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GuyanaOfficial Name: Guyana Last Updated: September 1, 2010
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Hague Adoption Convention Country? No
Hague Convention Information
Guyana is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Guyana did not change.
Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to United States from Guyana, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. government. The U.S. government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Guyana also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
- RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) must travel to Guyana at least twice: once to file the application for adoption and meet with the Child Protection Agency (CCPA), and again during the pre-adoption placement bonding period and subsequent Guyanese Court proceeding (which can last at least three months). The High court may waive the requirement of the pre-adoption placement bonding period if the prospective adoptive parents are Guyanese nationals adopting a relative.
- AGE REQUIREMENTS: Any person 18 to 65 years old can apply to adopt a child in Guyana as long as the minimum age gap between adoptive parents and child is 17-years and the maximum age gap is 50 years.
- MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both married and single individuals can adopt in Guyana.
- INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must prove financial stability.
- OTHER REQUIREMENTS: While there are no specific medical ineligibilities, each potential adoption is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Prospective adoptive parents’ medical conditions may factor into that evaluation. There are no laws barring lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, or intersex individuals from adopting in Guyana. However, same sex marriage is not permitted in Guyana.
Who Can Be Adopted
In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements imposed by Guyana:
- Relinquishment: Birth parents or guardians of a child may relinquish a child for adoption. Consent of each birth parent or guardian of the child is required.
In addition, every person who has been ordered by a court to maintain the child or who has entered into an agreement to maintain the child must consent to the adoption.
- Abandonment: Children who have been abandoned, neglected, or mistreated by their birth parents may become available for adoption.
- Death: Children whose birth parents are deceased may also be available for adoption.
- Age and Residence of Adoptive Child: The child must be unmarried and under 18 years old at the time of adoption, and living in Guyana.
- Sibling Adoptions: Siblings may be adopted together, provided that they are all unmarried, residing in Guyana, and are less than 18 years of age.
- Special Needs or Medical Conditions: There is no provision in Guyana’s law giving preference to adoptions of children with special and/or medical needs.
- Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is a mandatory three month bonding period prior to the adoption order being granted. However, the High court may waive the bonding period if the prospective adoptive parents are Guyanese nationals adopting a relative.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
How To Adopt
GUYANA'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY
Adoption Board, Ministry of Labor, Human Services and Social Security
The process for adopting a child from Guyana generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child in Guyana
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider: Before taking steps to adopt a child from Guyana, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Unless an exception applies, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA. Your primary provider is responsible for:
- Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
- Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
- Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.
- For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt: To bring an adopted child from Guyana to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Guyana as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
Prospective adoptive parents must apply in person to the Adoption Board ("the Board"). The application form, First Schedule, consist of two parts, Form A and Form B. Form A is completed and signed by the prospective adoptive parents and consists of biographical data for the applicants and prospective child. It also includes references for the prospective adoptive parents. Form B is a medical certificate for the child or children to be adopted, which must be completed by a duly qualified medical practitioner. Prospective adoptive parents must obtain these forms in person from the Board.
When the prospective adoptive parents file the First Schedule, they will received an acknowledgement slip with an appointment date for the initial adoption interview. The prospective adoptive parents, child, and biological parents must appear before the Board at the interview. The appointments are usually scheduled within 4-6 weeks after the application is filed. The Board will undertake a request for an expedited appointment but it is not guaranteed.
A social worker interviews the birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, and children separately at the initial adoption interview. At the conclusion of the interview, assuming a signed and witnessed consent is obtained from the biological parents, or, if absent, the Board is satisfied that the birth parent(s) cannot be located, the prospective adoptive parents are given an informational letter from the Board. This letter provides instructions for the prospective adoptive parents' attorney to begin preparing the court papers for the adoption process. Two copies of this letter must also be filed in the High Court by the attorney for the applicants, along with an application to appoint the Board guardian ad litem of the child. Obtaining the order may take up to six months depending on the attorney's skill and the court calendar.
- Be Matched with a Child: If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Guyana will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child. The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Guyana's requirements, as described in the Who Can Adopt section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.
The Adoption Board will grant guardian ad litem (also called first order) to the prospective adoptive parents, then, the Board conducts a more thorough investigation of the case. The investigation includes a visit by an officer of the Board to the home of the prospective adoptive parents to ensure that the welfare of the child is being met. If the child does not live with the prospective adoptive parents, a probationary period is allowed for bonding between the prospective adoptive parents and the child. The bonding period must take place in Guyana. The Board receives a report of the investigation. In addition to the investigation, a home study must be conducted by a certified social worker.
After the investigation is complete and the home study received by the Board, the case is placed on the Adoption Board's calendar. Cases are usually scheduled 2-3 months in advance. The prospective adoptive parents, children, and birth parents are required to be present for the meeting. The prospective adoptive parents must also be physically present in Guyana at least one month prior to the Board meeting. The Adoption Board meets on the last Wednesday of every month, except December, at 1:30 pm. The social worker's report based on the investigation and home study is discussed and the Board seeks a consensus. A decision in favor of the prospective adoptive parents would be followed within a week by a recommendation (Form C) of the case to the High Court for the making of a Final Order. The Board can defer a case until it is fully convinced about the competence of the applicant, or can reject it because there are no justifiable grounds for the adoption. At a later date the parties involved will be given notice to attend court before a judge in chambers for the issuance of the Final Order. Once the Final Order is issued, a copy of the child's Adoption Certificate can be obtained from the office of the Registrar General.
- Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Guyana: The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Guyana generally includes the following:
- ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The CCPA conducts their assessment of the child’s availability for adoption and forwards a report to the Guyana Adoption Board. The Board recommends whether the adoptive placement should be approved.
- Receive applications for adoptions
- Conduct investigations concerning the adoption of the child for consideration to the Guyana Adoption Board and/or the Court
- Act as guardian ad litem of the child
- Appoint licensed social workers to visit the child during the period of bonding with the prospective adopted parent/s
- Role of the Court:
- The High Court has jurisdiction over all adoptions in Guyana. If the Guyana Adoption Board is satisfied the prospective adoptive parents can be entrusted with the care and possession of the child, the Court will appoint the CCPA as guardian ad litem and the prospective adoptive parents as temporary custodians of the child. After the preplacement bonding period expires (three months), the parties involved will be given notice to attend court before a judge in chambers who will review the relevant case facts and determine if the Adoption Order should be issued.
- Only the High Court may waive the pre-adoption placement requirement if the prospective adoptive parents are Guyanese nationals adopting a relative.
- ADOPTION APPLICATION: Adoption applications are submitted to the CCPA.
- TIME FRAME: Adoptions in Guyana typically take one year to complete.
- ADOPTION FEES: There are no government fees for adoption services in Guyana. Legal fees, which are inclusive of court costs, ranges from US$1,000.00 – US$2,500.00. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that attorneys determine the fees for legal services rendered.
- Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Guyana, with your adoption service provider. Please also refer to information concerning the Hague Complaint Registry. Improper payments may have the appearance of buying a child, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in Guyana at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. Further, the UAA and IAA make it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing competent authority functions. In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following certified documents are required for adoptions in Guyana:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Bank statements
- Employment verification
- Police clearance
- Home study
- National identity cards or passports (if non-Guyanese)
- In addition to the above documents for prospective adoptive parents', the following documents pertaining to the child are needed for the initial adoption interview:
- Death Certificate, if biological parents are deceased
- Child's birth certificate
- Most recent school records
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption: After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Guyana, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.
6. Bringing Your Child Home: Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
- Birth Certificate
- You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
- Guyanese Passport
- Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Guyana.
- U.S. Immigrant Visa
- The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens adopting a child in Guyana, with the intent of applying for an immigrant visa for the child to enter the United States. This process involves complex foreign and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officer give each petition careful consideration on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both countries have been met, for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the biological parent(s), and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular official in Guyana before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.
- After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. Prospective adopting parents should contact the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown by phone 592- 225-7965/7966 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as they begin the adoption process to obtain information on applying for the visa. The Consular Section tries to work with adopting parents to schedule an appointment as expeditiously as possible, but we cannot guarantee an appointment if the adopting parents have not contacted us before they travel to Guyana. Once parents contact the Consular Section, they are sent a tip sheet on assembling documents for the visa appointment.
- Documents needed for the visa appointment include:
- Birth, marriage, and divorce certificates for adopting parents
- Recently issued birth certificate for the child
- Guyanese police certificate for children over age 16 (please note that children over the age of 16 are unlikely to meet the definition of an orphan as defined by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, unless the child was adopted prior to age 16)
- Visa photos for child
- $335 for each visa
- Medical exams for the child
- I-864 Affidavit of Support from parents who will adopt the child in the U.S. (children adopted abroad by American citizens qualify for the Child Citizenship Act and do not require the I-864)
After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.
Note: Visa issuance after the interview and approval generally takes 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide a visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.
CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.
APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Guyana. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.
OBTAINING YOUR VISA
In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Guyana, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.
The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Guyana, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
- What does Guyana require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
- There are no post-adoption requirements for Guyana.
- What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
- Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
- What does Guyana require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Guyanese Adoption Authority
Adoption Board, Ministry of Labor, Human Services and Social Security
1 Water and Cornhill Streets
Embassy of Guyana
2490 Tracy Place, NW,
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202-265-3834; 202-265-6900
Consulate General of Guyana
370 7th Avenue, Room 402
New York, N.Y. 10001
Tel: 212-947-5115; 212-947-5116
*Guyana also has honorary consulates in Los Angeles, Miami, East Chicago, and Waco(TX).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)