Intercountry Adoption

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Country Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Exercise increased caution in Bosnia-Herzegovina due to terrorism and land mines.

Exercise increased caution in Bosnia-Herzegovina due to terrorism and land mines.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Minefields and land mines are present throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. While suspected hazardous areas are normally clearly marked, several people are killed or injured each year.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Remain on hard-surfaced roads and stay out of abandoned buildings due to risks from land mines.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Only intercountry adoptions from Bosnia and Herzegovina meeting certain strict criteria are possible.

Hague Convention Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). However, under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the requirement that adoption service providers be accredited or approved, and therefore meet the accreditation standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also applies in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as the primary provider in every Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I 600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.                                                           

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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.

Who Can Adopt

While there is nothing in Bosnian law that specifically prohibits foreigners from applying to adopt a Bosnian child, the process is different for foreigners and requires the foreign prospective adoptive parents to provide compelling justification for the adoption. The law specifically states that a foreign citizen may be an adoptive parent "if the adoption is in the best interest of the child and if the child cannot be adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” An adoption by a foreigner is determined on a case-by-case basis and requires approval from the applicable adoption authority below for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Republika Srpska.

How to Adopt

U.S. citizens interested in adopting children from Bosnia and Herzegovina should begin the intercountry adoption process by contacting the adoption authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina has two distinct categories of adoption: Full adoption implies a permanent relationship between the adopted child and adoptive parents equal to a blood relationship. Only a child up to the age of 10 can be adopted fully. Partial adoption implies all the rights and duties that exist between the adoptive parents and adopted children under the law, but it does not terminate the rights and duties of the adopted child and his/her birth parents and other relatives. Since a partial adoption does not irrevocably terminate the birth parent(s) – child relationship, a partial adoption is not considered a valid adoption for U.S. immigration purposes. 

U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Bosnia and Herzegovina who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact Bosnia and Herzegovina’s adoption authority. See contact information below. 

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 the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren). 

Please visit the Department of State’s country page for more information on travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the U.S. Embassy Sarajevo’s website for information on consular services.

Contact Information

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA’S ADOPTION AUTHORITY: 

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. Family law governing adoption is implemented by those entities, and, therefore, the two ministries listed below are the adoption authorities for its relevant entity. 

Please note that in Brcko District, the decision on adoptions by foreign citizens is the responsibility of the District’s Department of Health, Sub-Division for Social Welfare. This department is equivalent to a ministry in the entities. 

FOR FEDERATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:

Ministarstvo rada i socijalne politike Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine
(Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Address: Marka Marulića 2, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Telefon: +387 33 650-685 i 661-772
Fax: +387 33 255-462
Email: info@fmrsp.gov.ba
Web: www.fmrsp.gov.ba 

FOR REPUBLIKA SRPSKA:

Ministarstvo zdravlja i socijalne zastite Republike Srpske
(Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republika Srpska)
Address: Trg Republike Srpske 1, 78000 Banja Luka
Tel: +387 51 339 486
Fax: +387 51 339 65
Email: ministarstvo-zdravlja@mzsz.vladars.net
Internet: http://vladars.net/sr-SP-Cyrl/Vlada/Ministarstva/mzsz/Pages/Default.aspx
 

U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 Robert C. Frasure Street, 7100 Sarajevo
Tel: +387 33 704 000
Fax: +387 33 221 837
Email:  rws@state.gov
Internet: https://ba.usembassy.gov/embassy/sarajevo 

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition:

USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1- 913-275-5480 (local); Fax:1-913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov 

For general questions about immigration procedures:

USCIS Contact Center Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov 

Last Updated: March 13, 2019

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo
1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Telephone
+(387) (33) 704 000
Emergency
+(387) (33) 704-000
Fax
+(387) (33) 221 837

Bosnia and Herzegovina Map