Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Jordan Intercountry Adoption Information
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Exercise increased caution in Jordan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
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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, except 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.
Both planned and impromptu protests may occur throughout Jordan. Avoid demonstrations and follow the guidance of local authorities.
Visit our website for High-Risk Travelers.
Adoptions from Jordan are possible. Please consult a local attorney or U.S.-based adoption agency familiar with laws and regulations regarding intercountry adoption in Jordan. Additionally, prospective adoptive parents should refer to our information sheet on Adoption of Children from Countries in which Islamic Shari’a Law is observed for more information.
Note: Adoption is not allowed by Jordanian law. 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 outside Jordan. This system, called Custodianship and Alternative Families, 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.
Jordan is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the requirement that adoption service providers be accredited or approved, and therefore meet the accreditation standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also applies in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as the primary provider in every Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.
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.
In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Jordan must meet the following requirements:
Under the INA 101(b)(1)(F), a child can be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from both parents, or in the case where there is a sole or surviving parent who is incapable of providing the proper care and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.
In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements of Jordan:
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).
Jordan’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family Directorate
The process for adopting a child from Jordan generally includes the following steps:
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
3. Apply to Jordan’s Authorities to Adopt, and to be Matched with a Child
4. Adopt the Child in Jordan or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoptionn
5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan (Form I-600)
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
Before taking steps to adopt a child from Jordan, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Your primary provider is responsible for:
For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
Note: There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. The Embassy maintains a list of attorneys practicing in Jordan.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt 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 guardianship:
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS, to be found suitable and eligible to adopt. If you have already identified the child you wish to adopt, you may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition for the child and include all the required supporting documentation for the Form I-600A application (i.e. an approved home study) so USCIS can make a determination on your suitability and eligibility to adopt before revieiwing the child’s eligibility as an orphan. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. 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 Jordan’s Authorities to Adopt, and be Matched with a Child
If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, Jordan requires you to submit a guardianship application to the Ministry of Social Development of Jordan to be found eligible to adopt by Jordan.
There are two types of custody:
The competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Jordan will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, may provide you with a 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 ultimately adhere to the USCIS’ suitability determination (i.e. typically the Form I-600A approval notice) with respect to the number of children you are approved to adopt and the characteristics of the child(ren) ( such as age, gender, nationality, and/or special need, disability, and/or impairment) that you are approved to adopt. Learn more about Health Considerations
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Jordan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.
4. Adopt the Child in Jordan or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption
The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Jordan generally includes the following:
Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
Note: See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required.
We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Jordan, with your adoption service provider, 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 Jordan 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 UAA and IAA make 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 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 adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
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).
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan
After you finalize the adoption or gain legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Jordan, USCIS must determine if the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of the child and unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.
If you have a valid Form I-600A approval, you may file your Form I-600 petition in the United States with the USCIS National Benefits Center or with the USCIS office in Amman, Jordan. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.
When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States or with the USCIS office in Amman, Jordan, must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination), to verify the child’s orphan status. When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.
When a Form I-600 petition is filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, to verify the child’s orphan status. Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. The completion time can vary widely, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.
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 and the Form I-604 determination has been completed, finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
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. The final court order will include the child’s and parents’ real names. At this point, the guardian parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.
How to obtain a Passport for your child in Jordan:
Civil Status and Passport Department
Ministry of Interior
Jabal Amman, First Circle
Zahran Street, Amman, Jordan
Tel: 962-6-463-6378 (or 463-6370, 463-6379 or 464-4496
Civil Status and Passport Department
P.O. Box 3102
Orphan Determination and U.S. Immigrant Visa Application:
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and USCIS has approved Form I-600 , with the USCIS lockbox facility in Dallas. The USCIS National Benefits Center will process the petition.
One the petition is approved, your case will be sent to the U.S. Embassy in Amman, where the orphan determination is made and you will need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with 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 using this link.
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). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the 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 Amman 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 Jordan
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 Jordan, 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 or Consulate in Jordan, 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 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).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
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 urge you to comply with Jordan’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 Jordan’s 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 adoptions.
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.
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Amman, 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-600/A process.
The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. 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.
Jordan’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family and Childhood Section/Fostering Program
P.O. Box 6720
Tel: 5679327 (Main); Family Manager – Ext. 399; Custody Section – Ext. 334
Family Directorate: 5694291
Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with the:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax:1- 913-214-5808
For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with a USCIS international field office:
Please visit http://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-uscis-office/international-immigration-offices and select the appropriate office.
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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