Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Bolivia Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to information about the Chapare and Yungas regions.
Exercise increased caution in Bolivia due to civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
Reconsider travel to:
Country Summary: Demonstrations, strikes, and roadblocks can occur at any time in Bolivia. Demonstrations can result in violence. Roadblocks and strikes may cut off traffic and restrict the flow of goods and services around the country. Domestic and international flights may be delayed or unexpectedly cancelled.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Bolivia.
If you decide to travel to Bolivia:
Chapare Region: Do Not Travel
Due to a high level of violent crime, the U.S. government is limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Chapare region. U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Yungas Region: Reconsider Travel
Organized criminal groups near Corioco and Carnavi in Yungas have committed carjackings and robberies. The U.S. government is limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Yungas area. U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Bolivia 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 Bolivia and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
One of the requirements of the Convention is to have access to an authorized adoption agency in Bolivia to process inter-country adoptions. Unfortunately, to this date the Bolivian Government has not implemented regulations for international adoptions nor authorized any U.S. adoption agencies to operate in this country, making the process very difficult if not impossible. If your plan is to adopt a child and immediately go back to the U.S. you must meet all the requirements of the Convention.
Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Learn more.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Bolivia, 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 a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
Adoption between the United States and Bolivia is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Bolivia, 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, Bolivia also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
Because Bolivia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Bolivia must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Bolivia attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Bolivia's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.
In order to be eligible for adoption, a Bolivian child must be "abandoned." Abandonment is a legal finding made by the Bolivian court, and must occur before the child is assigned to prospective adoptive parents. In effect, this prohibits so-called "direct" adoptions, in which the birth parent gives a child directly (or via an intermediary) to specific prospective adoptive parents for adoption. In addition, this effectively bars adoptive parents from searching for and locating a child on their own. Prospective adoptive parents must work with the Vice-Ministry of Gender and Generational Affairs to locate a child that is eligible for adoption.
Adoption proceedings can, by law, take from 25 to 45 working days from the date of the first hearing, although it is not uncommon for the procedures to take even longer. The length of the process often depends on which court has jurisdiction over the case.
The governmental authority responsible for adoption matters in Bolivia is the Vice-Ministry of Gender and Generational Affairs (Viceministerio de Género y Asuntos Generacionales), which may be reached via the following contact information:
Because Bolivia is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Bolivia 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 BoliviaY 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.
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 Bolivia. Bolivia's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Bolivia's law.
If both the United States and Bolivia determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Bolivia 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 particfular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
Once the prospective adoptive parents are matched with a child, they must then apply to the Bolivian court that has jurisdiction over the child. A Bolivian attorney must submit the request for adoption to the Vice-Ministry of Gender and Generational Affairs along with a copy a social worker's report of the prospective adoptive child.
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 Bolivia'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.
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Bolivia, 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 Bolivia.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Bolivia generally includes the following:
Each document must be authenticated in the United States (see the following section for information regarding the authentication of documents).
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.
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:
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.
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.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Bolivia. 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.
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 Bolivia, 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 Bolivia, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Bolivia require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Bolivia 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 is a good place to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Bolivia
American Embassy - Consular Section
Avenida Arce 2780, between calles Cordero and Campos
La Paz, Bolivia
Bolivia's Adoption Authority
Av. 16 de Julio #1219
La Paz, Bolivia
Telephone: 591 - 2 - 212 4725; 591- 2 -212 4727
Embassy of Bolivia in the United States:
3014 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 483-4410
*Bolivia also has Consulates General in Houston, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City and Seattle
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov http://adoption.state.gov
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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