Index of "International Adoptions Reports"
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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
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
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.
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
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
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
New York, N.Y. 10017
tel: (212) 490-7997
Consulate of Nicaragua
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
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.
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
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