Hague Adoption Certificates and Hague Custody Declarations are issued by the Department of State in its role of U.S. Central Authority for the Convention. A Hague Adoption Certificate (HAC) certifies that the child has been completed in the United States in accordance with the Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA); a Hague Custody Declaration (HCD) states that custody of a child for purposes of adoption has been granted in the United States in accordance with the Convention and the IAA. Sometimes a U.S. State court grants custody of the child to the foreign adoptive parents in the United States for the purposes of a final adoption in the receiving country.
- The Hague Adoption Certificate entitles the adoption to recognition in the United States and other Convention countries.
- Once the receiving country has the Hague Custody Declaration, it may grant the final adoption and issue an Article 23 Convention certificate. Then the adoption is entitled to recognition in the receiving country and other Convention countries, including the United States.
How to Apply
- To apply for a Hague Adoption Certificate or Custody Declaration for a Convention adoption from the United States, please follow the steps below:Complete Form DS-5509 - Application for U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Custody Declaration
- Submit the complete Form DS-5509 and the official copies of the adoption court order to the Office of Children's Issues, Department of State.
NOTE: An official copy is one obtained directly from the State court authorities and which meets the applicable State authority’s authentication requirements, if any, for copies of court orders. The copy must be a true and legible copy of the original adoption or custody order signed by the adoption court judge. If there is any question about the authenticity of the official copy of the State court order, the Department will contact the appropriate State court administrative authorities directly to confirm that the order submitted to the Department is the same as the order actually issued in the case.
*Please note that supporting documents will not be returned. For this reason we recommend that applicants not submit original document
Express Mail Service or U.S. Postal Service
The address for courier (FedEx/UPS/DHL) and U.S. Postal Service use is:
U.S. Department of State
Office of Children's Issues, SA-29
Hague Adoption Unit (HAC/HCD)
2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 4th floor
Washington, D.C. 20037