministry of Justice) in the R of Bulgaria.
After the adoptive parents have accepted the child proposed to them they shall submit to the local USCIS office Form I-800 which serves to qualify the adoptee within the meaning of the Hague Convention, the result being full adoption. By this form the adoption obtains approval in accordance with the legislation of USA and the right of the child to receive American citizenship. The adopters must submit Form I-800 prior to expiration of the term of approval under Form I-800A and before the child has reached the age of 16 (sixteen) years.
After issuance of Form I-800 USCIS will redirect it to the National Visa Center which, upon completion of the correspondence file, shall send it to the US Embassy in R of Bulgaria.
The adoptive parents shall submit, through the accredited Bulgarian organization, a temporary visa application for the child to the Consular employee at the US Embassy to Sofia. For this purpose Form DS230 must be completed in two parts (DS230I and DS230II) together with a fee paid after a pricelist of the embassy, a photo of the child and a power of attorney in favour of the accredited Bulgarian organization for representation before the US Embassy in R of Bulgaria in connection with the immigration procedure.
The consular employee will examine the adoption documents in their entirety, including the finalized procedures of processing Form I-800A (for the adopters) and Form I-800 (for the child in the process of adoption) and on the basis of his/her judgment he/she will give a consent for the child to immigrate to the US by issuing a letter which represents a consent under Art. 17(c) of the Hague Convention for continuation of the adoption procedure and sending it to the Central Authority in the R of Bulgaria, the objective being to give way to the court procedure.
After completion of the court phase of the adoption and after having been issued a new certificate of birth, passport of the child, a court decision, medical certificates for the child, a certificate by the Ministry of Justice of R of Bulgaria under Art. 23 of the Hague Convention – the adoptive parents accompanied by the accredited organization in Bulgaria shall apply for a definitive interview for a visa for the child with the Consular Department of the Embassy of USA to Sofia.
In order to have an immigrant visa issued to the child it must appear in person and if it is aged 14 finger prints shall be taken thereof at the embassy.
In accordance with the legislation of USA, the decision to allow a full adoption of a child with usual residence in a country under the Hague Convention by a person / persons with usual residence in the US shall be recognized completely.
The child will be issued an IH-3 immigrant visa which automatically grants American citizenship thereto.
The American citizenship obtained in this manner is recognized in all American states.
In the mean time the State Secretary, in his/her capacity of head of the Central Authority of USA, issues a certificate to the adopter/s with usual residence in the US for a successfully concluded adoption procedure under the Hague Convention.
Within the framework of 2 (two) years and every 6 (six) months post-adoption reports shall be forwarded through the accredited American organization to the Bulgarian accredited organization on the adaptation of the child in the family of its adoptive parents.
Obligations of the Bulgarian accredited organization for cooperation in transnational adoptions
1. The association is obliged to provide detailed information to adopters concerning the legislations, procedure, required documents and terms of transnational adoption, as well as on the legal consequences in the case of full adoption in accordance with the applicable international legislation and the laws in R of Bulgaria and those of the host country.
2. To prepare and submit the adopters’ application for entering it in the Register under Art. 113, par. 1, it. 2 of the Family Code of R of Bulgaria and to attach the documents needed for such registration.
3. To notify the adopters about the entry made in the Register therefore, to inform them about each stage of the adoption procedure and to render thereto assistance when they meet their obligations, such as renewal of their adoption project, update of particular documents, payment of fees etc., with the due care.
4. To advise the adopters and to forward to them the dossier of the child designated therefor (report on the child and whole-length photo), as well as additional materials about the child that will help them in taking a decision to express their consent or refusal for adoption of that specific child.
5. To organize and accompany the adopters during the mandatory 5 days contact with the child designated therefor.
6. To organize and accompany the adopters before a Notary where they will declare their consent to adopt the child designated therefor and to continue the adoption procedure in court proceedings.
7. To register the application of the adopters before the Central Authority (the Ministry of Justice) in the R of Bulgaria together with the documents required for giving way of the court phase of the adoption procedure, including also the consent of the host country under Art. 17 of the Hague Convention.
8. To ensure procedural representation for adopters before the Sofia City Court.
9. To register the application of the adopters with the Central Authority of the R of Bulgaria together with the Decision of the Sofia City Court for the purpose of obtaining a Certificate under Art. 23 of the Hague Convention from the Ministry of Justice for a successfully completed adoption.
10. To organize and submit the requisite documents on behalf of the adoptive parents for the issuance of a birth certificate and international passport of the child.
11. To escort the adopters to the American embassy in the R of Bulgaria where the immigrant visa of the child will be received.
12. To organize and escort the adopters when the adopted child is taken out of R of Bulgaria.
13. To render assistance for and to present at the Ministry of Justice of R of Bulgaria over a period of two years after adoption 6-monthly post-adoption reports on the adaptation of the adopted child within the family of the adoptive parents.