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


     
                       INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION - HAITI
     
     
     
     
                                                                    
     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.
                                                                     
     
     GENERAL:   Haiti's adoption laws require that an adoption take
     place in Haiti before the child leaves. However, this has not
     been enforced since the September 1991 coup.   This situation
     could change at any time, with no notice.  The child must
     either be orphaned, abandoned, or authorized by a surviving
     parent to be adopted.  Adoptions must be approved by the
     Haitian court and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
     
     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 Haitian          Issued to Haitian
     Year       Orphans Adopted Abroad     Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1988            4                             36
     FY-1989            2                             78
     FY-1990            6                             58
     FY-1991            7                             42
     FY-1994           19                             43
     
     HAITIAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
     
     The Haitian courts issue adoption decrees, and the Ministry of
     Social Affairs provides authorization to adopt.  Both
     procedures are necessary.  The Haitian immigration authority
     requires passports for all Haitian children leaving the country.
     

     AGE AND CIVIL STATUS:
     
     Haitian law does not allow a single person to adopt.  A
     prospective adopting couple must have been married for at least
     ten years and have no offspring from that union.  However, any
     of these restrictions may be waived with permission from the
     Haitian president.  There are no age restrictions.
     
     RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS:
     
     Haitian courts and or social service authorities may require
     American prospective adoptive parent(s) to travel to Haiti
     before the adoption is finalized.
     
     ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS:
     
     Successful and speedier adoptions generally require the
     services of a Haitian attorney.  Lists of Haitian attorneys are
     available from the American Embassy or the Department of State,
     Office of Citizens Consular Services.  Adoptions are the
     concern of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research in
     Haiti.  
     
     HAITIAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES:
     
     The natural parent(s) must authorize adoption through the
     Haitian legal system.  The prospective adopting parent must
     obtain proper release from the surviving parent(s) or from
     whomever has legal custody of the child.  Since the September
     1991 coup overthrowing President Aristide, Haitian law
     requiring full adoption in Haiti has not been enforced.  The
     Haitian authorities could change this practice at any time,
     without notice.  Guardianship for the purposes of taking a
     child out of Haiti and adopting the child in another country is
     not possible.  
     
     TIME FRAME:
     
     The adoption process takes an average of 2 - 6 months, but may
     take more than a year.
     
     HAITIAN FEES:
     
     There are no specific Haitian fees for adoptions, although
     sometimes there are court expenses.  The approximate cost to
     adopt a child in Haiti is $3,000, with airfare additional, but
     costs vary from case to case.  Haitian law prohibits payment to
     the child's parent/guardian.


     HAITIAN DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS:
     
     Prospective adopting parents should have the following:
     -   birth certificates of adoptive parents
     -   marriage certificates
     -   if natural parents of child are deceased, their death 
         certificates
     -   birth certificate of child
     -   social history of child prepared by the Ministry of
         Welfare
     -   statement from a court, usually the Tribunal de Paix,
         acknowledging the validity of the documents.  Also, if 
         the natural parents are alive, a statement from the court 
         yielding legal custody to the adoptive parents.
     
     AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS:
     
     In addition, all foreign documents must be authenticated. 
     Generally, U.S. civil records, such as birth, death, and
     marriage certificates must bear the seal of the issuing office,
     then be authenticated by the state Secretary of State in the
     United States, then by U.S. Department of State Authentication
     Office, then by the Haitian Embassy or Consulate.  Tax returns,
     medical reports and police clearances should likewise be
     authenticated, beginning with the seal of a notary public in
     the United States or some appropriate issuing office.  The
     notary's seal should be authenticated by the clerk of court of
     the county where the notary is licensed or some similar
     authority.  The document should then be authenticated by the
     state Secretary of State, the U.S. Department of State
     Authentication Office, and the Haitian Embassy or Consulate. 
     The U.S. Department of State Authentication Office is located
     at 2400 M Street, N.W., Room 101, Washington, D.C.  20520,
     tel:  (202) 647-5002.  Walk-in service is available 8 a.m. to
     12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays.  The Department charges
     $4.00 per document for this service, payable in the form of a
     check drawn on a U.S. bank or money order made payable to the
     Department of State.  It is advisable to bring several copies
     of the completely authenticated documentation with you to Haiti.
     
     HAITIAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN U.S.:
     
     Embassy of Haiti
     Consular Section
     2311 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
     Washington, D.C.  20008
     tel:   (202) 332-4090
     
     Consulate General of Haiti
     Consular Section
     60 East 42nd Street
     New York, N.Y.  10017
     tel:   (212) 697-9767
     
     In addition, Haiti has honorary consuls located throughout the
     United States.

     U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS:
     
     Orphans adopted abroad who have been in the custody of the
     adoptive parents less than two years require orphan petitions
     for U.S. immigrant visa processing to enter the United States.
     
     Get Started Early With U.S. Immigration Procedure:
     
     Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that, whether they
     identify a child prior to leaving the U.S. or locate the child
     on a trip to Haiti, certain very time consuming processes will
     have to be completed before the required U.S. Immigration
     petition(s) (either the preliminary I-600A or the final I-600 
     petitions) can be approved.  These include, but are not limited
     to satisfactory completion and submission to INS of a home
     study of the adopting parent(s), compliance with any state
     pre-adoption conditions and a fingerprint check by INS of those
     parent(s), certified copy of prospective adoptive parents'
     birth certificate in U.S. or other evidence of U.S.
     citizenship; certified copy of marriage certificate (if
     applicable); certified copy of death certificate or divorce
     decree reflecting termination of previous marriage (if
     applicable).  It is therefore suggested that prospective
     adopting parents get in touch with the INS office having
     jurisdiction over their place or residence in the U.S. at the
     earliest opportunity.
     
     Unconditional Abandonment and Meeting the Definition of Orphan:
     
     U.S. law provides for the immigration of children adopted
     overseas by Americans under section 101(B)(1)(F) of the
     Immigration and Nationality Act.  The law states that an
     eligible child must be under the age of sixteen at the time the
     immigrant visa petition is filed.  The child must have no
     living parents or only one living parent who is incapable of
     providing for the child according to local living standards and 
     has irrevocably released the child for emigration and
     adoption.  A child with two living parents can meet the 
     definition of an orphan only through the disappearance of,
     abandonment or desertion by or separation or loss from both
     parents.  Abandonment of a child must be unconditional. 
     Agreeing to give a child up for adoption by a specific person 
     does not constitute unconditional abandonment, since the
     parents are giving up custody with the understanding that the
     child will be cared for and will be adopted by a particular
     individual.  The Board of Immigration Appeals of the U.S.
     Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has ruled that a
     child with one surviving parent who has not been abandoned may
     qualify for orphan status only if the sole surviving parent is
     destitute by local standards or is otherwise physically or
     mentally unable to care for the child.  This means that the
     child may not be classified as an orphan unless the sole or
     surviving parent cannot provide the child the nourishment and
     shelter necessary for subsistence consistent with the local 
     standards of the child's place of residence.  The parent must 
     also irrevocably release the child for emigration and
     adoption.  INS usually requires consular officers to
     investigate the parent's inability to care for the child.
     
     Consular Authority to Approve a Case:
     
     Under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), consular
     officers can only approve clearly approvable I-600 petitions. 
     If there are any questions regarding the eligibility for orphan
     status or whether petition conditions have been met, consular
     officers must refer these petitions to the nearest INS office.
     
     Taking the Child to the U.S.:
     
     The U.S. immigrant visa petition (I-600) may be filed for the
     child at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti or any INS
     office.  If it is filed at the Embassy, the petitioner (or at
     least one of the members of a married adoptive couple) and the
     child must be physically present in the consular district.  The
     I-600 is filed by one person, but if the petitioner is married,
     the petitioner's spouse must also sign the petition.  Both
     parties must sign the I-600 after the child has been
     identified.  This means that if one party has already gone
     abroad to arrange the adoption, the I-600 must be sent by the
     spouse abroad to the spouse in the United States (generally by
     express courier).  If the petitioner is married and his or her
     spouse has not seen the child before or during the adoption
     proceedings, then the child must be readopted in the U.S.  To
     do this, the petitioner must show he or she has met state
     pre-adoption requirements.  INS makes this determination at the
     time the I-600A is filed or it must be established that
     pre-adoption requirements have been met at the time of filing
     the I-600 at the Embassy.
     
     If the INS has already approved an I-600A advanced processing
     application, the I-600 petition may be filed and adjudicated at
     the post to which the I-600A was sent.  If advanced approval
     has not yet been granted, the I-600 petition must be forwarded
     to the INS for adjudication.  If so, as noted above, a home
     study and fingerprinting of parent(s) and any state
     pre-adoption requirements will be necessary, perhaps requiring
     several months.
     
     Scheduling Appointment With U.S. Consular Officer:
     
     It is advisable to contact the Consular Section of the U.S.
     Embassy in Port-au-Prince at least one day in advance to check
     that the documents are in order and to set an appointment for
     the immigrant visa interview.  The Embassy cannot guarantee
     issuance of the visa in advance of the interview.  If you are
     outside the U.S. and the child has completed his medical
     examination, you will have a preliminary interview with the 
     consular officer in order to complete form I-604 "Request for
     and Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation".  The child must 
     be present at the Embassy for the immigrant visa application. 
     The medical examination must be performed by a physician from
     an approved list of physicians using a specified form.  Unless
     special circumstances, such as a physical handicap, indicate
     the child's care will be particularly costly, the adopting
     parents will not be required to provide further proof of their
     financial situation, as this information will have already been
     provided at the time of petition (I-600A or I-600) approval.
     
     What Documents to Bring With You to U.S. Embassy:
     
     Note:  Since each case is different, it is possible that the
     Embassy will request additional documents after a preliminary
     review of the application of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
     
     For the immigrant visa application the child will need:
     
     1.  Certified copy of child's birth certificate issued by the
     civil registrar indicating the name of both parents if known.
     
     2.  If birth father, mother, or both are deceased, certified
     copy of death certificate issued by civil registrar or an
     extract (extrait) from the Haitian National Archives.
     
     3.  Relinquishment of parental rights executed before
     appropriate Haitian authority.
     
     4.  Adoption decree issued by a Haitian court if adopted in
     Haiti.
     
     5.  Valid Haitian passport.
     
     6.  Two 1 3/4 inch color visa photographs.
     
     7.  Medical examination (according to Embassy instructions). 
     If the minor has a physical or mental disability, a notarized
     statement will be required from the prospective adoptive
     parent(s) in the United States indicating that they are fully
     aware of the physical or mental disability of the minor and in
     spite of that fact that they have the intention of finalizing
     the adoption.  This statement can be included in item 19 of
     form I-600 and also in the home study if more convenient.  In
     that case a separate notarized statement will not be required.
     
     8.  In cases where the minor has not been seen or observed in
     person by the prospective adoptive parent(s), a notarized
     statement by those parents will be required indicating that
     although they have not seen or observed the minor in person,
     they are nevertheless willing to adopt or re-adopt the minor in
     the United States.  Both parties must sign the I-600 after the
     child has been identified.  This means that if one party has
     gone abroad to arrange the adoption, and the other remained in
     the U.S., the I-600 must be sent by one spouse to the other
     with the child's identity information completed and an original 
     signature of the spouse reflecting their concurrence with the
     procedure.  This is generally done by express courier in the
     interests of time.
     
     9.  Note:  There are no provisions in INS regulations for
     approving petitions signed by agents with powers of attorney. 
     Consequently, even if an agent is physically accompanying the
     child to the U.S., the petition itself must be signed by the
     adoptive parent(s), after the child has been identified.
     
     U.S. FEES:
     
     INS Fees for I-600 and I-600A Petitions:  There is a new fee
     schedule effective July 14, 1994 in the amount of $155 for an
     I-600 or I-600A petition.  If you have a valid I-600A and file
     an I-600 within one year of the approval of the I-600A, no fee
     will be charged for the I-600 provided you are only petitioning
     for one child or for siblings.  If you are petitioning for more
     than one child and the children are not siblings, the I-600 fee
     will be charged.
     
     U.S. State Department authentication fee:  If you are having
     documents authenticated by the Department of State
     Authentication Office, there is a fee of $4.00 per document.
     
     Medical Examination Fee:
     
     The adopted child must have a medical examination performed by
     one of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate's panel physicians before
     the immigrant visa can be issued.  The cost of this medical
     examination is approximately U.S. $12.00 and must be borne by
     the adoptive parent(s).
     
     U.S. Immigrant Visa Fee:  The fee for the immigrant visa is
     $200.00, $170.00 for the application fee and $30.00 for the
     visa itself, and may be paid either in U.S. dollars or local
     currency.  This $200 does not include medical examinations,
     costs of documents, the petition, etc.  The American Embassy
     does not accept personal checks or credit cards.
     
     ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
     
     Prospective adopting parents should consult INS publication No.
     M-249, "The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive 
     Children" and the Department of State information flyer
     "International Adoptions".
     

     AMERICAN EMBASSY ASSISTANCE:
     
     Upon arrival in Haiti to try to arrange an adoption, U.S.
     citizens should register at the American Embassy, Consular
     Section, American Citizens Services.  The Embassy will be able
     to provide information about any outstanding travel advisories
     and to provide other information about Haiti including lists of
     physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators.  The
     American Embassy Consular Section is located on Rue Oswald
     Durand, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  tel: 011-509-23-70-11;
     23-70-08; 23-64-21; 23-64-24 and 24-64-43.  Fax: 
     011-509-23-96-65.
     
     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Haiti 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.

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