Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Jordan Intercountry Adoption Information
Exercise increased caution in Jordan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
Terrorist groups continue to plot possible attacks in Jordan. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Jordan:
The Border with Syria and Iraq
Travelers should avoid Jordan's border with Syria and Iraq given the continued threat of cross-border violence, including the risk of terrorist attacks. All U.S. government personnel on official travel must receive prior permission to visit any area within 10 km of the Jordan-Syria border, which includes the town of Ramtha but not the tourist site of Umm Qais or the city of Irbid. U.S. government personnel must also have permission for official travel on Highway 10 east of the town of Ruwayshid toward the Iraq border, or for official visits to refugee camps anywhere in Jordan. Personal travel by U.S. government employees to the border areas or refugee camps is not permitted.
Visit our website for High-Risk Travelers.
Jordan is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
Note: Adoption is not allowed by the law of Jordan. However, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) may grant guardianship of children to people who are not the child’s parents and who intend to adopt the child in a different country. Custody and Alternative Families is a system followed in Jordan. This system is similar to adoption, but differs in that it maintains the original parental relationship as mandated by Islamic Law. This system is consistent with Jordanian Juvenile Law Number 24 of 1968 and amendments.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Jordan, 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 an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
Under Jordanian law, a child is considered to be “abandoned” if the child is placed in the care of the MSD and (1) the parents are unknown OR (2) the child is born out of wedlock.
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to obtain a guardianship in Jordan:
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Jordan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. 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 this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
Jordan’s Guardianship Authority
Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family Directorate
The process for obtaining guardianship of a child from Jordan generally includes the following steps:
1. Choose an adoption service provider
2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
3. Be matched with a child
4. Obtain guardianship of the child in Jordan
5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
6. Bring your child home
7. Adopt your child in the United States
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Jordan is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. Under Custody and Alternative Families, Jordan does not permit adoptions. In certain cases, the MSD will award guardianship of a child to people who are not the child’s parents. The Embassy maintains a list of attorneys practicing in Jordan, which can be found on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
In order to obtain legal guardianship of a child from Jordan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Jordan and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible for a guardianship with the Jordanian MSD.
There are two types of custody:
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
3. Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible and a child is available for guardianship with the goal of completing an intercountry adoption, the MSD in Jordan will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child. The child must be eligible for guardianship according to Jordan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
4. Adopt or Obtain Legal Custody of Child in Jordan
The process for obtaining legal custody in Jordan generally includes the following:
All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).
Once received, an MSD committee reviews the request to foster a child. If all conditions are met, the Minister of Social Development issues his/her approval or denial. Foster parents are notified by mail that they are approved and invited to travel to Jordan to locate a child. Couples who are approved will then be escorted to a government-run orphanage to choose from children whose parents are unknown.
The MSD is the only entity authorized to grant guardianship through the Juvenile Court. According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the guardianship of infants of unknown parentage, the guardian parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child. The Ministry of Interior’s Department of Civil Status chooses fictitious first and last names for the unknown mother and father, which along with the child's first name, are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate. These “fictitious names,” which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate. The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father. Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian Family Book and a Jordanian passport. At this point, the guardian parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.
Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become guardians. The pre-qualification process is similar to that in most U.S. states. To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the appropriate authorities, based on the criteria below:
This request should include the following information: name, age, profession, and religion of both parents, plus their contact information, including full mailing address. Once the MSD has received and processed the request, it will direct the Jordanian Embassy in Washington (through the Foreign Ministry) to request additional documentation from the prospective foster parents.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
After you gain legal custody in Jordan, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. Contact Amman’s USCIS Field Office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Bring Your Child Home
Once you gain legal custody of the child, you need to apply for several documents for the child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States to finalize the adoption:
If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. You must obtain the new Jordanian birth certificate and Family Book from the Civil Status Department, Ministry of Interior.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Jordan. Use the birth certificate and Family Book to obtain a Jordanian passport for your child from the Civil Status and Passport Department. The passport is usually issued the same day and costs 10 JD.
How to obtain a Passport for your child in Jordan:
Civil Status and Passport Department
Ministry of Interior
Jabal Amman, First Circle
Zahran Street (behind Iraqi Embassy), Amman, Jordan
Tel: 962-6-463-6378 (or 463-6370, 463-6379 or 464-4496
Civil Status and Passport Department
P.O. Box 3102
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Amman. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Amman’s website, Amman-IV@state.gov .
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: Now that you have acquired legal guardianship for your child, an adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*Please be aware that since your child does not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Jordan
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Jordan 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 of the world about various issues, including the 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 Jordan, 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 the child has immigrated to the United States, adoptive parents are required to inform the nearest Jordanian Embassy or consulate of any change in address. This facilitates the follow-up that the MSD performs for all adopted Jordanian children abroad.
We strongly urge you to comply with Jordanian law and to complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen 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. 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.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
Jordan’s Adoption Authority: Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family and Childhood Section/Fostering Program
P.O. Box 6720
Family Manager: Ext. 399
Custody Section: Ext. 334
Family Directorate Fax: 5694291
Embassy of Jordan: Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 966-2664
Fax: (202) 966-3110
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
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