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Jordan

Official Name: Jordan Last Updated: September 1, 2013

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Hague Adoption Convention Country? No

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  • Hague Convention Information

    Jordan is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

    Note:  Adoption is not allowed by the law of Jordan.  However, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) may grant guardianship of children to people who are not the child’s parents and who intend to adopt the child in a different country.  Custody and Alternative Families is a system followed in Jordan.  This system is similar to adoption, but differs in that it maintains the original parental relationship as mandated by Islamic Law.  This system is consistent with Jordanian Juvenile Law Number 24 of 1968 and amendments.

    U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

    To bring an adopted child to the United States from Jordan you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

    Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphanunder U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

  • Who Can Adopt

    Under Jordanian law, a child is considered to be “abandoned” if the child is placed in the care of the MSD and (1) the parents are unknown OR (2) the child is born out of wedlock.
    In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to obtain a guardianship in Jordan:

    • Residency:  None
    • Age of Parents:  The guardian father must be 35-55, and the guardian mother 30-50 years old. 
    • Marriage:  Jordanian law stipulates that all prospective parents for legal guardianship MUST be Muslim, married for five or more years, and medically certified as infertile in order to obtain legal guardianship in Jordan.  (In select situations, and on a case by case basis, non-Muslims may be granted guardianship/custody by a juvenile court order issued through the civil court).  Single persons cannot acquire legal guardianship of children in Jordan.  Same-sex marriages are not recognized in Jordan, and therefore same-sex couples cannot gain guardianship as a couple.  However, the Juvenile Jordanian Act provides that a child may be placed as a foster child with a single person (male or female), or with a family with children by a court order, with the specification that the child be taken care  of  as if they are in his or her biological family.
    • Income:  The guardians’ employer(s) must provide detailed information about their income and employment status, as explained below. 
    • Other:  The prospective family for legal guardianship may have up to two children total, including the child(ren) for the legal guardianship.  If the prospective guardians already have one child, then the Jordanian child legal guardianship must be of the same sex as that child.  Prospective guardian parents who have previously gotten legal guardianship in Jordan must wait a minimum of two years before seeking legal guardianship of another child of the same gender.  Prospective guardians who are U.S. citizens may also want to review the general information on Adoption of Children from Countries in which Islamic Shari'a law is observed
  • Who Can Be Adopted

    In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Jordan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

    • Relinquishment:  There is no relinquishment in Jordan.  The MSD considers all Jordanian children under its care as abandoned.
    • Abandonment:  The MSD considers all Jordanian children under its care as abandoned.  If the parents are unknown and the children are under the care of the MSD, they are considered abandoned.
    • Age of Adoptive Child:  MSD may give legal guardianship for a child of any age.
    • Sibling Adoptions:  No sibling legal guardianship exists in Jordan.
    • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  Children with special needs or medical conditions are eligible for guardianship.
    • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  The period depends on the child’s availability, and could take up to one year.

    Caution:  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable.  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 this becomes possible.  In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

  • How To Adopt

    Jordan’s Guardianship Authority
    Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family Directorate

    The Process

    The process for obtaining guardianship of a child from Jordan generally includes the following steps:

    1.  Choose an adoption service provider
    2.  Apply to be found eligible to adopt
    3.  Be matched with a child
    4.  Obtain guardianship of the child in Jordan
    5.  Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
    6.  Bring your child home
    7.  Adopt your child in the United States

    1.  Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The recommended first step in adopting a child from Jordan is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption.  Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate.  The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

    There are no adoption agencies in Jordan.  Under Custody and Alternative Families, Jordan does not permit adoptions.  In certain cases, the MSD will award guardianship of a child to people who are not the child’s parents.  The Embassy maintains a list of attorneys practicing in Jordan, which can be found on the U.S. Embassy’s web site at jordan.usembassy.gov.

    2.  Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    In order to obtain legal guardianship of a child from Jordan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Jordan and U.S. immigration law.  You must submit an application to be found eligible for a guardianship with the Jordanian MSD.

    There are two types of custody:

    • Custody inside Jordan:  For Jordanian or permanent resident families in Jordan, an application may be submitted to the Ministry of Social Development branch with jurisdiction in your place of residence, where all the procedures and required documents will be performed and given to the Ministry to make the decision according to the applicability of the conditions.
    • Custody outside Jordan:  Families living outside Jordan may submit a request to the Jordanian embassy in their country, where all the procedures and required documents will be performed and sent for the decision to be made by the MSD.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

    3.  Be Matched with a Child

    If you are eligible and a child is available for guardianship with the goal of completing an intercountry adoption, the MSD in Jordan will provide you with a referral.  Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.  The child must be eligible for guardianship according to Jordan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section.  The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.

    4.  Adopt or Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Jordan

    The process for obtaining legal custody in Jordan generally includes the following:

    • Role of Adoption Authority  MSD  is the authority in Jordan for legal guardianship, and its role may be summarized in the following points:
    •  
      • Receives the legal guardianship application from the prospective guardian family.
      • Conducts home study for the family.
      • Sends the legal guardianship application and the pertaining documents to the foster department for Ministry approval.
      • Puts the family on the waiting list.
      • When an appropriate child is available, the MSD will contact the family and give them an official letter to come see the child in the orphanage.
      • Sends an official letter to the Juvenile Court to issue an order to grant the family legal guardianship of the child.
      • Contacts the Ministry’s directorates in Jordan and the Jordanian embassies and consulates abroad to provide the Ministry with periodical reports on the welfare of the children.
    • Role of the Court:  After receiving an official letter from MSD’s Family and Children Section stating that the family has been granted legal guardianship, the Juvenile Court issues an order to give custody of the child to the family to take care of as their foster child. 
    • Role of Adoption Agencies:  There are no adoption agencies in Jordan.  Families work directly with MSD or through a specialized lawyer.
    • Adoption Application:  Applications for legal guardianship are available at the Ministry itself or in the Jordanian embassies and consulates abroad.  Unfortunately, the application is not yet available online.
    • Time Frame:  MSD reports that prospective guardianship parents can expect to wait an average of three months from the time they initiate contact with the MSD to when they are given custody of a child.
    • Adoption Fees:  The MSD does not charge any fees.  However, prospective guardian parents can expect to pay fees for the baby’s birth certificate, passport, and Family Book issuance.  The “Family Book,” issued by the Jordanian government, contains biographical information about each member of the family.  In the case of an abandoned child, the Family Book only contains the child’s fictitious name.  The fictitious name is explained below.  The fee for obtaining a Jordanian passport for a child (under 16) is 10 JD, for the birth certificate is 1 JD, and for the Jordanian family book is 2 JD.  More details about current fees and required documents can be found at the MSD website at cspd.gov.jo.  (Please note that this website is currently only in Arabic.)
    • Documents Required:  The following documents are required:
      • Copies of the marriage certificate
      • Copies of each prospective guardian’s valid passport
      • Social (home) study (forms will be provided through the Jordanian embassy in Washington)
      • Employment letters with detailed information about prospective guardian’s income, employment status, etc.
      • Original doctor’s reports about the health of both prospective guardians’ must also be provided, including medical proof of their infertility.
      • If a U. S. citizen is resident in Jordan, then these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified directly by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) Authentication Department, located in Jabal Amman, 3rd Circle, Amman.  The current fee for certifying documents is between 1-5 JD.
      • If either or both prospective guardians convert to Islam, a copy of the conversion certificate must be provided. 

    All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).

    Once received, an MSD committee reviews the request to foster a child.  If all conditions are met, the Minister of Social Development issues his/her approval or denial.  Foster parents are notified by mail that they are approved and invited to travel to Jordan to locate a child.  Couples who are approved will then be escorted to a government-run orphanage to choose from children whose parents are unknown.

    The MSD is the only entity authorized to grant guardianship through the Juvenile Court.  According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the guardianship of infants of unknown parentage, the guardian parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child.  The Ministry of Interior’s Department of Civil Status chooses fictitious first and last names for the unknown mother and father, which along with the child's first name, are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate.  These “fictitious names,” which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate.  The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father.  Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian Family Book and a Jordanian passport.  At this point, the guardian parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

    Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become guardians.  The pre-qualification process is similar to that in most U.S. states.  To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the appropriate authorities, based on the criteria below:

    1. Custody inside Jordan:  For Jordanians or permanent resident families in Jordan, an application may be submitted to the MSD branch with jurisdiction of their place of residence, where all the procedures and required documents will be completed and given to the MSD to make a decision.
    2. Custody outside Jordan:  Families living outside Jordan may submit a request to the Jordanian Embassy in their country, where all the procedures and required documents will be completed and sent to the MSD to make a decision.

    This request should include the following information: name, age, profession, and religion of both parents, plus their contact information, including full mailing address. Once the MSD has received and processed the request, it will direct the Jordanian Embassy in Washington (through the Foreign Ministry) to request additional documentation from the prospective foster parents. 

    Note:  Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic.  If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.

    5.  Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

    After you gain legal custody in Jordan, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.  You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.  Contact Amman’s USCIS Field Office directly at uscis.amman@dhs.gov .

    6.  Bring Your Child Home

    Once you gain legal custody of the child, you need to apply for several documents for the child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States to finalize the adoption:

    Birth Certificate
    If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.  You must obtain the new Jordanian birth certificate and Family Book from the Civil Status Department, Ministry of Interior. 

    Jordanian Passport 
    Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Jordan.  Use the birth certificate and Family Book to obtain a Jordanian passport for your child from the Civil Status and Passport Department.  The passport is usually issued the same day and costs 10 JD.

    How to obtain a Passport for your child in Jordan:
    Civil Status and Passport Department
    Ministry of Interior
    Jabal Amman, First Circle
    Zahran Street (behind Iraqi Embassy), Amman, Jordan
    Tel:  962-6-463-6378 (or 463-6370, 463-6379 or 464-4496

    Mailing address:
    Civil Status and Passport Department
    P.O. Box 3102
    Amman, Jordan

    U.S. Immigrant Visa
    After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Amman.  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. 

    You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Amman’s website, Amman-IV@state.gov

    Child Citizenship Act

    For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States:  A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

    For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States:  Now that you have acquired legal guardianship for your child, an adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

    *Please be aware that since your child does 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.

    Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

  • Traveling Abroad

    Applying for Your U.S. Passport
    U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. 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 a Visa to Travel to Jordan
    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 affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.  To find information about obtaining a visa for Jordan see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

    Staying Safe on Your Trip
    Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  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 enroll with the Department of State.  Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary.  Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Jordan, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

    Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

  • After Adoption

    After the child has immigrated to the United States, adoptive parents are required to inform the nearest Jordanian Embassy or consulate of any change in address.  This facilitates the follow-up that the MSD performs for all adopted Jordanian children abroad.

    We strongly urge you to comply with Jordanian law and to complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

    Post-Adoption Resources
    Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

    Here are some 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 Jordan
    al Umawayeen Street, Abdoun
    Tel:  962-6-590-6000
    Fax: 962-6-592-4102
    Email: Amman-IV@state.gov or ACSAmman@state.gov
    Internet: jordan.usembassy.gov

    Jordan’s Adoption Authority:  Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family and Childhood Section/Fostering Program
    P.O. Box 6720
    Arjan 11118
    Amman, Jordan
    Tel:  5679327
    Family Manager:  Ext. 399
    Custody Section:  Ext. 334
    Fax:  5679961
    Family Directorate Fax:  5694291

    Embassy of Jordan: Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
    3504 International Drive, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008
    Tel:  (202) 966-2664
    Fax:  (202) 966-3110
    Email:  HKJEmbassyDC@jordanembassyus.org
    Internet:  jordanembassyus.org

    Office of Children’s Issues
    U.S. Department of State
    CA/OCS/CI
    SA-17, 9th Floor
    Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
    Tel:  1-888-407-4747
    Email:  AskCI@state.gov
    Internet:  adoption.state.gov

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    For questions about immigration procedures:
    National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
    Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
    Internet:  uscis.gov

    For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
    National Benefits Center
    Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
    Email:  NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov