Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Hong Kong Intercountry Adoption Information
Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), due to COVID-19 and arbitrary enforcement of local laws.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and Hong Kong due to COVID-19.
The PRC has resumed most business operations (including day cares and schools). Other improved conditions have been reported within the PRC. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in the PRC.
Effective March 28, 2020, the PRC suspended entry into mainland China by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits. On August 10, 2020, this ban was modified to allow entry of some nationals, not including the United States. Most commercial air carriers have reduced routes to and from mainland China.
The Hong Kong SAR has resumed most transportation and business operations. Other improved conditions have been reported within Hong Kong. Visit the Consulate General's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
Please monitor the Hong Kong government’s website for further updates on COVID-19.
The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law. The PRC government uses arbitrary detention and exit bans:
In most cases, U.S. citizens only become aware of an exit ban when they attempt to depart the PRC, and there is no reliable mechanism or legal process to find out how long the ban might continue or to contest it in a court of law.
U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC or Hong Kong, may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.
Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.
The PRC government does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-PRC citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and the PRC government may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.
XINJIANG UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS REGION and TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION
Extra security measures, such as security checks and increased levels of police presence, are common in the Xinjiang Uyghur and Tibet Autonomous Regions. Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice.
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
Since the imposition of national security legislation on July 1, the PRC unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in Hong Kong. The PRC has demonstrated an intention to use this authority to target a broad range of activities it defines as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and “collusion” with foreign countries. The new legislation also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organizations outside of Hong Kong, which could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of the PRC to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution. PRC security forces, including the new Office for Safeguarding National Security, now operate in Hong Kong.
Demonstrations: Participating in demonstrations or any other activities that authorities interpret as constituting an act of secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country could result in criminal charges. On July 1, 2020, as part of its color-coded system of warning flags, the Hong Kong police unveiled a new purple flag, which warns protesters that shouting slogans or carrying banners with an intent prohibited by the law could now bring criminal charges.
U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations.
Propaganda: A PRC propaganda campaign has falsely accused individuals of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong. In some cases, the campaign, has published their personal information, resulting in threats of violence on social media.
If you decide to travel to Hong Kong:
Last Update: Reissued with updates on COVID-19 and China’s implementation of a national security law in Hong Kong.
Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting a child from the United States. We urge prospective adoptive parents residing abroad who are considering adoption of a child from the United States to consult with Hong Kong’s Central Authority, the Director of Social Welfare, for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.
Hong Kong is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Hong Kong.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Hong Kong, 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.
In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Hong Kong must meet the following requirements imposed by Hong Kong:
Because Hong Kong is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Hong Kong must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Hong Kong have determined that placement of the child within Hong Kong has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.
In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements imposed by Hong Kong:
The Adoption Unit finds suitable and permanent homes for children who have lost their parents through death or desertion and for children who were born out of wedlock and whose parents are unable to provide proper care. Children are usually wards of the Director of Social Welfare and have special needs or circumstances, such as older children, physical disabilities, significant health problems, or difficult family backgrounds, and no suitable local adoptive homes are available for them in Hong Kong.
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 that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have not relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Hong Kong before: 1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of Hong Kong has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Hong Kong’s Central Adoption Authority
Director of Social Welfare
Because Hong Kong is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Hong Kong must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may cause significant delays or result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
1. Choose a U.S.-Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider That Has Been Authorized by Hong Kong’s Central Authority to Operate in Hong Kong
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
3. Apply to Hong Kong’s Adoption Central Authority to Adopt, and Be Matched with a Child
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)
5. Adopt the child in Hong Kong or obtain legal custody for the purpose of emigration and adoption.
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider That Has Been Authorized by Hong Kong’s Central Authority to Operate in Hong Kong
The first step in adopting a child from Hong Kong is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide intercountry adoption services to U.S. citizens and that has been authorized by the Central Authority of Hong Kong. A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case. Your primary provider is responsible for:
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Hong Kong, you will need to meet the requirements of the Central Authority of Hong Kong and U.S. immigration law.
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.
3. Apply to Hong Kong’s Authorities to Adopt, and be Matched with a Child
Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority
After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Hong Kong as part of your adoption application. Hong Kong’s Central Authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Hong Kong’s law.
Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority
If both the United States and Hong Kong determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Hong Kong’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is eligible for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Hong Kong may provide you with a referral. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child. The adoption authority in Hong Kong will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral. We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child. You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Hong Kong. Learn more about this critical decision.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility
After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.
Submit an Immigrant Visa Application
After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Hong Kong.
You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form. A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.
The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Hong Kong’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Hong Kong if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Hong Kong’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Warning: Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Hong Kong before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
5. Adopt the Child in Hong Kong or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption
Remember: Before you adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Hong Kong, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption or a grant of legal custody by Hong Kong for the purposes of emigration and adoption.
The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Hong Kong generally includes the following:
International Social Service Hong Kong Branch
6/F., Southorn Center
130 Hennessy Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2834-6863
Fax: (852) 2834-7627
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Tel: (410) 230-2734
Fax: (410) 230-2741
Po Leung Kuk
Adoption Services Unit
1/F., Vicwood K.T. Chong Building
66 Leighton Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel.: (852) 2277-8368
Fax: (852) 2895-4955
Unit H, 21/F., Legend Tower
7 Shing Yip Street
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Tel: (852) 2313-5620
Fax: (852) 2537-7151
Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case. Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Hong Kong include: An assessment of the prospective adoptive parents’ suitability is provided by the Adoption Unit free of charge. A fee of HKD 3,970 is charged to successful applicants for acting as guardian ad litem for the prospective adoptive child during adoption proceedings.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.
If you have finalized the adoption in Hong Kong, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
If you have been granted legal custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
The Social Welfare Department will obtain the child's original birth certificate (or certified duplicate) from the Hong Kong Birth Registry. This document will then be passed to the agency caring for the child. Adoptive parents may apply for their names to be added as annotations to the child's birth certificate.
Hong Kong Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Hong Kong. The Social Welfare Department will obtain the child's travel document or HKSAR passport from the Immigration Department. This document will then be passed to the agency caring for the child.
For information on how to apply for a U.S. passport, please see the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong’s website: https://hk.usconsulate.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/minor-passports/
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong. After the adoption or custody for purposes of emigration and adoption is granted, visit the U.S Consulate for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. Please contact the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong https://hk.usconsulate.gov/visas/visa-inquiry-form to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the Form I-800 provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 confirmation page to the visa interview. Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.
Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong before making final travel arrangements. Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website.
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 after the child’s admission into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s admission into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child acquires U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for international travel. 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 Department of State’s 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.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Hong Kong
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Hong Kong, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Hong Kong, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Hong Kong, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Hong Kong does not have any post-adoption requirements.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.
If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Consulate in Hong Kong, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800/A petition process.
The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry.
U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau
26 Garden Road
Central, Hong Kong
U.S. Department of State
Hong Kong Immigrant Visa Unit
8000 Hong Kong Place
Washington, DC 20521-8000
Tel: (852) 2841-2211
Fax: (852) 2845-4845
Hong Kong's Adoption Authority
Social Welfare Department
Room 201, 2/F., North Point Government Offices
333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3595 1935
Fax: (852) 3595 0025
Diplomatic Mission for Hong Kong
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 588-0032
*The People's Republic of China also has consulates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, and Chicago.
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)
American Citizens residing in Hong Kong and Macau are served by the USCIS District Office in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sindhorn, Tower 2, 15 th Floor
130-133 Wireless Rd.
Bangkok Thailand 10330
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