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Iceland

Official Name: Iceland Last Updated: March 1, 2009

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Hague Adoption Convention Country? Yes

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  • Hague Convention Information

    Iceland is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention ). Therefore all adoptions between Iceland and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

    Iceland is not considered a country of origin in inter-country adoption. While legally possible, inter-country adoption of an Icelandic orphan by foreigners is unlikely. No Icelandic orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in extremely rare adoption cases from Iceland, including adoptions of Icelandic children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Iceland.

  • Who Can Adopt

    Adoption between the United States and Iceland is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Iceland, you must first 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 prospective adoptive parents, Iceland also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

    • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS:
      • Prospective adoptive parents must be residents of Iceland or "have a special connection to the country" to be allowed to adopt children in Iceland
    • AGE AND MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS:
      • Applicants must be at least 25 years old, but not more than 45 years old;
      • Married couples or a male and a female that have lived together in a proxy marriage (cohabitation registered with the National Registry) for at least 5 years can adopt together;
      • One of the married individuals or a male/female in a proxy marriage can adopt the partner's child or foster child with the partner's permission;
      • One of the married individuals or a male/female in a proxy marriage can adopt a child without the partner's permission if the partner has vanished or his/her mental state would impede the adoption process;
      • Individuals can adopt children in special circumstances and if the adoption benefits the welfare of the child.
      • Same-sex couples can adopt (since 2006) as long as they fulfill all other requirements, such as length of marriage/ proxy marriage, age, health and no criminal record.
    • INCOME OR OTHER REQUIREMENTS:
      • Applicants must be in good mental and physical state;
      • Must not have a criminal record;
      • Must be able to financially support a family.
  • Who Can Be Adopted

    Because Iceland is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Iceland must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Iceland attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Iceland's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

  • How To Adopt

    Iceland's Adoption Authority

    The Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs - The National Commissioner on Adoptions.

    The Process

    Because Iceland is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Iceland must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

    NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Iceland before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions.  Learn more.

    1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
    2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
    3. Be Matched with a Child
    4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
    5. Adopt the Child in Iceland
    6. Bring your Child Home
    1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

      The first step in adopting a child from Iceland is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Iceland. Learn more.
    2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

      After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

      Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Iceland. Iceland's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Iceland's law.

    3. Be Matched with a Child:

      If both the United States and Iceland determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Iceland may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

      After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.

      After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Iceland's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

      Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

    5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-country:

      Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Iceland, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Iceland.

      The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Iceland generally includes the following:

      • ADOPTION APPLICATION AND ROLE OF ADOPTION AUTHORITY : The first step to adopt a child is to apply for a pre-approval from The National Commissioner on Adoptions. Applicants can get the application forms on the Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs website . Then they return the forms to "slensk Ættleiðing (Icelandic Adoption Society -IAS) and the agency will send the forms to The National commissioner on adoptions and attach necessary documents. Please see the Required Documents section below.

        The application with attached documents is sent to The National Commissioner on Adoptions which then asks the social services and the child protection agency in the applicants' home town to give a report about the applicant's home and family environment. An employee from social services will contact the applicant and do a home study. This report is sent to the ministry which will take the decision based on this report. If the pre-approval is granted, then it is sent in English to IAS and the applicant gets a copy. The approval notice, which is valid for two years, will state that the applicant is permitted to adopt a child from a specific third country.
      • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: "slensk Ættleiðing (Icelandic Adoption Society) is the only adoption agency in Iceland. Please see their website (only in Icelandic): http://www.isadopt.is
      • TIME FRAME: The pre-approval process, described below, will take three to six months. The length of time to adopt in a third country will depend on the child's country of origin.
      • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
        • Application for pre-approval, Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs - The National Commissioner on Adoptions. Skuggasundi, 150 Reykjavík. Telephone: 354-545-9000. Opening hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30 - 16.00.
        • Birth certificate from applicant;
        • Information about applicant on this form. (1. Re Application For Permission to Adopt. 2. Re Application for Pre-Approval)
        • Marriage certificate or certificate that proves proxy marriage of applicant;
        • Certificate from the National Registry to show how long applicants have been living together. Marriage must have lasted at least three years and Proxy Marriage at least five years. The certificate can be sought at the National Registry in Iceland, Borgartúni 21a, 104 Reykjavík. Telephone: 354-569-2900. Business hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30-16:00;
        • Police certificates from countries prospective adoptive parents resided for 3 months after the age of 16;
        • Information about the applicant's health on the Information on Health Re application for Pre-Approval to Adopt a Child form;
        • Doctors certificate for the adopting parent. Here you can get the Medical Certificate for Prospective Adoption Parent form, needs to be filled out by a doctor and the applicant;
        • Certified copy of tax returns for the last two years.

        The documents referenced above can be sought in Icelandic at http://www.domsmalaraduneyti.is/raduneyti/starfssvid/aettleidingar.

        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 more.

    6. Bring 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 three 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.

        To obtain a new birth certificate for the adopted child, please contact Iceland's national Registry:

        The National Registry (Thjodskra)
        Borgartun 24,
        105 Reykjavik,
        Iceland.
        Phone #354-569-2900,
        www.Thjodskra.is
        Opening hours are from 8:30 - 16:00
        Phone hours from 9:00 - 16:00,
        The fee is Icelandic kronur 900,00

      • Iceland Passport
        Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Iceland.

        To obtain a Passport for the child in Iceland please contact The District Commissioner in Kopavogur.

        The District Commissioner in Kopavogu ( Sýslumaðurinn í Kópavogi)
        Dalvegi 18
        201 Kópavogur - Map
        Tel.+354-560-3000;
        Fax +354-560-3090
        Netfang kopavogur@syslumenn.is
        Opening hours are from 9:00 to 15:30.
        Phone hours are from 8:30 to 16:00

      • U.S. Immigrant Visa
        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. 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-800 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.

    Child Citizenship Act

    For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

    For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

    *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.

  • Traveling Abroad

    Applying for Your U.S. Passport

    A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Iceland. 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 Wizard will 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 may 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 Iceland, 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 Iceland, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

    Registration is free and can be done online.

  • After Adoption

    Iceland does not have any post-adoption or post-placement reporting requirements at this time.

    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.

  • Contact Information

    U.S. Embassy in Iceland
    Laufasvegur 21,
    101 Reykjavik, Iceland
    Tel: (354) 562-9100
    E-mail: reykjavikconsular@state.gov

    Iceland's Adoption Authority
    The Ministry of Judicial and Ecclesiastical Affairs
    Arnarhvall on Lindargata
    150 Reykjavik, Iceland
    Tel: 011-354-560-9010
    Fax: 011-354-552-7340
    E-mail: postur@dkm.stjr.is
    Internet: www.stjr.is.

    Embassy of Iceland
    1156 15 th Street N.W., Suite 1200
    Washington, D.C. 20005-1704
    Tel.: (202) 265 6653
    E-mail: icemb.wash@mfa.is

    Iceland also has a Consulate General in New York and honorary consulates around the United States.

    Office of Children's Issues
    U.S. Department of State  
    CA/OCS/CI  
    SA-17, 9th Floor
    Washington, DC 20522-1709
    Tel: 1-888-407-4747
    E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
    http://adoption.state.gov

    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)