RomaniaLast Updated: March 2014
Hague Adoption Convention Country?YES
- Hague Convention Information
Romania is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, adoptions between Romania and the United States are governed by the requirements of the Convention and the laws and regulations implementing the Convention in both the United States and Romania. The amended Romanian adoption law went into effect on April 7, 2012. The new law allows for intercountry adoptions of Romanian children by relatives up to the fourth degree of kinship (up to first cousins) and Romanian citizens who are habitually resident abroad. Romania also considers an adoption by the spouse of the child’s birth parent an intercountry adoption and may not permit U.S. citizen step-parents to complete a domestic adoption in Romania. However, under U.S. law, a step-parent adoption (which does not terminate the existing parent-child relationship with both birth parents) is not an intercountry adoption subject to the Convention, and the Convention process does not apply. Instead the child might qualify as a “step-child” under U.S. immigration law. For more information on how to file an immigrant visa petition for a step-child, please visit uscis.gov.
Under the new law, prospective adoptive parents are required to finalize their adoption in Romania.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Romania, 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 immigrant visa.
- Who Can Adopt
A child habitually resident in Romania who is on the registry of the Romanian Office for Adoptions may be adopted by a person habitually resident abroad, if:
- The adoptive parent is related within the fourth degree of kinship to the child for whom the domestic adoption proceeding has been approved; or
- The adoptive parent is a Romanian citizen.
Romania prioritizes domestic placements (the prospective who habitually reside in Romania) and placements with relatives (relatives up to the fourth degree of kinship with the child as described in “a)” above) over intercountry placements.
Romania applies the following criteria for selection in intercountry adoption:
- The previous adoption of the child’s brother or sister;
- The adoption of another child from Romania;
- The child’s age for which the prospective adoptive parents are certified;
- The number of children for which they are certified;
- The child’s gender for which they are certified;
- The ethnicity mentioned in the adoption application;
- The prospective adoptive parents’ ability to meet the needs of a child with health issues or special needs;
- The language(s) spoken by the prospective adoptive family.
In addition to the U.S. requirements, Romania requires prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Romania:
- Residency: Before the granting of intercountry adoption by the court, the prospective adoptive parent(s) are required to travel to Romania and effectively reside there for a period of time (a minimum of 30 days) in order to interact with the child they seek to adopt.
- Age of Adopting Parents: There is no age limit for the prospective adoptive parents; however, there is a minimum age difference between prospective adoptive parents and the adoptive child of 18 years and in special circumstances 16 years.
- Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may adopt as a married couple, or as single parents. Two individuals may not adopt together, simultaneously, or subsequently, except if they are husband and wife. Under that rule, same sex couples cannot adopt jointly.
- Income: There is no minimum income required. However, the ability of prospective adoptive parents to adequately support (including financial support) the child they seek to adopt is taken into account as part of the evaluation process.
- Other: Under Romanian law, an individual who was convicted for an intentional offense against another individual, or against family, as well as for trafficking in persons, or sale or use of illegal drugs, may not adopt. The individual or family whose child is under special protection measures or who was deprived of parental rights to their natural children may not adopt. The prohibition applies also to individuals who wish to adopt alone, but who are mentally ill or mentally challenged, or were convicted of an intentional offense against person, of trafficking in persons, or of the sale or use of illegal drugs.
- Who Can Be Adopted
Because Romania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Romania 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 Romania have determined that placement of the child within Romania has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Romania’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring the child to the United States.
- Relinquishment: Consent must be obtained from any living birth parents, or legal guardians. Any child who is 10 years of age or older is required to give consent to his/her adoption. Any birth parent who is 14 years of age or older must give his/her consent assisted by his/her legal guardian. The consent to adoption is given by the birth parents in court at the time the adoption is granted. The consent of the prospective adoptive parents is also given in court at the hearing to grant the adoption. The court may overturn the refusal of a birth parent or legal guardian of the child to consent to adoption if it is demonstrated that the party has unreasonably withheld consent, and the court deems that the adoption is in the child’s best interest. An example of unreasonably withheld consent to adoption would be when the birth parent or the legal guardian, although legally served by the court, repeatedly failed to appear in court for the hearings.
- Abandonment: The Abandonment Law, No. 47/1993 published in the Official Bulletin of Romania on July 8, 1993, was repealed by Law 273/2004.
- Age of Adoptive Child: Only children under 18 are eligible for adoption. A child may be declared eligible for intercountry adoption in the limited circumstances described above only after first being registered as available for domestic adoption for a period of two years. This means that most children placed for intercountry adoption are at least three years old because younger children are often adopted domestically.
- Sibling Adoptions: Under Romanian law, siblings may only be adopted by different individuals or families if the placement is deemed in the child’s best interests, as determined by the Romanian Office for Adoptions, Romania’s Central adoption Authority.
- Special Needs or Medical Conditions: There are no specific procedures relating to children with medical conditions or the adoption of special needs children in the amended adoption law.
- Waiting Period or Foster Care: A child may be declared eligible for intercountry adoption in the limited circumstances described above only after first being registered as available for domestic adoption for a period of two years. A child is registered as eligible for domestic adoption under one of the three timeframes:
- When a child is placed under a special protective measure and the child’s parents and relatives up to fourth degree of kinship declare in writing that they do not wish to raise the child then the child should be declared eligible for domestic adoption after 60 days have passed since the family gave their consent. The family may withdraw their consent at any point during the 60 day period.
- If a child is placed under special protective measure and the child’s parents and relatives up to the fourth degree of kinship cannot be located or do not give their consent for an adoption, then a court may declare the child to be eligible for domestic adoption after one year has passed since the special protective measure was put in place.
- If a child is born to unknown parents it should be declared eligible for domestic adoption within 30 days of being issued a birth certificate.
If after being registered as eligible for domestic adoption for two years no adoptive parents habitually residing in Romania can be found, then the child will be considered for limited intercountry adoption as detailed above.
If the prospective adoptive parent is related to, or is the spouse of a relative of the child, then the two year waiting period does not apply.
- How To Adopt
WARNING: Romania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt a child in Romania before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Romania's Adoption Authority
Romanian Office for Adoptions
Because Romania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Romania 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.
1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider.
2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt.
3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Romania.
4. 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.
5. Adopt a child in Romania.
6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home.
Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Romania 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 may provide adoption services between the United States and Romania. 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.
Additionally, Romanian law requires that U.S. adoption service providers be licensed by the Romanian Office for Adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents may obtain a list of the licensed U.S. adoption service providers from the Romanian Office for Adoptions by calling the office or visiting its website: ora-gov.ro
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 send your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the Romanian Office for Adoptions as part of your adoption dossier. The Romanian Office of Adoptions will then review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Romanian law.
Be Matched with a Child in Romania
If both the United States and Romania determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the Romanian Office for Adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption, and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Romanian Office for Adoptions 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 Romania. The Romanian Office for Adoptions will send 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. The Romanian Office for Adoptions will allow you 45 days from the time you receive the referral to make a decision on the proposed match, file the I-800 petition, and obtain the Article 5 letter as detailed in the following section. If you accept the proposed referral, the adoption service provider communicates your acceptance to the Romanian Office for Adoptions, and the I-800 petition should be filed as soon as possible in order to obtain the Article 5 letter within the 45 day timeframe. Additionally, there is a 30 day residency requirement, detailed below, that prospective adoptive parents must meet before the match can be finalized. 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 the finalized 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 whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside there 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. Embassy located in Bucharest, Romania. The U.S. Embassy in Romania is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Romania. A consular officer will conduct an initial review of the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities. Following this interview if there are no evident visa ineligibilities, the consular officer will issue the Article 5 letter which is forwarded to the Romanian Office for Adoptions.
After the Article 5 letter is received by the Romanian Office for Adoptions, you are required by the Romanian adoption law to reside in Romania for a minimum period of 30 consecutive days in order to interact with the child. At the end of this period of time, the Department for Child Protection in the county where the child is domiciled will prepare and forward to the Romanian Office for Adoptions a report describing the interaction between the child and the prospective adoptive parent(s). The Romanian Office for Adoptions will notify the Central Authority or the accredited adoption service provider from the receiving country of the finalized selection of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Romanian Office for Adoptions in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Romania 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 Romanian Office for Adoptions 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 the adoption may proceed.
Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Romania 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 a Child in Romania
Remember: Before you adopt a child in Romania you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption in Romania.
The process for finalizing adoption in Romania can last anywhere from two to five months in total, and prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to be physically present at all court dates throughout this time period. The process generally includes the following:
- Role of Adoption Authority: Romania’s Central Authority is the Romanian Office for Adoptions. The Romanian Office for Adoptions:
- Proposes a match of the child with the prospective adoptive family.
- Reviews Article 16 reports on the child to be adopted.
- Reviews the report prepared by the local department for child protection regarding the interaction between the child and the prospective adoptive parents at the conclusion of the mandatory 30 day period they must spend in Romania with the child.
- Forwards to the competent courts the applications for adoption of the individuals and families who wish to adopt Romanian children cases of intercountry adoption; takes part in the cases, which entail the granting of intercountry adoption in court.
- Issues Article 23 Certificates of Conformity, which attest that the adoption was granted according to the provisions of the Hague Convention.
- Follows up on the development of the adopted child and the relationship between the child and the adoptive family for at least two years from the date an intercountry adoption by corresponding with the foreign Central Authority or adoption service provider.
- Role of the Court: The adoption of a Romanian child is granted by the competent Romanian court in the county where the child is habitually resident.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: The U.S. adoption service provider conducts or oversees the prospective adoptive parents’ home study to ensure it complies with U.S. and state law where the family resides. After the adoption is complete, the visa is issued, and the adoptive parents and the child travel to the United States, the U.S. adoption service provider prepares post-adoption reports on the child’s development, which are forwarded to the Romanian Office for Adoptions as required by the Romanian adoption law.
- Adoption Application: The application for adoption, along with accompanying documentation required by the Romanian adoption law, is forwarded by the Romanian Office for Adoptions to the appropriate Romanian court.
Within 5 days after the date on which the adoption order becomes final, the Department in whose area the child lives should communicate this final order in writing to the biological parents, as well as to Romanian authorities competent to issue identity or travel documents to the adoptee.
At the request of the adoptive family, the Romanian Office for Adoptions should issue the Article 23 Certificate, attesting that the adoption was completed according to the provisions of the Convention, within 5 days after the family submits the application for such certificate along with an authenticated copy of the final adoption order.
- Adoption Fees: 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.
According to the Romanian adoption law, there are no legal fees involved in the adoption process. However, if the prospective adoptive parents wish to hire an attorney to assist them in court, they must be prepared to pay the attorney’s fees.
There is no fee for the issuance of the child’s new birth certificate after the adoption is granted by the court.
Passport fees for Romanian passports are as follows:
- Two hundred and seventy (270) RON for individuals twelve years of age or older;
- Two hundred and forty four (244) RON for minors under twelve years of age.
The total fees for a temporary passport are 200 RON. This passport fee is payable at the CEC Bank, along with a consular surcharge (32 RON) payable at the CEC Bank or at the Treasury Office.
- Documents Required: See section “Adoption Application” above.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications office may be able to assist. Read more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.
Note: All documents submitted to the Central Authority must be presented in original and must be accompanied by notarized translations in the Romanian language. The notarizations must be performed by a notary licensed in Romania. Fees for notary services vary in Romania, but, in general, tend to be higher than notary fees charged in the United States.
Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete, 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:
Once the adoption is completed in Romania, you will have to apply for a birth certificate for your child in order to later apply for a Romanian passport. To register the adoption and obtain the new birth certificate for the child you must submit the following documents to the Vital Statistics office in the town/city where the child lived:
- the final adoption decree in original and a court certified copy,
- the child’s birth certificate in original,
- the marriage certificate of the adoptive parent(s) in original and a copy,
- the adoptive parent(s’) identity documents in original and a copy.
Please note that the adoptive parent(s) with dual Romanian and U.S. citizenship should ensure that any marriages, divorces, and name changes done in the US are properly recorded with the appropriate Romanian authorities so that both the U.S. and Romanian identity documents bear the same name.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Romania.
The application for a Romanian passport must be filed in person. The documents that must be presented are the child’s birth certificate in original, identifying documents for the parents, proof that all fees have been paid, and the child’s previous passport, if applicable. The presence of the child is mandatory due to the collection of biometric information. However, children under twelve are not fingerprinted.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest for a final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. 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. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Note: According to the provisions of the Romanian adoption law, the adopted child may leave Romania only if accompanied by his/her adoptive parent(s).
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.
- 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.
A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. U.S. citizens are not required to obtain visas if their intended period of stay in Romania is 90 days or less. To find information about obtaining a visa for Romania, 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 the country. 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 Romania 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
We strongly urge you to comply with Romanian post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency should be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Romania’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.
Note: According to the provisions of the Romanian adoption law, in the case of intercountry adoption of a child habitually resident in Romania by a person or family habitually resident abroad, the Romanian Office for Adoptions is required to follow the child’s development and his/her relationship with his/her adoptive parent(s) for a period of at least two years after the adoption is granted. To comply with this requirement, the adoption service provider will be expected to send the Romanian Office for Adoptions a report of the child’s progress every four months until the two year period is completed.
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
Embassy of the United States of America
4-6, Dr. Liviu Librescu Blvd.
District 1, Bucharest
Tel: (+40) 21 200-3300
Fax: (+40) 21 200-3442
Main Embassy website
Consulate of the United States of America
4-6, Dr. Liviu Librescu Blvd.
District 1, Bucharest
Tel: (+40) 21 270-6000
Fax: (+40) 21 200-3505
E-mail Visas: VisasBucharest@state.gov
E-mail American Citizens: email@example.com
Romanian Adoption Authority
Romanian Office for Adoptions
47 Petofi Sandor Street
District 1, Bucharest
Tel: (+40) 21 230-1351
Fax: (+40) 230-1320
Note: Romania also has consulates in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
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-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)