ParaguayLast Updated: February 2009
Hague Adoption Convention Country?YES
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- Hague Convention Information
Paraguay is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention ). Therefore all adoptions between Paraguay and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention
Presently, intercountry adoptions are not allowed in Paraguay. Paraguayan law gives preference in adoption to Paraguayan citizens and legal permanent residents of Paraguay, and prospective adoptive parents must reside in Paraguay. Paraguayan government officials have to told the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay that should intercountry adoptions be permitted in the future, the government will only allow adoptions by citizens of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) and signed an agreement with the central governmental authority overseeing adoptions.
Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Learn more.
- Who Can Adopt
Adoption between the United States and Paraguay is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Paraguay, you must first 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, Paraguay also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
- RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: The government of Paraguay requires that adoptive parents must be Paraguayan citizens or legal permanent residents of Paraguay and must reside in Paraguay. There is no period of residency requirement; however, proof of residency in the form of a permanent resident card or local identification card is required.
- AGE REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must be between the ages of 25 and 50.
- MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: The Paraguayan government restricts adoptions to couples who have been married for at least three years, male/female couples who have lived together for more than four years, or single women. Married couples are given preference, and single men cannot adopt.
- OTHER REQUIRMENTS: Persons with infectious contagious diseases or mental illnesses are not eligible to adopt.
- Who Can Be Adopted
Because Paraguay is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Paraguay must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Paraguay attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Paraguay's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Abandonment Requirements: No intercountry adoptions are permitted in Paraguay at this time. However, persons who meet the eligibility requirements listed above and who are interested in adopting a Paraguayan child must file an application form at the Adoption Center and provide the required documentation. After a review of their application and completion of a home study, the names of individuals approved to adopt are placed on a list of available parents.
When a child is abandoned or becomes an orphan, the Adoption Center is notified and must first attempt to find a relative to care for the child. If no relative can be found, the child remains under the authority of the Adoption Center until a judicial declaration is made that the child is adoptable. At that time, the court will usually release the child into the custody of the prospective adoptive parents until the final adoption decree is signed. A child is assigned to prospective parents based on the Adoption Center's judgment of the best interests of the child.
- How To Adopt
Paraguay's Adoption Authority
Centro de Adopciones (Adoption Center)
Because Paraguay is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Paraguay 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.
NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Paraguay before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more .
- Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
- Adopt the Child in Paraguay
- Bring your Child Home
- Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:
The first step in adopting a child from Paraguay is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Paraguay. Learn more.
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Paraguay. Paraguay's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Paraguay's law.
- Be Matched with a Child:
If both the United States and Paraguay determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Paraguay may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.
After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the COUNTRY's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.
Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
- Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-country:
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Paraguay, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Paraguay.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Paraguay generally includes the following:
- TIME FRAME: Total time to complete an adoption in Paraguay ranges from nine months to two years from the time the child is declared eligible for adoption to completion of the process. The child may be placed in the custody of the prospective adoptive parents pending the completion of the adoption.
ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in Paraguay discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in Paraguay at risk.
The Adoption Center does not charge a fee. Attorneys assisting adopting parents set their own fees, which vary greatly.
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.
Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Paraguay include:
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
- Prospective adoptive parent's proof of Paraguayan citizenship or legal permanent residence in Paraguay
- A copy of prospective adoptive parents' marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Evidence of good conduct
- A home study carried out by an official from the Adoption Center regarding the health, socio-economic and psychological condition of the adoptive parent(s).
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.
- 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 three 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 Paraguay.
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-800 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.
US citizens who adopted a Paraguayan child who was under the age of sixteen and has been in the legal custody of, and has resided with, the adopting parent(s) for at least two years, may file immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion.
For additional information, e-mail questions to ConsularAsunci@state.gov
Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.
*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 Paraguay. 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 Paraguay, 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 Paraguay, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
- After Adoption
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 Paraguay
1776 Mariscal Lopez Avenue
Phone: (011-595-21) 213-715
Fax: (011-595-21) 213-728
The Consular Section is open for U.S. citizen services, including registration, Monday through Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., except for U.S. and Paraguayan holidays.
Paraguay's Adoption Authority
Centro de Adopciones (Adoption Center)
Avenida Mariscal Lopez 1549 c/Pitiantuta, Asunción
Hours: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Embassy of Paraguay in the U.S.
2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 483 6960
Fax: (202) 234 4508
Paraguay also has Consulates General in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.
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)