Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Brazil Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Exercise increased caution in Brazil due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
Country Summary: Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, and carjacking, is common in urban areas, day and night. Gang activity and organized crime is widespread. Assaults are common. U.S. government personnel are discouraged from using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil due to an elevated risk of robbery and assault at any time of day, and especially at night.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Brazil.
If you decide to travel to Brazil:
International Borders – Level 4: Do Not Travel
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to areas within 150 km/100 miles of the international land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay without advance approval from security officials due to crime. Travel to the Foz do Iguacu National Park and Pantanal National Park is permitted.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Informal Housing Developments (commonly known as “Favelas”) – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Do not travel to informal housing developments (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, comunidades, and/or conglomerados), even on a guided tour. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these communities. Even in these communities that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. While some informal housing developments have clear boundaries or gates, or even names such as “favela”, “vila”, “comunidade”, or “conglomerado”, other such developments may be less obvious, and may be identified by crowded quarters, poorer conditions, and/or irregular construction. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding these communities, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities. Except under limited circumstances and with advance approval, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to enter any informal housing developments in Brazil. Read the Safety and Security Section on the country information page for further information regarding favelas.
Visit our website for Travel High-Risk Areas.
Brasilia’s Administrative Regions (commonly known as “Satellite Cities”) – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Without advance approval from security officials, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to Brasilia’s Administrative Regions of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (non-daylight hours) due to crime.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Brazil is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption . Therefore, all adoptions between Brazil and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
Brazilian law does not allow for a Brazilian child to travel to the United States to be adopted. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents must obtain a full and final adoption under Brazilian law before the child can immigrate to the United States.
NOTE: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Learn more.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Brazil, 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 Brazil is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Brazil, 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.
Adoption in Brazil can be a complicated process, sometimes involving long waits. Brazilian adoption law gives preference to Brazilian citizens and citizens of countries that have implemented the Hague Adoption Convention. Please be aware that without Brazilian citizenship, it is unlikely that a U.S. citizen will be able to adopt a healthy, single child under the age of 5 years. The following types of children are most commonly available to U.S. citizens without Brazilian citizenship:
In addition to the U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Brazil also has the following eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
Joint adoption is granted if parents are legally married or have a stable union contract.
Divorced or legally separated couples may adopt together if they agree on the guardianship, schedule of visits, and have proof of relationship with the child.
Because Brazil is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Brazil must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Brazil attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Brazil's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Learn more about the Convention's requirements for adoptable children.
Brazil's Central Authority
The State Judiciary Commission of Adoption (CEJA)
Because Brazil is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Brazil 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 to meet all necessary legal requirements for adoption. Adoption is granted as an exceptional measure and is irrevocable; proxy adoption is prohibited.
NOTE: If you filed your I-600A, a "transitional case" with Brazil before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption; it could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for orphan adoptions, if it meets Brazils "transitional case" requirements. Brazil only considers a "transitional case" as cases where the prospective adoptive parents were matched with a child(ren) prior to the implementation of the Hague Convention. If the I-600A petition was filed prior to April 1 st 2008 without a child match, the case will not be considered a "transitional case" therefore, the I-800A process must be started.
The first step in adopting a child from Brazil is to select an accredited or approved adoption service provider in the United States. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Brazil. Learn more.
Please note: Since the implementation of the Hague Convention, the ACAF requests adoption service provider's to send reports on the adopted child(ren) every six months for up to two years after the adoption is granted and/or until the child gets their naturalization certificate.
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, Application for Determination of Suitability to adopt a child from a Convention Country) by the 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 adoption service provider will forward your information to the Central Authority in Brazil. ACAF will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Brazilian law. A lawyer is not required for this service. If prospective adoptive parents are approved by ACAF, it will provide the parent(s) with a "Habilitation Approval Certificate."
If both the United States and Brazil determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the ACAF 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.
Eventually identify the child(ren) eligible for adoption from a database of prospective adoptees and notify the prospective adoptive parent(s) of the match. There will be a gradual preparation of the prospective family to adopt a child and a post-adoptive follow-up.
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the USCIS for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800, Petition to Classify a Convention adoptee as an Immediate Relative). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. immigration 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. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he or she will notify ACAF (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.
Adopt the Child in Brazil:
REMEMBER: Before you adopt a child in Brazil, 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 Brazil.
The process for finalizing the adoption in Brazil generally includes the following:
NOTE: All documents must be translated into Portuguese and authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy and/or Consulate in the United States. Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.
The U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro is the only consulate in Brazil that issues immigrant visas, including adoption visas. Adoptive parents should contact the Immigrant Visa unit by e-mail: email@example.com to verify if their I-800 approval has arrived and to schedule their child's immigrant visa interview. Pre-scheduled appointments are required. Adoptive parents are asked to be at the consulate by 7:45 am. Since wait times vary greatly, adoptive parents should be prepared to spend the entire day at the consulate.
Adoptive parents are required to bring the following documentation to the consulate on the day of the visa interview:
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 extremely rare cases of 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 Brazil. 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 Brazil, 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 Brazil, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Brazil require of the adoptive parents after the 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.
U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147, Castelo
Rio de Janeiro RJ 20030-020
Tel: (55) (21) 3823-2000
Fax: (55) (21) 3823-2083
The Autoridade Central Administrativa Federal (ACAF) is the division of government responsible for intercountry adoption in Brazil. For further information on intercountry adoptions with Brazil, please contact: Autoridade Central Administrativa Federal (ACAF)
Secretaria de Direitos Humanos
SCS Quadra 09 Lote C Torre "A", 10º andar – Sala 1004-A
Edifício Parque Cidade Corporate
Tel.: +55 (61) 2025 3481 or 2025-7918
Embassy of Brazil:
3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 238-2700
Fax: (202) 238-2827
NOTE: Brazilian Consulates are located in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.
Office of Children’s Issues
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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