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May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

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July 21, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

Intercountry Adoption

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Country Information

India

India
Republic of India
Exercise increased caution to India due to COVID-19, crime, and terrorism.

Exercise increased caution to India due to COVID-19, crime, and terrorism.

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 2 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, indicating a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in India.

Do not travel to:

  • The state of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest.
  • Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.

Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.

Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to India:

State of Jammu and Kashmir

Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

India-Pakistan Border

India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border. The only official India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Atari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan. The border crossing is usually open, but confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only U.S. citizens residing in India may apply for a Pakistani visa in India. Otherwise apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Northeastern States

Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the northeast.

U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Central and East India

Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials.

Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorization from the U.S. consulate responsible for the area to be visited. U.S. officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Intercountry adoptions to the United States from India and from the United States to India are possible.

Hague Convention Information

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 (PAPs) residing abroad who are considering adoption of a child from the United States to consult with India’s Central Authority, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.

India 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 India.

On January 15, 2017, India implemented regulations under the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act of 2015. Please refer to the Central Adoption Resource Authority's (CARA’s) website for information about the Act and 2017 Regulations.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from India, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (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.

 

Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, PAPS seeking to adopt a child from India must meet the following requirements imposed by India:

  • Minimum Residency: There are no residency requirements.  However, some Specialized Adoption Agencies (SAAs) may ask PAPS to reside with the child for seven days before departing India in order to bond with the child.

  • Age of Adopting Parents:
    • In the case of a single parent adopting a child, the PAP must be no more than:
      • 45 years of age if adopting a child age four or younger;
      • 50 years of age if adopting a child above four years and younger than eight years; or
      • 55 years of age if adopting a child age eight years and older.
    •  In the case of a couple adopting a child, the couple’s combined age must be no more than:
      • 90 years if adopting a child age under four
      • 100 years if adopting a child between four and eight,
      • 110 years if adopting a child eight years and older.
    • These provisions may be relaxed in exceptional cases, such as the adoption of older children, siblings, and children with special needs, and they do not apply in cases of relative adoptions or adoption by a step-parent
    • The minimum age difference between the child and either PAP shall not be less than 25 years. 

For more specific information about the age restrictions for PAPs, please refer to CARA’s 2017 Adoption Regulations.

  • Marriage: A married couple must be in a stable marital relationship for at least two years. Same-sex couples are not eligible to adopt in India.

  • Minimum Income:  PAPs should demonstrate that they are financially capable.

  • Other requirements: Only families with fewer than three children (whether biological or adopted) are permitted to adopt an Indian child, unless the child has special needs or is determined hard to place, or in the case of relative adoptions or adoption by a step-parent. A second adoption from India will be considered only after the legal adoption of the first child is completed, except in the case of siblings adopted at the same time. PAPs must be free from any contagious or terminal disease or any mental or physical condition that may prevent them from taking care of the child. As of November 27, 2017, families must submit a psychological evaluation conducted by a licensed/trained practitioner with their home studies. A single male is not permitted to adopt a female child. Please see our announcement for more details.

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI card holders) and foreign nationals of countries that are party to the Convention, who have been living in India for one year or more may complete an adoption of an Indian child through India’s domestic adoption procedures. Such individuals may register to adopt an Indian child on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS). You must submit the required documents (including a No Objection Certificate from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi).  Upon receipt of the application and required documents, CARA will refer the case to a SAA to prepare the PAPs’ home study report. After the home study report is completed, it will be uploaded in CARINGS by the SAA. Note: the home study submitted to USCIS in support of a Form I-800A must meet U.S. requirements, including being prepared by an individual or agency who meets the definition of a home study preparer at 8 CFR 204.301 and is authorized under 22 CFR part 96 to conduct home studies, and meeting the elements of 8 CFR 204.311.   

For more information, please also refer to CARA’s 2017 Adoption Regulations.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because India is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from India 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 India have determined that placement of the child within India 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 India:

  • Eligibility for adoption: District Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) determine whether any orphan or abandoned or surrendered child is legally eligible for adoption.

Sibling adoptions are encouraged. Twins or siblings, as well as children over five years of age, shall be available for adoption by OCIs and foreign PAPs living in India thirty days from the date the children are declared legally eligible for adoption, and by resident and non-resident Indians (NRIs) from the date the children are declared legally eligible for adoption by the District CWCs.

Intercountry adoptions of children with special needs or medical conditions follow the same procedures as other Convention adoptions. 

PAPs can foster a child in India, after presenting a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) from CARA and submitting a Pre-Adoption Foster Care Undertaking to the SAA (please refer to Section 16 (2) of CARA’s 2017 Adoption Regulations). (Note: CARA will not issue the NOC until they have received an Article 5/17 letter from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.) 

While CARA permits intercountry relative adoptions, they are only approved in exceptional situations, such as the parents’ death or in other limited circumstances that serve the best interests of the child. Please refer to CARA’s website for more information concerning relative adoptions Intercountry relative adoptions generally follow the same procedures as other Convention adoptions but may require additional steps according to Articles 53 and 54 of CARA’s 2017 Adoption Regulations.

CARA does not process cases involving the adoption of Tibetan children. If PAPs wish to adopt or gain guardianship of a Tibetan child residing in India, they should consult with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

  • Age of Adoptive Child: Children up to 18 years of age that have been cleared by the District CWC are eligible for intercountry adoption. Please note that for a child to meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).  Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.

Caution: PAPs 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).

How to Adopt

Warning:  Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in India 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 India has determined the child is eligible 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.

India’s Central Adoption Authority:
CARA, Ministry of Women and Child Development

The Process

Because India is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from India 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 (ASP) To Act as Your Primary Provider [That Has Been Authorized by India’s Central Authority to Operate in India]

2.  Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)

3.  Apply to India’s Authorities 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 India

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved ASP to Act as Your Primary Provider [That Has Been Authorized by India’s Central Authority to Operate in India]

The first step in adopting a child from India is to select an ASP 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 Government of India (see list here). A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved ASPs 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:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for any supervised providers, and otherwise complying with the requirements regarding the provision of adoption services using other providers (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2.  Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from India, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of India and U.S. immigration law.

After you choose an accredited or approved ASP, 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 India’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 ASP will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in India as part of your adoption application. India’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under India’s law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority

If both the United States and India determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and India’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 India 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 India 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 ASP 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 ASP communicates that to the Central Authority in India. Learn more about this critical decision.

Note that India first tries to place abandoned or relinquished children with an Indian family residing in India or an NRI family. Once CARA issues the NOC, the PAPs may apply to the SAA where the child resides to foster the child in India while waiting for the court to finalize the guardianship or adoption order. (Note: CARA will not issue the NOC until they have received an Article 5/17 letter from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi).

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 ASP will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from India.  

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 India’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from India if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States.  This letter will inform India’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 of a child in India 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 India or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption

Remember: Before you adopt a child in India, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption.

The process for finalizing the adoption in India generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority:
    • Regulates and monitors intercountry adoptions, and performs Central Authority functions consistent with the Hague Adoption Convention;
    • Provides information regarding abandoned/relinquished/orphaned children available for intercountry adoption;
    • Coordinates matching with appropriate SAA;
    • Issues the ‘No Objection Certificates” (NOCs);
    • Oversees recognition of SAAs and ASPs; and
    • Issues confirmatory certificates (Article 23) for adoption cases which have to be completed in India.
       
  • Role of the Court: The competent Indian court issues an adoption order for the permanent placement of the child with the PAPs. Though the stipulated time for the court to issue an adoption order is two months, PAPs have reported that it usually takes more than two months for the courts to issue an appropriate order.
  • Role of Specialized Adoption Agencies (SAA): The SAA where the prospective adoptive child resides provides a background study and other information, if available, about a child to help PAPs decide whether to accept the referral or not. The SAA submits all required documents to an Indian court with jurisdiction within ten days of receiving the NOC from CARA. SAAs are not permitted to file a petition in the competent court for a final adoption order without an NOC from CARA.

  • Role of Accredited or Approved ASPs: The U.S. accredited ASP facilitates adoptions by U.S. prospective adoptive parents in India.  The U.S. ASP either conducts or supervises another agency performing the PAPs’ home study and ensures it complies with applicable U.S. and state law. After the provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, the ASP coordinates with the U.S Embassy in New Delhi for issuance of an Article 5/17 letter and the NOC from CARA.  The ASP also coordinates with the respective SAA for the issuance of adoption certificate by the Indian court and issuance of the child’s passport. Any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of PAPs in any Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider, or a public domestic authority. Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    • Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
    • Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
    • Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
    • Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
    • Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
    • When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.

  • Adoption Application: The ASP must submit an online application on CARINGS on behalf of the PAPs.

  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in India may take approximately six months or longer to complete. This time frame includes the time it takes to complete the adoption and secure the necessary documentation once the PAPs have a provisionally approved Form I-800. Please note that obtaining an Indian passport for an adopted child often takes an additional two weeks, and some PAPs have reported waiting more than one month.

  • Adoption Fees:  

We encourage PAPs to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations (if allowed in country of origin) paid, either by them directly or through your U.S. ASP, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of India, with your ASP, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. Improper payments violate applicable law or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in India at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent central authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your ASP will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from India include: CARA’s Adoption Regulations of 2017 and its April 5, 2017 circular regarding adoption fees limits the fee that may be paid by an authorized ASP to a SAA to $5,000 for each intercountry adoption. This fee covers all of the costs associated with the documentation completed by the SAA, and may include the costs of, among other things, obtaining copies of civil documents, filing court documents, applying for your child’s Indian passport, etc. Payment of donation of any kind to any agency or individual is prohibited under India’s adoption laws. In cases where PAPS are adopting siblings, they must pay an additional $1,000 to the SAA.

  • Documents Required: You are required to submit the following documents to CARA through your ASP (refer to Schedules 6 and 9 of CARA’s Adoption Regulations for more detail):
    • Home study report (see information below for home study reports for U.S. citizens residing in India);
    • Psychological evaluation report by a licensed/trained practitioner;
    • Recent photographs of the prospective adoptive family;
    • Marriage certificate (if married);
    • Divorce Decree/Declaration from the competent court or affidavit on oath pertaining to divorce in case of divorce governed by personal law where decree of divorce is not mandatory/Death certificate of spouse in case of single prospective adoptive parent (if applicable);
    • Certificate of medical fitness of the PAPs, duly certified by a medical doctor;
    • Declaration regarding the PAPs’ financial status, along with supporting documents;
    • Two reference letters from relatives/friends regarding the suitability of the PAPs to adopt;
    • Adoption decrees of previously adopted child/children, if any;
    • Police clearance report(s);
    • Birth certificate/passport of PAPs, as proof of age;
    • Proof of residence;
    • Approval of the U.S. central authority (the Article 5/17 letter, discussed under “Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption” above);
    • Documentary proof of citizenship/nationality of PAPs, such as a copy of U.S. passport;
    • Consent of the older child/children in the adoptive family (if more than 5 years of age);
    • Statement from the ASP that follow-up reports on the welfare of the child will be sent semi-annually for a period of two years or until such time as the legal adoption is completed and citizenship is acquired in the receiving country;
    • Power of Attorney from the PAPs in favor of the SAA to process the case if the PAPs are not in India;
    • Statement from the ASP committing to care for the child and, with CARA’s approval, to find a suitable alternative placement if the adoption is disrupted before a final adoption is completed. The ASP will report the alternative placement to the appropriate parties, including the Indian court handling guardianship/adoption proceedings; and
    • Statement from the ASP that it will pay any required adoption fees to the concerned Indian placement agency.

Additional documents if applicable:

  • Statement from the PAPs’ biological and/or adopted children, and the prospective adoptive child (if old enough) giving their views concerning the adoption plan;
  • In cases where a couples’ combined age is over 90 years, a document from a younger family member expressing their willingness to look after the child in the event the adoptive parents become incapacitated.

Home Study Reports for U.S. Citizens Residing Abroad:

  • CARA has advised the U.S. central authority that PAPs residing in India for a year or more may ask CARA to nominate a SAA to prepare their home study report. The home study must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. ASP before it is submitted to USCIS with the prospective adoptive parent’s Form I-800A application.

Note:  Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and India are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete, 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:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have finalized the adoption in India, the SAA will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

Once PAPS receive a court order, the SAA shall apply for your child’s birth certificate in the municipal office of the region where the child was born.  They will need the court order, the NOC from CARA, and any document related to the birth of the child as supporting documentation. The birth certificate will indicate the name of the PAPs. The municipal office will issue the birth certificate with the child’s name as it appears on the court order, which may be changed by the adoptive family by requesting the court to endorse it in the order in the petition filed by the SAA. This process takes at least two weeks.

Indian Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from India.

The SAA shall apply at the nearest Regional Passport Office for an Indian passport after they receive a court order and the Article 23 Conformity Certificate for the child. The application should include the court order, the NOC from CARA, the Article 23 Conformity Certificate issued by CARA, and the child’s birth record. It generally takes approximately two weeks to obtain an Indian passport. Some parents have reported, however, that the issuance of an Indian passport may take more than one month. Please see the information below pertaining to the Government of India’s requirement to surrender one’s Indian passport when one acquires foreign citizenship.

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. Embassy in New Delhi. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy 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. Embassy in New Delhi by email at NDAdopt@state.gov  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. Embassy in New Delhi before making final travel arrangements. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and also refer to the Embassy’s holiday list before making final travel arrangements. Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website.

The following is the list of documents required by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in order to process immigrant visas for Indian children who have been adopted by U.S. citizens:

  • Updated approval notice that shows unexpired fingerprints results;
  • Child's Indian passport;
  • Two (2) color frontal portrait photographs of the child with a white background (the total frame should be 5 cm x 5 cm and the child's head size 3 cm x 3 cm);
  • The original court order and a copy of the court order;
  • The NOC from CARA;
  • Visa Fee of $325 which can be paid in cash (Indian Rupees or U.S. Dollars) or money order. Payments cannot be made using a credit card. Please see visa processing fees page;
  • Medical examination report of the child. (The medical examination needs to be done by an approved panel physician. A list of approved panel physicians can be found on New Delhi’s U.S. Embassy website. Read more about the Medical Examination); and
  • Article 23 issued by CARA

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.

Indian Law Regarding Possession of an Indian Passport upon Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship: Acquisition of U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act might affect the child’s Indian citizenship.  Under Indian law, the child might be required to surrender his or her Indian passport upon acquisition of U.S. citizenship and could be subject to penalties for failure to do so. Under Indian law, prior to obtaining any Indian consular services, such as an Indian visa, the child might also be required to renounce his or her Indian citizenship. Please contact the nearest Indian Embassy or consulate for details (see Contact Information below).

Overseas Citizen of India Status:

An adopted Indian child may be granted an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, if found eligible. For more information about the procedure for applying for OCI status for your child, please contact the nearest Indian Embassy or consulate.  

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Traveling Abroad

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 India

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 India, see the Department of State’s country page.

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 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 in India, 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 India, 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).

After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

CARA requires adoptive parents to submit online post-placement reports on the child through their ASP to CARA and the SAA. The post-placement reports should be uploaded into CARINGS quarterly by the prospective adoptive parents’ ASP during the first year, and twice a year during the second year after the child’s arrival in the United States. The reporting continues for two years after the child acquires U.S. citizenship.

In addition to the above reports, some Indian courts require regular follow-up visits and post-adoption counseling by a licensed social worker until the child has adjusted to his/her new environment. The follow-up visits are generally for a period of one year or as directed by the court. Copies of the court-ordered follow-up reports should be sent to the court where the adoption or guardianship order was obtained, as well as to other government offices as required.

We urge you to comply with India’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your ASP may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to India’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

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.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in New Delhi, 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 ASP, 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 ASPs 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.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in India
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi – 110021
Tel: 091-011-24198000
Fax: 091-011-24198407
Email: NDAdopt@State.gov
Internet: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/new-delhi/

India Adoption Authority
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
Ministry of Women and Child Development
West Block-8, Wing-2
2nd Floor, R.K. Puram
New Delhi - 110 066
Tel: 91-011 2610-5346, 2610-3378, 2610-6783
Fax: 91-011 2618-0198
Email: carahdesk.wcd@nic.in
Internet: http://cara.nic.in/

Embassy of India
Consular Wing Address:
2536 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.  20008
Tel: (202) 939-7000
Fax: (202) 939-7027
Internet: indianembassy.org/

India also has consulates in New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Please see list of Indian consulates in United States.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Email: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: 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
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: December 17, 2020

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
India
Telephone
+(91) (11) 2419-8000
Emergency
+(91) (11) 2419-8000
Fax
+(91) (11) 2419-0017

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