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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Czech Republic
Bureau of Consular Affairs


     
                INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
     
                                                                     
     DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE
     LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED
     FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY.  QUESTIONS INVOLVING
     INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO
     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                                
     
     
     
     PLEASE NOTE
         Because of declining birth rates and other factors,
     international adoptions are very rare in the Czech Republic. 
     There are also no private adoption agencies, as Czech law only
     permits adoption via state authorities, which require their own
     home studies.  In the few cases which have been processed
     during the recent years, U.S. home studies were used as a
     supplement to rather than a replacement for the Czech
     evaluation of the suitability of a couple to be adoptive
     parents.  
         Adoptions by foreigners are technically possible under
     former Czechoslovak law, which still covers this issue. 
     However, only a very small number of children are available for
     adoption.  Since 1966 the Department of State has processed
     only four applications for immigrant visas for orphans of Czech
     nationality.
     
     
     GENERAL
         The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens who are
     interested in adopting a child in the  Czech Republic.  This
     process can be expensive, time-consuming and difficult,
     involving complex foreign and American legal requirements. 
     Adoptions are given careful consideration on a case-by-case
     basis by both foreign judicial authorities and American
     consular officers to ensure that the legal requirements of both
     countries have been met for the protection of the adoptive
     parent(s), the natural parent(s) and the child.  Interested
     Americans are strongly advised to read the following
     information carefully.  Contact the U.S. Immigration and
     Naturalization Service early in the process, before you have
     identified a specific child to adopt.  Contact American
     consular officials in the Czech Republic before formalizing an
     adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate visa procedures
     have been followed.
     
     
     AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION
         Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following
     pattern for visa issuance to orphans:
     
                  IR-3 Immigrant Visas       IR-4 Immigrant Visas
     Fiscal       Issued to Czech            Issued to Czech    
     Year         Orphans Adopted Abroad     Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1993              1                          0
     FY-1994              0                          0
     
     
     CZECH ADOPTION AUTHORITY
         There is no central office providing information on
     children available for adoption.  Persons wishing to find a
     child for adoption must contact local foster homes either
     personally or through an intermediary, such as a lawyer,
     relative or friend.
     
     
     CZECH ADOPTION PROCEDURES
         Once a child is located for adoption the following
     requirements must be met:
     
     1.  The child must be at least one year old and under the age
     of 18.
     
     2.  A written request must be presented to the appropriate
     guardian authority (usually the Department of Youth of the
     local town hall) which must give its consent.
     
     3.  Often a period of 3-24 months of pre-adoption care of the
     child by the adoptive parents is required.
     
     4.  The appropriate district courts have jurisdiction on
     decisions in child adoption cases.  The adoption of a Czech
     child normally must take place in the Czech Republic.
     

     TRANSLATION REQUIREMENTS
         Adopting parents are also required to present the following
     supporting documents translated into the Czech language and
     certified by the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C.:
     
     1.  Birth Certificates
     
     2.  Marriage Certificate
     
     3.  Police Certificates/Clearances
     
     4.  Medical Certificates/Clearances
     
     5.  Evidence of Employment and Financial Status
     
     6.  Completed Home Study
     
     
     CZECH EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN THE UNITED STATES
         The address of the Czech Embassy is as follows:
     
                   Embassy of the Czech Republic
                   3900 Spring of Freedom Street, N.W.
                   Washington, D.C.  20008
                   tel:  (202) 363-6315
                               363-6316
                   fax:  (202) 966-8540
     
     The Czech Republic also has consulates in the following U.S.
     cities:
     
                   Ft. Lauderdale, FL
                   Philadelphia, PA
     
     
     AMERICAN EMBASSY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
         The address of the American Embassy is as follows:
     Street Address                       Mailing Address
     
     U.S. Embassy                         U.S. Embassy
     American Citizen Services            American Citizen Services
     Trziste 15                           Unit 1330
     11801 Prague 1                       APO AE 09213-1330
     
     tel:  (42) (2) 2451-0847             fax:  (42) (2) 532-457
                           telex:  212196 AMEMBC
     

     WHAT TO BRING FOR YOUR NEW BABY/CHILD
         Since it is difficult to predict how long it may be
     necessary for you to remain in the Czech Republic with your
     adopted child, you may want to consider what articles you might
     want to bring with you.  You should be aware that not all U.S.
     style baby products are readily available abroad.  You may wish
     to consider bringing certain items with you.  These might
     include:
     
         - Plastic or cloth baby carrier
         - Bottle nipples
         - Disposable paper diapers
         - Baby wipes
         - Baby blankets
         - Infant wear
         - Thermos bottle, for hot water to prepare dry formula
         - Milk bottles (plastic, glass, and disposable)
         - Disposable plastic bags for milk bottles
     
     
     DOCTORS
         The U.S. Embassy/Consulates all maintain current lists of
     doctors and sources for medicines, should either you or your
     child encounter health problems while still in the Czech
     Republic.
     
     
     QUESTIONS
         Specific questions regarding adoptions in the Czech
     Republic may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S.
     Embassy or Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of
     Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S.,
     2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone
     (202) 647-2688 with specific adoption questions.  Recorded
     information concerning significant changes in adoption
     procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or
     by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested
     in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. 
     Information on immigrant visas is available from the State
     Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour
     automated system includes options to speak with consular
     officers during business hours for questions not answered in
     the recorded material.  Application forms and petitions for
     immigrant visas are available from the
     U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the nearest office
     of which is listed in the federal pages of your telephone book,
     under  U.S. Department of Justice.
     
         In addition, the State Department publishes Consular
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information
     Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing
     information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health
     conditions, political situations, and crime reports.  When
     situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department
     recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel
     Warning is issued.  Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel
     Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State
     Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is
     updated as new information becomes available.  In addition,
     this information is accessible through the automated fax
     machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13
     regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S.
     Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates
     abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting information,
     sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens
     Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of
     State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a
     computer and a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs
     Bulletin Board (CABB).  This service is free of charge, and may
     be reached at: (202) 647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and
     Travel Warnings may also be accessed by subscribers to many
     on-line services.  For complete information on accessing
     consular information via computer, please request document
     1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from the
     automated fax system, which is described in the preceding
     paragraph.
     
     APPLYING FOR U.S. CITIZENSHIP FOR AN ADOPTED CHILD
         Questions about naturalization of an adopted child as a
     U.S. citizen after the child has entered the United States
     should be addressed to the INS office with jurisdiction over
     the adoptive parent(s)' place of residence.  The process
     requires that INS Form N-643 Application for Certificate of
     Citizenship in behalf of an Adopted Child, be filed with the
     INS before the child is 18 years of age.
     
     
     CONCLUSION
         Interested Americans should be aware that the process of
     adopting a child in the Czech Republic and bringing the child
     to the U.S. may be time-consuming and difficult.  The American
     Embassy and Consulates General and the Department of State
     stand ready to assist adoptive parents, within the limits of 
     our authority.  U.S. citizens arriving abroad to finalize an
     adoption are advised to proceed carefully with all local
     foreign adoption procedures.  They should also work closely
     with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate throughout the adoption
     process to ensure that the child selected will qualify for U.S.
     immigration benefits and that all the necessary documents are
     in order.  
     
     
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