Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > India Intercountry Adoption Information
Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
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.
Terrorist or armed groups are active in East Central India, primarily in rural areas. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local 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 Safety and Security section on 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 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.
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.
East Central and Southern 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.
Adoptions to the United States from India and from the United States to India are possible.
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 to consult with India’s central authority, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), to determine 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 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 August 1, 2015, India implemented Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children, 2015 (Guidelines). Please refer to CARA’s website for information about the new guidelines.
Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008, (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying India as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from India or; 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees. For more information, read about Transition Cases. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from India, 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 India must meet the following requirements imposed by India:
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, a child must meet the following requirements of India:
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 rarely 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 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 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.
India’s Central Adoption Authority
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women and Child Development
Note: Special transition provisions may apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read about Transition Cases.
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 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 That Has Been Authorized by CARA to Operate in India to Act as Your Primary Provider
The first step in adopting a child from India 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 Government of India. 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. Your primary provider is responsible for:
Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
Under Indian law, foreign prospective adoptive parents considering adoption of a child from India are required to use an adoption service provider that is “enlisted” (registered) with CARA. Further details on enlisted agencies may be found on the CARA website.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
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, fingerprints, and a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements.
3. Apply to CARA 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 CARA as part of your adoption application. CARA will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Indian 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 available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, CARA will provide your ASP with basic information on one or more children that meet the criteria outlined in your approved home study. 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. You must let your ASP know within 96 hours if you are interested in learning more about a child so your ASP can indicate your interest in that child and begin the process of making a match. Once that is done, the SAA where the prospective adoptive child resides will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child, but each family must decide whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child. The placement must conform to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for 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 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 a non-resident Indian (NRI) family. Once the CARA issues the NOC, the prospective adoptive parents may apply to the SAA where the child resides to foster the child 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 through 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 enter and remain in 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. 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, advise 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 the 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 or obtain custody 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 Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption of the Child
Remember: Before you adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in India, 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 India for the purposes of emigration and adoption.
The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody in India generally includes the following:
Role of Adoption Authority:
Role of the Court: The competent Indian court issues an adoption or guardianship order for the placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents have reported that it usually takes about two months to issue an appropriate order.
Role of Specialized Adoption Agencies: The SAA where the prospective adoptive child resides provides a background study and other information, if available, about a child to help prospective adoptive parents decide whether to accept the referral or not The SAA submits all required documents to an Indian court with jurisdiction within seven working days of receiving the NOC from CARA. SAAs are not permitted to file a petition in the competent court for a grant of custody or a full and final adoption without an NOC from CARA.
Documents Required: You are required to submit the following documents to CARA through your adoption service provider:
Additional documents if applicable:
Home Study Reports for U.S. Citizens Residing Abroad:
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Now that 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:
If you have finalized the adoption in India, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport. Generally, the SAA will facilitate the issuance of the birth certificate.
If you have been granted 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.
Once prospective adoptive parents receive a court order, they may apply for a birth certificate in the municipal office of the region where the child was born, in coordination with the RIPA and their adoption service provider. They will need the court order, the NOC from CARA, and any document related to the birth of child as supporting documentation. If the adoption is completed in India, the birth certificate will indicate the name of the prospective adoptive parents. The municipal office will issue the birth certificate with the child’s name as it appears on the court order even if it has been changed after adoption. This process takes at least two weeks.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from India. Generally, the SAA will facilitate the issuance of an Indian passport.
The prospective adoptive parents or SAA may apply at the nearest Regional Passport Office for an Indian passport after they receive a court order for the child. The application should include the court order, the NOC from CARA, and the child’s birth record. It generally takes approximately four weeks to obtain an Indian passport. Some parents have reported, however, that the issuance of an Indian passport may take more than two months. 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 also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India. After the adoption or custody for purposes of emigration and 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 provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please be sure to 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 assigning 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. 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. The DS-260 must be updated before the visa interniew to include the child's passport details and other changes, if any. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. 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.
Note: After the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi issues the Article 5 letter in your case, you will be able to access and make changes to your online form. Once you obtain your child’s Indian passport, you should log back into CEAC and resubmit your DS-260 with your child’s passport details. This must be done at least 48 hours before you appear at the Embassy for your child’s immigrant visa interview in order for the DS-260 to be accessible to the consular section.
The following is the list of the 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:
Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least one business day provided all the required documents are submitted at the time of the interview. It is usually not possible to provide a visa on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents will be notified at the time of the visa interview about the pick-up time of their child’s visa. 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.
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.
(Note: U.S. citizens are permitted (and encouraged) to complete a full and final adoption of an Indian child under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2000 (JJA).)
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry 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.
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
CARA’s Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children, 2015 state that an adopted Indian child shall be entitled to receive 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.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any 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 to travel abroad. Where required, visas are affixed to a traveler’s passport and allow him or her to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for India, 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, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. 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).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
CARA requires adoptive parents to submit online post-placement reports on the child through their adoption service provider 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 adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to India’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.
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.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of content.
U.S. Embassy in India
New Delhi – 110021
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: email@example.com (for CARINGS inquiries only) or CARA@bol.net.in
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 939-7000
Fax: (202) 939-7027
India also has consulates in New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Please see list of Indian consulates in United States.
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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