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


     
                     INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION - NICARAGUA
     
     
                                                                     
     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:    Nicaraguan law allows only for the adoption of
     children by Nicaraguan citizens or permanent residents of
     Nicaragua.  In very limited situations in the past a few
     exceptions have been allowed where Nicaraguan authorities have
     found that such adoptions appear to be in the child's best
     interest.  Full adoptions must take place in Nicaragua. 
     Generally, it is not possible to obtain guardianship of a child
     to be adopted abroad.  Prospective adoptive parents must have a
     permanent residence in Nicaragua and must plan to stay in the
     country until the child becomes an adult though these
     restrictions may be waived.  
     
     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 Nicaraguan          Issued to Nicaraguan
     Year       Orphans Adopted Abroad        Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1993             8                            0
     FY-1994            18                            0
     
     
     NICARAGUAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
     
     The Government of Nicaragua Social Security and Welfare
     Institution (INSSBI) is responsible for abandoned children as
     well as adoptions.
     
     NICARAGUAN ADOPTIONS PROCEDURES:  The child must be either
     orphaned or abandoned to qualify for adoption.  A child is
     considered an orphan if the parent(s) registered on the birth
     certificate is/are deceased.  Parental abandonment must be an
     unconditional and irreversible break with the child.  A child
     is not considered to be abandoned if INSSBI is able to place
     the child in the custody of a relative.  The adoption must take
     place in Nicaragua before the child leaves the country.  


     RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS:
     
     According to Nicaraguan law, prospective adoptive parents must
     either be Nicaraguan citizens or have permanent residence in
     Nicaragua and plan to remain in Nicaragua until the child
     reaches the age of majority.  Some requirements regarding
     residence and plans have been waived in some cases.
     
     AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS:
     
     All foreign documents presented to the INSSBI in support of an
     adoption must be authenticated, translated, and certified.  The
     required documents are: 1)parents' birth certificates,
     2) parents' marriage certificate, 3) a certificate stating that
     the parents are in good health, 4) economic information
     5) a "psycological-social" study and 6) three photographs of
     each parent.
     
     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, the U.S. Department of State Authentication
     Office, and the Nicaraguan 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 Nicaraguan 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 from
     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 Nicaragua.
     
     ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS: 
     
     The adoptive parents must work directly with the INSSBI until
     the final stage of the adoption.  Once the INSSBI authorizes
     the adoption, the adopting parents may hire a lawyer to
     complete the adoption procedures.  Adoptions arranged by
     foreigners directly with the birth parents or private
     orphanages whether personally or through the offices of an
     attorney or adoption agency are almost universally disapproved
     by INSSBI.  Though in some cases local attorneys have managed
     to obtain court decrees for such arrangements, these adoptions
     are not valid under Nicaraguan law without INSSBI approval. 
     Lists of attorneys are available from the American Embassy or
     the Department of State, Office of American Citizens Services.
     

     TIME FRAME:  The actual adoption process takes approximately
     six months.
     
     TRAVEL OF THE CHILD:  The child may not travel until all
     adoption procedures are final.
     
     
     NICARAGUAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN U.S.:
     
     Embassy of Nicaragua
     1627 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C.  20009
     tel:   (202) 939-6570
     
     Embassy of Nicaragua
     820 2nd Avenue
     Suite 801
     New York, N.Y.  10017
     tel:   (212) 490-7997
     
     Consulate of Nicaragua
     61 Broadway
     Suite 2529
     New York, N.Y.  10006
     tel:   (212) 344-4491
     
     
     Scheduling Appointment With U.S. Consular Officer:  It is
     advisable to contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy
     in Managua 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.
     
     3.  Decree of Abandonment by INSSBI.
     
     4.  Adoption decree issued by a Nicaraguan court.
     
     5.  Authorization from a Judge to permit the minor to leave
     Nicaragua.
     
     6.  Valid Nicaraguan passport.
     
     7.  Three 1 3/4 inch color visa photographs.
     
     8.  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.
     
     9.  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.

     10.  In the case of a minor taken to the United States by a
     third party, for example a legal representative or social
     assistant of an adoption agency or other entity, a notarized
     statement will be required authorizing that person to take the
     minor to the United States with the purpose of placing him/her
     with the prospective adoptive parent(s).  This statement can
     also be included in the Judge's authorization for the child to
     leave Nicaragua.  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 an INS fee
     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. $20.00
     and must be borne by the adoptive parent(s).
     
     U.S. Immigrant Visa Fee:  The fee for the immigrant visa is
     $200.00 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 Nicaragua to try
     to arrange an adoption, U.S. citizens should register at the
     American Embassy, Consular Section, American Citizens
     Services.  To avoid problems, it is always best for prospective
     adoptive parents to check with the consular section when they
     begin the process.  The Embassy will be able to provide
     information about any outstanding travel advisories and to
     provide other information about Nicaragua including lists of
     physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators.  The
     American Embassy is located at KM 4 1-2, Carretera, Sur,
     Managua, Nicaragua.  tel: 666-010 or 666-015.
     
     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Nicaragua
     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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