Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > The Bahamas Intercountry Adoption Information
Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.
Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime.
Country Summary: The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands. In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population. Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.
Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft may be poorly maintained and some operators may not have safety certifications. Due to these concerns, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.
Never swim alone, regardless of your age or level of swimming skills. Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities. Be aware of weather and water conditions and heed local warnings.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to The Bahamas.
If you decide to travel to The Bahamas:
The Bahamas 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 The Bahamas did not change.
Bahamian law allows adoption by any person with legal status in The Bahamas (even foreign tourists). However, the number of children available for adoption is very small and the waiting list for prospective adoptive parents is very long. Bahamian citizens or legal permanent residents are generally given preference in adopting children, especially if they have a blood relationship to the child.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from The Bahamas, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to 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 an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
To bring an adopted child to United States from The Bahamas, 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, The Bahamas also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
The Bahamas has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in The Bahamas 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.
The Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development
The process for adopting a child from The Bahamas generally includes the following steps:
Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in The Bahamas 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 Bahamas requirements, 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.
The Bahamian government does not charge fees for adoptions. Attorneys will charge fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 which covers the work involved and the filing fees. The prospective adoptive parent (s) will also have to pay the costs of the guardian ad litem.
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.
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in The Bahamas, 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.
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.
The Bahamas Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from The Bahamas
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.
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 prior to the child’s admission 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 if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.
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.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave The Bahamas. 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 Wizardwill 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.
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 The Bahamas, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
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.
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 Bahamas registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does The Bahamas require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of The Bahamas 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.
U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas
U.S. Embassy Nassau
42 Queen Street
Phone: (242) 322-1181
Fax: (242) 356-7174
The Bahamas' Adoption Authority
Embassy of The Bahamas and Consulate in the United States
Embassy of The Bahamas
2220 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 319-2660
*The Bahamas also has consulates in: in Miami and New York.
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)
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