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Netherlands

Official Name: Netherlands Last Updated: April 1, 2009

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Hague Adoption Convention Country? Yes

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  • Hague Convention Information

    The Netherlands 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 Netherlands and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

    The Netherlands is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Dutch orphan by foreigners is unlikely. Only one Dutch orphan has received a U.S. immigrant visa in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in extremely rare adoption cases from the Netherlands, including adoptions of Dutch children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in the Netherlands.

  • Who Can Adopt

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

    • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents in the Netherlands must have Dutch residence permits if they are not Dutch nationals, and must live in the Netherlands.
    • AGE REQUIREMENTS: applicant(s) should be 41 years old or younger upon registration, although certain exceptions may be allowed up to age 44. Applicants must undergo health assessments, give permission for review of their judicial/police records, agree to obtain all required medical care and vaccinations for the child, and provide a surety for all costs related to the child and the adoption.
    • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Individuals, persons living together, and married couples may start an adoption procedure. Adopting a child jointly is only possible for married couples; it is not possible for persons living together and persons in registered partnerships. Although the Netherlands is a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages, adoptions by married same-sex couples are considered, by law, to be single-parent adoptions.
    • INCOME, OR OTHER REQUIREMENTS: The age difference between the oldest parent and the child may at the time of the proposal not be more than forty years.

      Applicant must vouch for all costs involved in raising and caring for the child.
  • Who Can Be Adopted

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

    To be eligible for adoption in the Netherlands, a child should be under six years old and the age difference between the future parent and the child should be no more than 40 years (certain exceptions apply to both conditions).

  • How To Adopt

    Adoption Authority of the Netherlands
    The Ministry of Justice is responsible for adoptions:

    Ministry of Justice
    Directie Justitiele Jeugdbescherming
    Centrale Autoriteit Internationale Adoptie
    PO Box 20301, 2500 EH
    Den Haag, The Netherlands

    All contact with the Ministry should be made through the Foundation for Adoption Services (Stichting Adoptievoorzieningen) listed hereafter.

    The Ministry is not, however, directly involved in the initial adoption procedures. To request an application for a "permit in principle" (Beginseltoestemming) to begin the adoption process, prospective adoptive parents should contact:

    Stichting Adoptievoorzieningen (Foundation for Adoption Services)
    Postbus 290,
    3500 AG Utrecht
    The Netherlands
    Tel: +31 30 233 0340
    Fax: +31 30 232 1777
    Email: (messages via website below)
    Website: www.adoptie.nl

    The Process

    Because the Netherlands is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from the Netherlands 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 the Netherlands 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 the Netherlands
    6. Bring your Child Home
    1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

      The first step in adopting a child from the Netherlands 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 the Netherlands. 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 the Netherlands. The Dutch adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under the law of the Netherlands.

    3. Be Matched with a Child:

      If both the United States and the Netherlands determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in the Netherlands 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 Netherlands'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 the Netherlands:

      Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in the Netherlands, 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 the Netherlands.

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

      • ADOPTION APPLICATION AND ROLE OF ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Detailed and up-to-date information may be obtained from the Stichting Adoptievoorzieningen (Foundation for Adoption Services) at the address listed under Contact Information.

        The Dutch adoption procedure is based on the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. Prospective adoptive parents register with the Foundation for Adoption Services. After a waiting period (currently 18-20 months), prospective adoptive parents complete six information sessions over three months. After the prospective parents complete these sessions, their file is transferred to Dutch Child Protective Services, which evaluates the applicants' physical and mental health and suitability and arranges for a home study involving various meetings with social workers over the course of two to three months. On the basis of the home study report, the Ministry of Justice determines whether a "permit in principle," valid for three years, will be issued, giving the prospective adoptive parents the authorization to begin the mediation process used to identify a well-suited parent-child match. Specific rules apply. The child should be under six years old and the age difference between the future parent and the child should be no more than 40 years (certain exceptions apply to both conditions).
      • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Prospective adoptive parents may visit: www. adoptie.nl for a list of licensed adoption agencies in the Netherlands. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in the Netherlands maintain a list of attorneys. This list is accessible at: http://amsterdam.usconsulate.gov/legal_assistance3.html
      • TIME FRAME: The entire adoption procedure in the Netherlands takes from three to five years.
      • ADOPTION FEES: Compulsory preparation and information sessions cost 900 per applicant. The Foundation for Adoption Services estimates that total costs for adoption procedures in the child's country of origin, depending on the country and the intermediary organization involved, amount to between 7,500 and 20,000. Additional costs in the Netherlands include 1,000 to have a contact screened by one of the mediating organizations in cases of self-established contacts; 331 for the child's permit to stay in the Netherlands; 600 for the Dutch adoption declaration.

        Note: As of the date of this flyer, the exchange rate is one Euro to $1.32 U.S. dollars.
      • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: For detailed information please see http://www.adoptie.nl/m/adoptieprocedure_procedurestapvoorstap/mn/3/

        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.

    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.

        For how to obtain a new birth certificate for the child in the Netherlands please see www.overheid.nl and select the municipality (city hall) concerned. For the U.S. please see http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/article.asp?articleref=AR00000131EN

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

        For how to obtain a Passport for the child in the Netherlands please see www.overheid.nl and select the municipality [city hall] concerned]. For the U.S. please see http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/listing.asp?categoryvalue=dcpassport

      • 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.

        Note: The U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands does not issue Immigrant Visas. All Immigrant Visas for the Netherlands are issued by the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam (see Contact Information).

    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 the Netherlands. 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 the Netherlands, 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 the Netherlands, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

    Registration is free and can be done online.

  • After Adoption

    What does the Netherlands require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

    Within five days after arrival in The Netherlands, the parents need to register the child with the Civil Registry [ Burgerzaken] in the municipality where the parents reside. Further information can be obtained from the Stichting Adoptievoorzieningen (Foundation for Adoption Services) at the address listed under Contact Information.

    We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of the Netherlands and 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 history of positive experiences with American parents.

    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. Consulate General in Amsterdam
    Immigrant Visa Unit
    Attention: Adoption Issues
    Museumplein 19
    1071 DJ Amsterdam
    The Netherlands
    Tel: (31) 20 575 5331
    Fax:(31) 20 679 0321 (address to Immigrant Visa Services)
    E-mail: ImmigrantVisasAms@state.gov
    Telephone: +358-9-616-25730

    Adoption Authority of the Netherlands
    The Ministry of Justice is responsible for adoptions:

    Ministry of Justice
    Directie Justitiele Jeugdbescherming
    Centrale Autoriteit Internationale Adoptie
    PO Box 20301, 2500 EH
    Den Haag, The Netherlands

    All contact with the Ministry should be made through the Foundation for Adoption Services (Stichting Adoptievoorzieningen) listed hereafter.

    The Ministry is not, however, directly involved in the initial adoption procedures. To request an application for a "permit in principle" (Beginseltoestemming) to begin the adoption process, prospective adoptive parents should contact:

    Stichting Adoptievoorzieningen (Foundation for Adoption Services)
    Postbus 290,
    3500 AG Utrecht
    The Netherlands
    Tel: +31 30 233 0340
    Fax: +31 30 232 1777
    Email: (messages via website below)
    Website: www.adoptie.nl

    The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
    4200 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20016-2138
    Tel: (202) 244-5300
    Fax: (202) 362-3430
    Email: was@minbuza.nl (email)
    Website: www.the-netherlands.org

    The Netherlands also has Consulates-General in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

    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)