KazakhstanLast Updated: July 2012
Hague Adoption Convention Country?YES *
- Hague Convention Information
Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan.
In May 2012, the Central Authority of Kazakhstan approved the first U.S. accredited adoption service providers (ASPs) to process intercountry adoptions from Kazakhstan to the United States under the Hague Adoption Convention. Approval of ASPs was the final step needed for Kazakhstan to complete its implementation of the Convention and to become a full Convention partner to the United States. Each U.S. ASP approved by Kazakhstan may begin accepting applications for adoptions under the new procedures as of the date of its authorization.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Kazakhstan you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
- Who Can Adopt
In addition to the U.S. requirements, Kazakhstan obliges prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Kazakhstan
- Residency: The PAPs must have a permanent residence/abode.
- Age of Adopting Parents: The age difference between the parents and the child must be at least 16 years and not more than 45 years.
- Marital Status: A couple must be legally married.
- Income: No specifications in the laws or regulations.
- Legally Qualified to Adopt: The PAPs must not have committed any actions that would legally prohibit them from adopting.
- Completed Psychological and Medical Condition Exams, including alcohol and drug tests.
- Police Clearance including referral from authorized agencies on moral character.
- Four-week bonding period: You must spend four weeks in the child's place of residence in order to establish a bond with the child.
- Other: Gay and lesbian couples cannot adopt in Kazakhstan.Single prospective fathers are not allowed to adopt.
- Who Can Be Adopted
Because Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Kazakhstan must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Kazakhstan have determined that placement of the child within Kazakhstan has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child's best interests. In addition to Kazakhstan's requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.
- Relinquishment: The child can be adopted if his or her biological parents are unknown, have died, relinquished their parental rights, agreed to adoption, had their parental rights taken away, or have been recognized by the court as legally incapable of caring for the child.
- Age of Adoptive Child: The child must consent to adoption if he or she is 10 years old or older.
- Sibling Adoptions: Prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt more than one child; either siblings or unrelated children.
- Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Many of the orphans eligible for intercountry adoption in Kazakhstan will have special needs.
- Waiting Period or Foster Care: Information not currently available.
- How To Adopt
WARNING: Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Kazakhstan before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Kazakhstan’s Adoption Authority
Children Rights Protection Committee
Ministry of Education and Science
Because Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Kazakhstan must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
- Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Kazakhstan
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
- Bond with the child for four weeks.
- Adopt the child in Kazakhstan
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
- Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:
The first step in adopting a child from Kazakhstan is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption service providers that also have received Kazakhstan's approval may provide adoption services between the United States and Kazakhstan. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
- Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Kazakhstan as part of your adoption dossier. Kazakhstan’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Kazakhstan’s law.
- Be Matched with a Child in Kazakhstan
If both the United States and Kazakhstan determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Kazakhstan may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Kazakhstan. The adoption authority in Kazakhstan will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Kazakhstan. Learn more about this critical decision.
- Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S.
Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.
After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Kazakhstan. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Kazakhstan’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Kazakhstan where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Kazakhstan’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Kazakhstan before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
- Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody) of Child in Kazakhstan
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Kazakhstan, you must have completed the above four steps. You must also bond with the child for four weeks in the child’s place of residence. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Kazakhstan.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Kazakhstan generally includes the following:
The adoption in Kazakhstan is concluded by the court based on the prospective parents’ application. The process requires the physical presence of the prospective adoptive parents, guardianship or custodian representatives, and representatives of the General Prosecutor. The individuals or state agencies who have custody of the child must agree to the adoption. After the court decision (15-day appeal period) the court must forward the adoption decree to the local registration office for civil documents.
- Role of Adoption Authority: Information not currently available.
- Role of the Court: Information not currently available.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: Information not currently available.
- Time Frame: Information not currently available.
- Adoption Application: Information not currently available.
- Adoption Fees: Information not currently available.
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.
- Documents Required: See requirements listed under section “Who Can Adopt.”
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
- Authentication of Documents: The United States and Kazakhstan are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.
- Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
If you have finalized the adoption in Kazakhstan, you will firstneed to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.
If you have obtained a grant of custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate that you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
After a court decision granting adoption becomes effective, which generally takes 15 days, the court forwards the decision to the local registration office (ZAGS), where the adoptive parents later request the adoption certificate and birth certificate listing them as parents. The new name(s) for the child and the names of the adoptive parents must be specified during the court hearing and included in the court documents.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Kazakhstan.
When you have the court document, adoption certificate, and new birth certificate, you can apply for the child’s Kazakhstani passport from the population service centers located in all major cities in Kazakhstan. The process takes a minimum of seven days. Adopted children must also obtain exit visas from the Migration police prior to departure from Kazakhstan.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain your child’s new birth certificate and passport, you need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Following the grant of adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption), visit the U.S. Consulate for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Declaration of Grant of Custody, final approval of the child’s I-800 petition, and issuance of your child’s visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home to the United States with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must receive the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child's entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child's entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child's entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*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.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
- Traveling Abroad
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. 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 a Visa to Travel to Kazakhstan
In addition to a U.S. passport, you will also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. The visa will be affixed to your passport and allow you to enter Kazakhstan. To find information about obtaining a visa for Kazakhstan, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of Kazakhstan. 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 enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Kazakhstan, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- After Adoption
POST-ADOPTION/POST-PLACEMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
We strongly urge you to comply with Kazakhstan's post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Kazakhstan's history of positive experiences with American parents.
According to Kazakhstani family law, parents who adopt Kazakhstani children must provide post-placement reports every six months for the first three years after the court decision was put into force and then once a year until the child is 18 years old. You must submit the report to the Kazakhstani diplomatic mission in the country of the child's residence.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- North American Council on Adoptable Children
- Adoption Services Support Groups for adopting Persons
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
- Contact Information
Kazakhstan's Adoption Authority
Children Rights Protection Committee
Ministry of Education and Science
010000, Republic of Kazakhstan
939, 941 Rooms
Tel: + 10 (7172) 742343 / 742154 / 742341 / 742033
Kazakhstan also has a consulate in New York City.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)