Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Denmark Intercountry Adoption Information
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Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.
Denmark 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 Denmark and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
There are few children eligible for intercountry adoption from Denmark, with a long waiting list of Danish prospective adoptive parents. While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Danish orphan by foreigners is unlikely. No Danish orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Denmark, including adoptions of Danish children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Denmark.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Denmark, 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 Denmark is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Denmark, 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). Read more on Who Can Adopt.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Denmark also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents.
Because Denmark is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Denmark must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Denmark attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Denmark's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Danish Ministry of Justice
Department of Family Law
The Danish Ministry of Justice is the adoption law-making branch of the Danish government and is also the Central Authority for the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. The local Joint Council of the Regional State Administration serves as the regional adoption authority. Joint Councils are established at the five Regional State Administrations (Statsforvaltning) in Denmark. The Regional State Administration mainly concentrates on family issues: divorce, child custody, maintenance, etc.
Because Denmark is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Denmark 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:
The first step in adopting a child from Denmark is to select an adoption service provider that has been accredited. Private adoption agencies are accredited by the Danish Ministry of Justice, Department of Family Affairs to provide adoption services. The Department certifies adoption agencies and monitors their work to ensure that they comply with the law. In special circumstances such as relative adoptions, the Danish Central authority can allow the adoption to take place without the assistance of an adoption agency.
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). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
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 Denmark. Denmark's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Danish law. More information on this process is available in Section 5, entitled "Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-Denmark."
If both the United States and Denmark determine that you are eligible to adopt, and if a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Denmark 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.
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.
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 Officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States he or she will send a letter (an “Article 5 Letter”) to Denmark Central Authority. Do not adopt or obtain custody of a child in Denmark before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter.
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 Denmark, 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 Denmark.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Denmark generally includes the following:
The Danish National Board of Adoption supervises the Joint Councils, observes national and international developments in adoption matters, collects information concerning adoption, negotiates with authorities and organizations in other countries, and supplies general information. Decisions reached by the Joint Councils may be appealed to the Danish National Board of Adoption at:
Domestic adoptions in Denmark are processed via the five Regional State Administrations in the jurisdiction where the prospective parents reside. Prospective adoptive parents file an application with the Joint Council of their Regional State Administration. The application is processed in three phases. For more detailed information, please visit the web site for the Danish National Board of Adoption, http://www.adopt.dk, and click on “English Language Version.”
In the case of an adoption from a third country, when the child arrives in Denmark from his or her country of origin (after that country's adoption procedures have been completed), the adoptive parents must apply to the Regional State Administration for an Adoption Certificate. With the Adoption Certificate, the adoption is finalized, and pursuant to Danish law, the adopted child has the same rights as a biological child.
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about authenticating U.S. Documents.
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.
In Denmark, birth certificates are issued by the local Parish (Danish State Church) Registration Offices (Kirkekontor.) Adoptive parents present their Adoption Certificate to the Registrar (Kordegn) in their area of residence, who in turn will issue the Danish birth certificate with the names of the child and the adoptive parents.
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.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Denmark. 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 might 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 Denmark, 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 Denmark, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Denmark require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Denmark does not require post-adoption or post-placement reports.
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 Denmark
Dag Hammarskjolds Alle 24
Tel: +45-3341 7100
Fax: +45-3538 9616
Web site: https://dk.usembassy.gov/
Denmark's Adoption Authority
Danish Ministry of Justice
Department of Family Law
Tel: +45-7268 8000
Fax: +45-7268 8001
Web site: http://www.familiestyrelsen.dk
Danish Accredited Adoption Agencies
TEL: +45-8612 6522
Fax: +45-8619 7853
TEL: +45-4581 6333
Fax: +45-4581 7482
Royal Danish Embassy
3200 Whitehaven Street NW
Washington, DC 20008-3683
Tel: (202) 234-4300
Fax: (202) 328-1470
Denmark also has Consulates General in Chicago and New York City.
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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