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Saint Kitts and Nevis

Official Name: Saint Kitts and Nevis Last Updated: May 1, 2008

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Hague Adoption Convention Country? No

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  • Hague Convention Information

    St. Kitts and Nevis is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention ). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for St. Kitts and Nevis did not change.

    According to the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis , a pplicants for adoption must be resident and domiciled in St. Kitts/Nevis. The adoption of a female child by a single male is not permitted unless a family tie exists. In addition, American prospective adoptive parents need to understand that there may be significant differences between the U.S. and St. Kitts/Nevis definitions of "orphan," and that a finding of adoptability by a St. Kitts and Nevis authority will not necessarily mean that the child will be able to immigrate to the United States.

  • Who Can Adopt

    To bring an adopted child to United States from St. Kitts and Nevis, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more

    In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, St. Kitts and Nevis also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

    • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be resident and domiciled in St. Kitts/Nevis in order to be eligible to adopt a child.
    • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and must be no less than 21 years older than the child to be adopted.
    • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: The adoption of a female child by a single male is not permitted unless a family tie exists.
  • Who Can Be Adopted

    St. Kitts and Nevis has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in St. Kitts and Nevis unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

    In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.


    ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

    • Abandonment Requirements: According to the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis, children do not have to be orphans to be adopted. An orphan is defined as a child who has no biological parents, legal guardians or other persons responsible for his/her maintenance, care, and upbringing. Children do not have to be abandoned for purposes of adoption.

      As noted at the beginning of this flyer, these definitions may not always be sufficient to permit the child to immigrate to the United States. Prior to concluding an adoption of a specific child from St. Kitts/Nevis, American citizens should consult with the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, regarding the possible eligibility or ineligibility of that child for a U.S. immigrant visa.
  • How To Adopt

    The Adoption Authority of St. Kitts and Nevis
    Ministry of Social Development, Probation and Child Care Unit

    The Process

    The process for adopting a child from St. Kitts and Nevis 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. Adopt the Child in St. Kitts and Nevis
    5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
    6. Bring Your Child Home
    1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

      The first step in adopting a child from St. Kitts and Nevis is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.
    2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

      To bring an adopted child from St. Kitts and Nevis to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

      In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of St. Kitts and Nevis as described in the Who Can Adopt section.

    3. Be Matched with a Child

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

      The child must be eligible to be adopted according to the requirements of St. Kitts and Nevis, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

    4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in St. Kitts and Nevis

      The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in St. Kitts and Nevis generally includes the following:

      • ROLE OF THE COURT: The judicial court of St. Kitts/Nevis is responsible for the legal proceedings. The court appoints a guardian ad litem, who provides the court a written report on the prospective adoptive parents' home. In the court proceedings, a private lawyer represents the adopting parents and a St. Kitts/Nevis government-appointed lawyer represents the child to be adopted.
      • TIME FRAME: The adoption process in St. Kitts and Nevis averages approximately six months.
      • ADOPTION FEES: The cost for adoption is approximately U.S. dollars 745.

        The U.S. Embassy for Saint Kitts and Nevis discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in Saint Kitts and Nevis at risk.

        It is illegal for any adoptive parent, birth parent or guardian, except with the sanction of the court, to receive any payment or other reward or to give or take any such payment or reward for adoption. An application for an adoption order must contain a statement that no such payment was received or made. There are no exit controls on children leaving St. Kitts/Nevis.
      • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
        • Copy of the child's original birth certificate
        • Copy of the adoptive parents' original birth certificates
        • Copy of the birth parents' birth certificates
        • Consent of the birth parents
      • INFORMATION REQUIRED:
        • Full name of adoptive parents and birth parents
        • Addresses of adoptive parents, birth parents and child
        • Occupation of adoptive parents and birth parents
        • Age of adoptive parents and birth parents
        • Relationship of adoptive parents to child, if any

          NOTE:
          Additional documents or information may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
    5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

      After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in St. Kitts and Nevis, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

    6. 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 several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
      • Birth Certificate
        You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

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

      • 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-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more

        The United States does not have an embassy in St. Kitts and Nevis. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados covers St. Kitts and Nevis and processes immigrant visa cases for residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. The Embassy requests that prospective adoptive parents contact them directly as soon as they have received their approved I-600A or I-600 from the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

        Upon receipt of the approved I-600A, I-600, telegraphic or faxed approval from the Department of Homeland Security, the Embassy will send the adoptive parent (also known as the "petitioner") instructions on how to apply for the child's U.S. immigrant visa. Once the petitioner has completed several forms, the Embassy will schedule an appointment and mail the petitioner a letter confirming the appointment. The petitioner can also call the Embassy at 246-431-0225 and request an appointment to coincide with their visit to the island to complete the adoption. Appointments may also be requested via e-mail at: ConsularBridge2@state.gov.

        At the time of the visa interview, the parents must present the following documents:

        • The child's certified St. Kitts/Nevis adoption certificate;
        • Court documents;
        • Release documents from the biological parent(s), if any;
        • Valid St. Kitts/Nevis passport;
        • Four (4) full-face color photographs (2 x 2 on white background);
        • Medical examination (instructions will be given to the adoptive parents); and
        • Visa fee.

        If the Embassy is not in possession of the approved I-600 petition or confirmation from USCIS, the petitioners must present a copy of their home study and evidence of support. If the petitioner has all the required documents and the applicant seems otherwise eligible under U.S. immigration law, the visa can be issued the day following the application.

        Prospective adoptive parents should expect that they and their adoptive child will have to remain in Barbados for at least two days, as the visa process requires processing time.

        Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

    Child Citizenship Act

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

    For adoptions finalized in the United States : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

    * Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

    Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

  • Traveling Abroad

    Applying for Your U.S. Passport

    A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave St. Kitts and Nevis. 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 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 St. Kitts and Nevis, 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 St. Kitts and Nevis registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

    Registration is free and can be done online.

  • After Adoption

    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 accredited to St. Kitts and Nevis
    U.S. Embassy
    P.O. Box 302
    Bridgetown BB 11000
    Bridgetown, Barbados
    Tel: 246-227-4000, x4193
    Fax: 246-431-0179

    Adoption Authority of St. Kitts and Nevis
    Ministry of Community, Social Development and Gender Affairs
    Probation and Child Protection Services
    Maurice Williams, Director
    Tel: 1-869-465-2521, extension 1379
    Fax: 1-869-466-8244

    Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis
    Embassy of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the OAS

    3216 New Mexico Ave., NW
    Washington, D.C. 20016
    Tel: (202) 686-2636
    Fax: (202) 686-5740
    Internet: http://www.stkittsnevis.org/

    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 or Adoption USCA@state.gov
    Website: 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)