Fiji

Last Updated: May 2013

Hague Adoption Convention Country?

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Hague Convention Information

Fiji is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Fiji.

Intercountry adoption is not possible from Fiji at this time.   For more information please see the related notice.

Who Can Adopt

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

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: According to Fiji law American citizens wishing to adopt orphans from that country MUST be residents in the Republic of Fiji. This means applicants are living and/or working in Fiji, or have property or other demonstrated connections to Fiji. Prospective adoptive parents must be long-term residents of Fiji (at least 3 months) in order for them to apply for and be granted a full and final adoption order. Prospective adoptive parents must be physically present in court to file an application for adoption and must remain in Fiji until the final adoption order is granted.

    In addition, applicants must reside with a child or contribute to a child's welfare for a minimum of three months prior to application.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: At least one prospective adoptive parent must have attained the age of 25. Applicants must be at least 21 years older than the child.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: A single male applicant cannot adopt a female child. Fiji law permits both single and married foreigners to adopt Fijian children.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS:Income should be above average and prospective adoptive parents should live in a conducive environment. Proof of income will have to be submitted to the Department of Social Welfare.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: The applicants must have no adverse police record relating to any offense involving violence towards a child or abuse of child.

    The applicant must be able to provide a secure and stable home environment for the child.

    The court and the Department of Social Welfare are inclined to look more favorable on cases where the child and the adoptive parents are related by blood. Most orphan visa cases involve prospective adoptive parents who are former residents of Fiji and who have family ties in Fiji. The Fijian court takes these issues into account when deciding whether the prospective adoptive parents have fulfilled Fiji's residency requirements.

Who Can Be Adopted

Fiji has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Fiji unless he or she meets these 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 back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment Requirements: An adoption order shall not be made in the case of any child unless the child has been continuously in the care and possession of the prospective adoptive parents for at least three consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the order.
  • Abandonment Requirements: An adoption order shall not be made except with the consent of every person or body who is a parent or guardian of the infant, or who is liable by virtue of any order or agreement to contribute to the maintenance of the infant:

    Provided that the court may dispense with any consent required by this subsection if it is satisfied:

    • In the case of a parent or guardian of the infant, that he has abandoned, neglected or persistently ill-treated the infant, or has made no contribution to its maintenance for a period in excess of five years;
    • In the case of a person liable as aforesaid to contribute to the maintenance of the infant, that he has persistently neglected or refused so to contribute;
    • In any case, that the person whose consent is required cannot be found, or is incapable of giving his consent or that his consent is unreasonably withheld.
    • Abandoned children are usually wards of the state and the local Government appoints the Social Welfare Department to be their legal guardians.
  • Age Requirements: The child should be under the age of 21 years old.
  • Sibling Requirements: The Social Welfare Department prefers that a sibling of the prospective adoptive child be adopted by the same family, if the sibling is also available for adoption.
  • Requirements for Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Living conditions of prospective adoptive parents must be conducive to the child's needs.
  • Waiting Period: Prospective adoptive parents must have had the child in their care and possession for a period of three continuous months before an adoption order will be issued by the court. The total waiting period could be less than four months.
How To Adopt

Fijian Adoption Authority

The Social Welfare Department, under the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty, is in charge of overseeing intercountry adoptions.

For people residing in Fiji, the adoption authority in Fiji is the Magistrate's court having jurisdiction over the adopted child's place of residence. Almost every town and city in Fiji has a court.

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Fiji 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 (or Gain Legal Custody) in Fiji
  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 Fiji 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.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring an adopted child from Fiji 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 Fiji as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

  3. Be Matched with a Child

    If you are eligible to adopt, you will have to make your own arrangements to identify a child available for adoption. Fiji has specific intercountry-adoption administrative arrangements established with Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countires. Unfortunately, there are no inter-country arrangements between Fiji and the USA. 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 Fijian 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 Fiji

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

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Social Welfare Department, under the Ministry of Women Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, oversees all adoptions. The Social Welfare Department is appointed by the court to conduct home studies. The magistrate considers the Social Welfare Department's report as highly persuasive when deciding cases.

      There are no lists of local attorneys in Fiji who specialize in adoptions but almost all legal firms in Fiji can assist in facilitating adoption cases in Fiji.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: The prospective adoptive parents file an Application for Adoption with the Magistrate's Court.

      The Court appoints the Fiji Social Welfare Department as Guardian Ad Litem. The Social Welfare Department conducts a home-study investigation that assesses the prospective adoptive parents' character, financial competence and suitability. The primary consideration is whether the proposed adoption will be in the best interests of the child.

      The Magistrate's Court considers whether to grant an Adoption Order based on the Social Welfare Department's report. If the Social Welfare report is favorable, the court tends to grant the Adoption Order.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Tips for working the adoption through the local system:
      • Seek legal advice from a local lawyer.
      • Have the Department of Social Welfare involved from the beginning. It is best to contact it in writing.
      • Being related to the infant is not necessary but often speeds up the process.
    • TIME FRAME: The time frame from the filing of the motion/application until the adoption order is issued is approximately four to five months. If the prospective adoptive parents are biologically related to the child, the process may be quicker.
    • ADOPTION FEES: A court fee of $45 is required to file the motion and receive the Adoption Order. Additional attorney fees will apply if the family uses a lawyer. There is no charge for the Social Welfare Department (home study) report.
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: To file the application at the court prospective adoptive parents generally need to include:
      • Motion/Application for Adoption (drafted by an attorney).
      • Affidavits (including original marriage certificates for the perspective adopting parents and consent of release from the biological parent(s) or legal guardian for adoption and immigration)
      • Notice for an Application for an Adoption Order (Social Welfare report attached).

      The Social Welfare Department will require the prospective adoptive parents to submit:

      • Child's original birth certificate.
      • Written consent of release for adoption of the child from a parent or guardian.
      • Financial documents, such as bank statements.
      • Reference from employer and/or evidence of property.
      • Character reference from the prospective adoptive parents' community.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

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

    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Fiji, 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.

      You, the parents take the Adoption Order to the Fiji Registrar General [Births, Deaths, and Marriages] in order to amend the original birth record to reflect the completion of the adoption. The new parents are issued a new birth certificate showing the prospective adoptive parents as the child's "Father" and "Mother."

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

    • 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.

      Once prospective adoptive parent(s) receive the form I-171: Notice of approval of relative immigrant visa petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, we request the American prospective adopting parent(s) begin and maintain contact with the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji at the address listed above.

      NOTE: The U.S. Embassy cannot issue visas on the same day of the visa interview. Prospective adopting parents should expect to a minimum of two days for the visa to be issued. American families should make their travel plans accordingly, including allowing for the possibility of computer difficulties or other problems that could potentially further delay visa issuance.

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.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

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

Registration is free and can be done online.

After Adoption

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

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Fiji 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 that country'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.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Fiji
Embassy of the United States, Suva, Fiji
158 Princes Road, Tamavua
Suva, Fiji
Tel: (679) 331-4466
Fax: (679) 330-2267
Recorded Information: (679) 330-3888
Email: consularsuva@state.gov
Internet: http://suva.usembassy.gov/index.html

Fijian Adoption Authority
Social Welfare Department
P.O. Box 2127
Government Buildings
72 Suva Street, Toorak
Suva, Fiji
Tel: (679) 331-5585

Embassy of Fiji
Embassy of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, Washington, D.C.
2000 M Street, NW
Suite 710
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: 202- 466-8320
Fax: 202- 466-8325
Email: info@fijiembassydc.com
Internet: www.fijiembassydc.com
Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
E-mail:  AskCI@state.gov
http://adoption.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)

Internet:  uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov