GuyanaLast Updated: September 2010
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- Hague Convention Information
Guyana 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 Guyana did not change.
Under Guyanese law only Guyanese nationals, former Guyanese nationals or non-Guyanese domiciled in Guyana may adopt Guyanese children.
Prospective adoptive parents should note that their presence is required at most stages during the adoption process.
- Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to United States from Guyana, 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, Guyana also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
- RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Guyanese law dictates that Guyanese children can only be adopted by a person domiciled in Guyana; a Guyanese national who is resident outside Guyana; or a former Guyanese national who has acquired, by registration or other voluntary and formal act (including marriage), the citizenship of another country. Non-Guyanese nationals who are not domiciled in Guyana cannot adopt Guyanese children.
- AGE REQUIREMENTS: The prospective adoptive parent (if married, at least one member of the couple) must be 25 years of age and at least 21 years older than the adoptive child (18 years older if the child is a relative).
- MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both married and single individuals can adopt in Guyana.
- INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must prove financial stability.
- OTHER REQUIREMENTS: (Include information about gay and lesbian adoption, and/or adoption by same-sex couples, if available.)
- Who Can Be Adopted
Guyana has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Guyana unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.
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.
Relinquishment Requirements: Consent of each birth parent or guardian of the child is required unless the birth parent or guardian has abandoned, neglected, or mistreated the child, cannot be found, or is incapable of giving consent. In cases where the biological parent cannot be found, an advertisement of the pending adoption must be placed for three consecutive Saturdays in a daily newspaper. In the event that the child's biological parents are deceased, death certificates must be shown.
- How To Adopt
Guyana's Adoption Authority
Adoption Board, Ministry of Labor, Human Services and Social Security
The process for adopting a child from Guyana 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 Guyana
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
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.
There are no private adoption agencies in Guyana. A list of attorneys who can provide legal services related to adoption can be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown or via the Embassy's website at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
To bring an adopted child from Guyana 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 Guyana as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
Prospective adoptive parents must apply in person to the Adoption Board ("the Board"). The application form, First Schedule, consist of two parts, Form A and Form B. Form A is completed and signed by the prospective adoptive parents and consists of biographical data for the applicants and prospective child. It also includes references for the prospective adoptive parents. Form B is a medical certificate for the child or children to be adopted, which must be completed by a duly qualified medical practitioner. Prospective adoptive parents must obtain these forms in person from the Board.
When the prospective adoptive parents file the First Schedule, they will received an acknowledgement slip with an appointment date for the initial adoption interview. The prospective adoptive parents, child, and biological parents must appear before the Board at the interview. The appointments are usually scheduled within 4-6 weeks after the application is filed. The Board will undertake a request for an expedited appointment but it is not guaranteed.
A social worker interviews the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, and children separately at the initial adoption interview. At the conclusion of the interview, assuming a signed and witnessed consent is obtained from the biological parents, or, if absent, the Board is satisfied that the birth parent(s) cannot be located, the prospective adoptive parents are given an informational letter from the Board. This letter provides instructions for the prospective adoptive parents' attorney to begin preparing the court papers for the adoption process. Two copies of this letter must also be filed in the High Court by the attorney for the applicants, along with an application to appoint the Board guardian ad litem of the child. Obtaining the order may take up to six months depending on the attorney's skill and the court calendar.
- Be Matched with a Child:
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Guyana 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 Guyana's requirements, as described in the Who Can Adopt section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.
The Adoption Board will grant guardian ad litem (also called first order) to the prospective adoptive parents, then, the Board conducts a more thorough investigation of the case. The investigation includes a visit by an officer of the Board to the home of the prospective adoptive parents to ensure that the welfare of the child is being met. If the child does not live with the prospective adoptive parents, a probationary period is allowed for bonding between the prospective adoptive parents and the child. The bonding period must take place in Guyana. The Board receives a report of the investigation. In addition to the investigation, a home study must be conducted by a certified social worker.
After the investigation is complete and the home study received by the Board, the case is placed on the Adoption Board's calendar. Cases are usually scheduled 2-3 months in advance. The prospective adoptive parents, children, and birth parents are required to be present for the meeting. The prospective adoptive parents must also be physically present in Guyana at least one month prior to the Board meeting. The Adoption Board meets on the last Wednesday of every month, except December, at 1:30 pm. The social worker's report based on the investigation and home study is discussed and the Board seeks a consensus. A decision in favor of the prospective adoptive parents would be followed within a week by a recommendation (Form C) of the case to the High Court for the making of a Final Order. The Board can defer a case until it is fully convinced about the competence of the applicant, or can reject it because there are no justifiable grounds for the adoption. At a later date the parties involved will be given notice to attend court before a judge in chambers for the issuance of the Final Order. Once the Final Order is issued, a copy of the child's Adoption Certificate can be obtained from the office of the Registrar General.
Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Guyana:
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Guyana generally includes the following:
- ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Adoption Board provides the adoption application. After the prospective adoptive parents file the First Schedule, the Adoption Board provides the acknowledgement slip with the initial adoption interview appointment date.
- ROLE OF THE COURT: The High Court reviews the Board's informational letter and if approved, appoints the Board guardian ad litem for the child. After the Adoption Board's has made their decision, the parties involved will be given notice to attend court before a judge in chambers for the issuance of the Final Order. Once the Final Order is issued, a copy of the child's Adoption Certificate can be obtained from the office of the Registrar General.
- ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: While there are no adoption agencies in Guyana, an attorney assists the prospective adoptive parents with the adoption.
- ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adoptive parents must obtain the adoption application in person from the Adoption Board. Office hours are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - Noon and 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. The office closes at 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. The Application is called the First Schedule and consists of two parts, Form A and Form B.
- TIME FRAME: Adoptions in Guyana typically take one year to complete.
- ADOPTION FEES: There are no government fees. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that attorneys determine the fees for adoption services rendered and may vary significantly among different attorneys.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following certified documents are required for adoptions in Guyana:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Bank statements
- Employment verification
- Police clearance
- Home study
- National identity cards or passports (if non-Guyanese)
In addition to the above documents for prospective adoptive parents', the following documents pertaining to the child are needed for the initial adoption interview:
- Death Certificate, if biological parents are deceased
- Child's birth certificate
- Most recent school records
- 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.
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Guyana, 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.
- Bringing 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:
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.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Guyana.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens adopting a child in Guyana, with the intent of applying for an immigrant visa for the child to enter the United States. This process involves complex foreign and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officer give each petition careful consideration on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both countries have been met, for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the biological parent(s), and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular official in Guyana before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.
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. Prospective adopting parents should contact the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown by phone 592- 225-7965/7966 or email - email@example.com as soon as they begin the adoption process to obtain information on applying for the visa. The Consular Section tries to work with adopting parents to schedule an appointment as expeditiously as possible, but we cannot guarantee an appointment if the adopting parents have not contacted us before they travel to Guyana. Once parents contact the Consular Section, they are sent a tip sheet on assembling documents for the visa appointment.
Documents needed for the visa appointment include:
- Birth, marriage, and divorce certificates for adopting parents,
- Recently issued birth certificate for the child,
- Guyanese police certificate for children over age 16 (please note that children over the age of 16 are unlikely to meet the definition of an orphan as defined by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, unless the child was adopted prior to age 16),
- Visa photos for child,
- $335 for each visa,
- Medical exams for the child, and
- I-864 Affidavit of Support from parents who will adopt the child in the U.S. (children adopted abroad by American citizens qualify for the Child Citizenship Act and do not require the I-864).
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.
Note: Visa issuance after the interview and approval generally takes 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide a visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.
- Birth Certificate
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 Guyana. 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 Guyana, 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 Guyana, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.Registration is free and can be done online
- After Adoption
What does Guyana require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
There are no post-adoption requirements for Guyana.
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
Guyanese Adoption Authority
Adoption Board, Ministry of Labor, Human Services and Social Security
1 Water and Cornhill Streets
Embassy of Guyana
2490 Tracy Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 265-3834; (202) 265-6900
Fax: (202) 232-1297
Consulate General of Guyana
370 7th Avenue, Room 402
New York, N.Y. 10001
Tel: (212) 947-5115; (212) 947-5116
Fax: (212) 947-5163
*Guyana also has honorary consulates in Los Angeles, Miami, East Chicago, and Waco(TX).
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).