image of Latvia's flag

Latvia

Official Name: Latvia Last Updated: January 18, 2017

Hague Adoption Convention Country? Yes

Expand All
  • Hague Convention Information

    Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting from the United States.  We urge prospective adoptive parents to consult with the Latvia’s central authority, Ministry of Welfare, to determine whether the Convention applies to an adoption from the United States.

    Latvia is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention).  Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Latvia.

    Prospective adoptive parents who have both Latvian and U.S. citizenship, who are residing in Latvia, and who plan for their adopted child to immediately acquire U.S. citizenship are strongly encouraged to follow the Hague Adoption Convention process requirements set forth below. 

    Prospective adoptive parents who adopt a Latvian child through the domestic Latvian adoption process are cautioned that the child will generally not be eligible for immigration to the United States immediately following the adoption.  Children adopted through the Latvian domestic process may only be eligible for U.S. immigration benefits after their adoptive parents can demonstrate that the adoption took place before the child’s 16th birthday and that he/she has lived in their legal custody and joint residence, outside the United States, for at least two years.  Please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for more information on the immediate relative immigration process. 

    Note:  If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption:  1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying Latvia as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Latvia or; 3) the adoption was completed.  Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees.  For more information, read about Transition Cases.  Please contact adoptionusca@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

    U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

    To bring an adopted child to the United States from Latvia, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), determines who can adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

    Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

  • Who Can Adopt

    In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Latvia must meet the following requirements of Latvia:

    • Residency:  Latvian adoption law requires that a parent-child relationship be established between the party seeking to adopt and the child before the final court decision can be made, by the town or city court having jurisdiction over the child.  This is done by sharing a household in Latvia for period of time determined by each orphan court on a case-by-case basis.  Adoptive parents are advised that orphan courts may require them to take care of the adoptive children and share a household in Latvia for a certain amount of time, not to exceed six months, before it can finalize the adoption
    • Age of Adopting Parents:  Latvia requires that the adoptive parent be at least 25 years old and at least 18 years older than the adoptive child.
    • Marriage:  There is no marriage requirement: married couples, as well as single individuals, are eligible to adopt.  Please note that Latvian law does not recognize same-sex marriage.
    • Income:  Latvia does not have any specific income requirements for intercountry adoptions. 
    • Other:  To determine if a parent-child relationship exists and whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest, Latvian orphan courts have the authority to require that adoptive parents take care of the adoptive child(ren) and share a household in Latvia for a set amount of time, not to exceed six months.  Once the orphan court rules in favor of an approved adoption, subsequent trips for adoption approval by court and immigrant visa processing range from two weeks to two months.  
  • Who Can Be Adopted

    Because Latvia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Latvia must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption.  For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Latvia have determined that placement of the child within Latvia has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

    • The Latvian government has stated that it will only approve applications for intercountry adoption if the prospective adoptive parents seek to adopt:

    a) a sibling group of three (3) or more children;

    b) a child over age nine (9);

    c) a child with severe health problems;

    d) a child released for intercountry adoption by the Ministry of Welfare because he or she has not been adopted by Latvians; or

    e) any adoptable child, regardless of the child’s age or health condition, if at least one of prospective adoptive parents is a Latvian citizen or holds Latvian non-citizen resident (alien) status.

    In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a child must meet the following requirements of Latvia:

    • Abandonment:  Abandoned children’s parents have willfully forsaken all parental rights, obligations, and claims to the child, as well as all control over and possession of the child, without intending to transfer, or without transferring, these rights to any specific person(s).  The actual act of surrendering such rights, obligations, claims, control, and possession is documented by the orphan court with jurisdiction over the child’s residence.  A child who is placed temporarily in an orphanage or foster care is not considered eligible for adoption if his/her parents express an intention to retrieve the child, are contributing or attempting to contribute to the support of the child, or otherwise exhibit ongoing parental interest in the child.  The orphan court with jurisdiction over the child’s orphanage or foster family monitors the parent-child relationship and has the authority to extend or fully terminate the rights of biological parent(s) within one year from the date when the child is removed from their care.  Once the abandonment and termination of all parental rights is documented by the orphan court, the child becomes eligible for adoption.
    • Relinquishment:  The relinquishment or release of the child by the parent to a third party for custodial care in anticipation of, or preparation for, adoption is not allowed by Latvian laws.  Local law, however, allows biological parents to appoint another person legal guardian of their child(ren) or, with orphan court involvement, place their child(ren) in an orphanage or a foster family.  Both the appointed legal guardian(s) and foster parent(s) subsequently may acquire the right to apply for adoption of the child(ren) in their care. 
    • Age of Adoptive Child:  Latvia will approve applications for intercountry adoption only if the prospective adoptive parents file to adopt a sibling group of three or more children below the age of 18; a single child over age 9; a child(ren) below the age of 18 with severe health problems; child(ren) below the age of 18 listed in the web site of Latvia’s Central Authority as released for intercountry adoption because he or she has not been adopted by Latvians; or any adoptable child regardless of child’s age or health condition if at least one of potential adoptive parents is a Latvian citizen or holds Latvian non-citizen resident (alien) status.  Local adoption law requires that the adoption is finalized before the child’s 18th birthday.

    Please note that in order for a child to meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).  Please note the special rules and instructions on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18). 

    • Sibling Adoptions:  Latvia will approve applications for intercountry adoption if the prospective adoptive parents file to adopt a sibling group of three or more children.
    • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  Latvia will approve applications for intercountry adoption if the prospective adoptive parents specify in their adoption application that they are open to adopt child(ren) with severe health problems.  Children with special needs or medical conditions who are released for intercountry adoption are listed in the publicly available web site of Latvia’s Central Authority
    • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  Latvia’s Central Authority will review your adoption application within three business days.  To establish that child-parent relationship has developed and to ascertain that the adoption is in the best interests of the child(ren), orphan courts require that prospective adoptive parents share a household with their potential adoptive child(ren) in Latvia for a period of up to six months.  The time needed to complete an adoption in Latvia from beginning to end varies and may take about one year.
    • Other:  None

    Caution:  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible 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 this becomes 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

    Warning:  Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Latvia before:  1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 3) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case.  Read on for more information.

    Latvia’s Central Adoption Authority

    Ministry of Welfare

    Note:  Special transition provisions may apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.  Read about Transition Cases.

    The Process

    Because Latvia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Latvia must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.  A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below.  You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements.  Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

    Expand All
    • 1: Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider that Has Bee Authorized by Latvia's Central Authority to Operate in Latvia

      • The first step in adopting a child from Latvia is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases and that has been authorized by the Government of Latvia.  A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case.  Your primary adoption service 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.
        • Learn more about Agency Accreditation
      • You must select an accredited or approved U.S. adoption service provider that is authorized by the Republic of Latvia.  A list of the providers that have received Latvian authorization is posted on the U.S. Embassy’s website https://lv.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/adoption/accredited-adoption-service-providers/.
      • Note to adoption service providers seeking authorization by the Latvian Central Authority: 
      • Adoption service providers seeking authorization to provide adoption services in Latvia should apply directly to the Ministry of Welfare by submitting a request in the form of a letter with reference to Article 12 of the Hague Adoption Convention.  The letter should be accompanied by the Convention member state country’s Certificate of Accreditation. A copy of the adoption service provider’s license and evaluation documentation should be attached to the letter.  The application letter should certify that the adoption service provider is aware that Latvia restricts the categories of children available for intercountry adoption (see above Hague Convention Information) and specify whether the adoption service provider seeks to assist in all types of cases or just one. If required by the Ministry of Welfare, applying adoption service providers should also submit letter of verification of accreditation/approval by U.S. State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues.
    • 2: Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt  

      • Before the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), adoption service providers in intercountry adoption were exclusively regulated by state law.
      • State licensing authorities in the 50 states have different standards; some have few specific standards governing intercountry adoptions, especially relating to agencies’ conduct abroad.
      • Many state licensing authorities have been unable to hold service providers accountable for illicit practices in intercountry adoption cases.  State laws may not apply to the activities of licensed agencies outside the United States, and states often lack the resources to investigate and take action against agencies involved in such cases.
      • The UAA provides for uniform standards and accountability for service provider conduct regardless of whether the case falls under the Hague Adoption Convention or under the orphan process.
    • 3: Apply to Latvia’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

      • Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority 
      • After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will file your Latvian adoption application with the adoption authority in Latvia. In Latvia, your dossier must include your adoption application as well.  Latvia’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Latvia’s law.  Required documents for the adoption application include:
        • Application, including information about the reasons for adoption as well as information about the sex, age range, and religion of the child (or children) they are interested in adopting;
        • A copy of the parents’ marriage certificate, if applicable, notarized and then authenticated with an Apostille (please see information below about the authentication of documents);
        • A copy of any divorce decree (if applicable) notarized and then authenticated with an Apostille;
        • A statement about the family’s housing (i.e. size, location, type of residence);
        • An autobiography (or curriculum vitae) for each parent;
        • Medical statements regarding the health of the family (hereditary illnesses, if any, and any specific illnesses) for prospective adoptive parents and for each adult household member;
        • A home study, notarized and then authenticated with an Apostille, conducted by a U.S. state adoption agency or a private organization licensed to perform such studies.  Home studies must be current in order for the adoption application to be considered.  Home study updates should be forwarded to the Ministry for applications to remain valid;
        • A police background check for prospective adoptive parents and for each adult household member that has been notarized and then authenticated with an Apostille.
      • Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority 
      • If both the United States and Latvia determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Latvia’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Latvia may provide you with a referral for a child.  The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child.  The adoption authority in Latvia will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not.  We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child.  Learn more about Health Considerations.  If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the central authority in Latvia.  Learn more about this critical decision
      • After receiving and accepting a match, the orphan courts in Latvia require the prospective adoptive parents to personally meet the child and establish a parent-child relationship.  There is a required initial in-country phase of pre-adoption care that may be anywhere from three weeks to two months, though by law the court may require a pre-adoption care period of up to six months.  If, after the initial pre-adoption care term, the orphan court concludes that there is a potential for a parent-child relationship and that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, the court will issue temporary custody decisions that allow the adoption to continue. 
      • At the request of prospective adoptive parents, the Latvian orphan court may permit the prospective adoptive parents to travel with the child to the United States for a limited visitation period prior to the finalization of the adoption.  The duration of the visitation period is dictated by the Latvian orphan court.  Prospective adoptive parents that are granted pre-adoption visitation periods in the United States may apply for a B-2 visitor visa for the child and must present the custody order from the orphan court in support of this application.  The B-2 visitor visa is not an immigrant visa and its validity is only valid for the duration of the court-authorized visitation period.  Prospective adoptive parents must still complete the following steps in order to complete the adoption.  Failure to return to Latvia to complete the Convention adoption process and immigrant visa process would have serious implications on your child's immigration status in the United States, and may restrict your child's ability to obtain lawful permanent status in the United States.
    • 4: Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

      • Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility 
      • After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States through the Form I-800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.  USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to enter and reside in the United States.
      • For Latvian cases, you should file the Form I-800 only after the required initial pre-adoption care period in Latvia is concluded and the orphan court allows the adoption process to continue.  If the Latvian orphan court has granted authorization for a pre-adoption visitation period in the United States, you may file the Form I-800 during this visitation.
      • Submit an Immigrant Visa Application 
      • After provisional approval of Form I-800, the U.S. Embassy in Latvia will request that your adoption service provider submit an immigrant visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Riga responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Latvia. 
      • Click here for an immigrant visa application document checklist:  https://lv.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/adoption/adoption-based-immigrant-visa-applicants/.
      • Please ensure that your adoption service provider has the listed pre-adoption documents readily available for presentation to the U.S. Embassy. 
      • You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child.  An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form. 
      • A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advise you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.
      • The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Latvia’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Latvia if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States.  This letter will inform the Latvia’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
      • Warning:  Do not attempt to adopt [or obtain custody] of a child in Latvia before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.
      • Remember:  The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
    • 5: Adopt the Child in Latvia 

      • Remember:  Before you adopt a child in Latvia, you must have completed the above four steps.  Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption.
      • After you receive your Article 5 letter from the U.S. Embassy in Riga, you, or your adoption service provider on your behalf, will request a hearing date from the Latvian court for approval of the adoption.  If you were granted authorization for a visitation period in the United States with the child, at least one of the prospective adoptive parents and the child must return to Latvia for the approval hearing. In some cases, the courts may waive the requirement for child’s personal appearance at the court. Your adoption service provider will help you to establish the court requirements regarding personal appearance that tend to be case specific. If the court approves the adoption, the decree becomes effective only after 20 days have passed. 
      • The process for finalizing the adoption in Latvia generally includes the following:
        • Role of Adoption Authority:  The Ministry of Welfare is responsible for administering intercountry adoption.  The Ministry prepares an adoption approval (or rejection) statement (or Article 17 letter) for submission to the town or city court responsible for the final adoption decree.  The Ministry’s adoption permission is valid for three months.  After the adoption decree becomes effective, the Ministry of Welfare issues a statement certifying that the adoption has been completed in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention (Article 23 Certificate).
        • Role of the Court:  The main purpose of the Latvian orphan court session is to establish that the adoption will be in the child’s best interests and that the required personal relationship between the parent(s) and child has been established.  Orphan courts decide whether the birth parents’ rights should be terminated; whether an orphan should be placed in an orphanage or whether someone else may be granted custody; and issues related to inheritance rights when a child’s parents die.  Town or city courts approve adoptions by granting full custody of the child to the adoptive parents.  Current law provides for a 20-day period before the final court decree takes effect.  Thus, the adoptive child is eligible to apply for a post-adoption birth certificate, passport, and immigrant visa only after the court decree becomes effective.  
        • Role of Adoption Agencies:  Adoption agencies are allowed to represent parents and may do the required translations and file adoption applications at the Ministry.  Under current law, however, the adoptive parents are required to personally file applications at orphan courts and participate in the orphan court and final court sessions.
        • Time Frame:  Intercountry adoptions in Latvia take approximately one year to complete. 
        • Adoption Fees:  There are no Latvian government fees for adoption services apart from those described below.  Prospective adoptive parents, however, should be prepared to cover fees related to the translation and certification of documents and the processing of new civil and travel documents for the adopted child.  These costs are determined by the government of Latvia and are subject to change.
        • We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Latvia with your adoption service provider, and when, appropriate, through the Hague Complaint Registry.  For more information in this regard, please 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 Latvia at risk.  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties.  These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent authority; or engaging another person as an agent to take any such action.
        • In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
      • Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Latvia include: 
        • 28.46 euros (about $29.00) for expedited Latvian passport processing fee per person;
        • Fourteen (14.00) euros (about $14.00) for local document Apostille certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see below section on Authentication of Documents);
        • Forty-five (45.00) euros (about $47.00) for court application fee;
        • Eight (8.00) euros (about $8.00) for the court hearing fee;
        • Five (5.00) euros (about $5.00) for copy of court ruling certified by the relevant court;
        • Ten (10.00) euros (about $10.00) for acquiring a Latvian police report in English for adoptive children who have reached their 16th birthday;
        • Translation and notary costs differ from a case to case depending on the volume of documentation
        • See below paragraph 6 on “Panel Physician’s” medical report and the related costs.
      • Documents Required: Please see above for documents required to be submitted with a Latvian adoption application.
      • Note:  Additional documents may be requested.
      • Authentication of Documents:  Please note that Latvia requires document certification authenticated with an Apostille for documents originating in the United States.  Click here for more information on this process:
    • 6: Obtain a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

      • Now that your adoption is complete [or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States], there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home.  Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
      • Birth Certificate
      • If you have finalized the adoption in Latvia, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.
      • The local representative of your Latvia-accredited adoption services provider will assist you with filing an application for your child’s post-adoption birth certificate with Civil Registry of the Ministry of Justice.  If the court approving your adoption application authorized the child’s name change, the post-adoption birth certificate will list the child’s new name in Latvian and English and you will be listed as child’s parent(s).
      • Latvia Passport
      • Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Latvia.
      • The local representative of your Latvia-authorized adoption services provider will assist you with filing an application for your child’s post-adoption passport with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs of the Ministry of Interior.  To ensure that your travel plans are not delayed you may request expeditious two-day passport processing at the cost of 28.46 euros (about $29.00) per person.
      • U.S. Immigrant Visa
      • After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Riga.  After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child.  Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Riga by email at adoptions-riga@state.gov  to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment.  As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the provisional approval stage.  Read more about the Medical Examination.
      • Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please be sure to complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).  If you filed a Form I-800 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child.  An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.
      • Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 1-2 business days.  The U.S. Embassy in Riga is unable to facilitate visa processing on the same day as the immigrant visa interview.  Adoptive parents should plan at least two business days for visa processing by the U.S. Embassy in Riga before making final travel arrangements.
      • Child Citizenship Act
      • For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States:  An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.
      • For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States:  You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. 
      • 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.  Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel.  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 Department of State’s 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 Latvia

    In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa to travel abroad.  Where required, visas are affixed to a traveler’s passport and allow him or her to enter a foreign nation.  To find information about obtaining a visa for Latvia, 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 in the world about various issues, including 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 Latvia, 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

    Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

    If the adoptive parents and the child continue to reside in Latvia, the orphan court having jurisdiction over the child’s place of residence will monitor the adopted child’s well-being for the first two years after the adoption's finalization.

    If the adoptive parents and the child reside outside Latvia, the Ministry requires post-adoption reports on the adopted child for two years after the adoption (one per year).  The first post-adoption report shall be submitted to the Ministry one year after the date the adoption became effective. The second post-adoption report shall be submitted to the Ministry two years after the date the adoption became effective. The reports should be conducted by appropriate child welfare officials in the state where the child resides. 

    We urge you to comply with Latvia’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that Latvia’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

    Post-Adoption/Post-Placement 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.  

    You may wish to 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.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search:

    Note:  Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of content.

  • Complaints

    If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Riga, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of States takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.  Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800 petition process.

    The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry

  • Contact Information

    U.S. Embassy in Latvia
    1 Samnera Velsa St.
    Riga, LV-1510
    Tel:  371-6710-7034; 371-6710-7000
    Fax:  371-6710-7001
    Email:  adoptions-riga@state.gov
    Internet:  riga.usembassy.gov/

    Latvian Adoption Authority
    Children and Family Policy Department
    Ministry of Welfare
    28 Skolas St., Riga, Latvia, LV-1331
    Tel:  371-6702-1600
    Fax:  371-6727-6445
    Email:  lm@lm.gov.lv
    Internet:  http://www.lm.gov.lv

    Embassy of Latvia
    2306 Massachusetts Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20008
    Tel:  202-328-2840
    Fax:  202-328-2860
    Email:  embassy.usa@mfa.gov.lv
    Internet:  http://www.latvia-usa.org/

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

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    For questions about immigration procedures:
    USCIS 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-800A application or I-800 petition:

    USCIS National Benefits Center
    Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
    Email:  NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov