Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Kazakhstan Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Exercise increased caution in Kazakhstan due to the possibility of civil unrest.
Country Summary: Demonstrations, protests, and strikes may occur. These events can develop quickly and without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, communication, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent. U.S. citizens in Kazakhstan should be aware that such protests may impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens departing Kazakhstan.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Kazakhstan.
If you decide to travel to Kazakhstan:
Kazakhstan: Case-by-Case Determination for Intercountry Adoptions between the United States and Kazakhstan.
This notice updates the January 31, 2020 notice.
Please note: While policy changes appear to have made adoptions possible again, the Mission has not yet observed any completed adoptions.
Nearly a decade after Kazakhstan suspended intercountry adoptions, recent policy changes appear to have made it possible once again for U.S. adoptive parents to adopt in the country.
Kazakhstani authorities have informed the U.S. Department of State of the resumption of case-by-case processing of intercountry adoptions from the Republic of Kazakhstan consistent with the Hague Adoption Convention.
Pursuant to information received from the Government of Kazakhstan, the Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan according to paragraph 7 of Article 112 of the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Marriage (Matrimony) and Family,” has authorized Cradle of Hope as an adoption service provider to operate in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Ministry also requested full compliance with post-adoption report submission in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 86 of the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Marriage (Matrimony) and Family”.
The U.S. Mission in Kazakhstan is actively seeking clarification of the adoption process from the Government of Kazakhstan’s Central Authority and will provide updates as they become available.
Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoptions from Kazakhstan. For questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov.
Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Kazakhstan, 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 Kazakhstan must meet the following requirements imposed by Kazakhstan:
Please note: Male singles are not allowed to adopt a child unless the adoptive father has been living with the prospective adoptive child for at least three years due to the death or incompetency of the child’s mother, and meet the additional eligibility requirements listed above.
Because Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan have determined that placement of the child within Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan:
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have not relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Kazakhstan before: 1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from Kazakhstan, 2) the Central Authority of Kazakhstan 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.
Kazakhstan’s Central Adoption Authority
Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights of the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES)
Because Kazakhstan is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Kazakhstan 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.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
3. Apply to Kazakhstan’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 Kazakhstan
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider that has been authorized by Kazakhstan’s Central Authority to operate in Kazakhstan.
The first step in adopting a child from Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan. A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case. Your primary provider is responsible for:
Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Kazakhstan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Kazakhstan and U.S. immigration law.
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.
3. Apply to Kazakhstan’s Authorities to Adopt, and be Matched with a Child
Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority
After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the central authority in Kazakhstan as part of your adoption application. Kazakhstan’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Kazakhstan’s law.
Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority
If both the United States and Kazakhstan determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Kazakhstan’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 Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral. We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child. You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Kazakhstan. Learn more about this critical decision.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility
After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.
Submit an Immigrant Visa Application
After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Kazakhstan.
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 Kazakhstan’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Kazakhstan if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Kazakhstan’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 Kazakhstan 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 Kazakhstan
Remember: Before you adopt a child in Kazakhstan, 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 Kazakhstan for the purposes of emigration and adoption.
The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Kazakhstan generally includes the following:
The total cost for all court related processing and document issuance fees in Kazakhstan should not exceed $150. The Central Authority does not charge any fees for placement of the child.
Please note: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. Kazakhstan does not regulate these fees.
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 the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Kazakhstan, 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 Kazakhstan 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 adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Kazakhstan include:
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.
If you have finalized the adoption in Kazakhstan, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
If you have been granted legal custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
The new name(s) for the child and the names of the adoptive parents must be specified during the court hearing and included in the court documents. After a court decision granting an adoption becomes effective, a representative of the facilitating U.S. adoption agency, on the parents’ behalf, will apply for an adoption certificate and new birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents as the child’s parents and the child’s new name. These documents take five working days to process.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Kazakhstan.
A representative of the facilitating U.S. adoption agency will apply for, and obtain, a passport as soon as the adoption certificate and the birth certificate are issued. It takes seven working days to receive a passport. Adopted children must also obtain consular registration from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nur-Sultan and exit visas from the local office of the Migration Police prior to departure from Kazakhstan.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty. After the adoption is granted, make an appointment to visit the U.S Consulate General in Almaty for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the Form I-800 provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 confirmation page to the visa interview. Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.
Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty 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 upon admission into the United States 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 Kazakhstan
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 Kazakhstan, see the Department of State’s Kazakhstan Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Kazakhstan, 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 Kazakhstan, 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 Reporting Requirements
According to Kazakhstani law (see Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Marriage (Matrimony) and Family”), parents who adopt Kazakhstani children must provide post-adoption reports every six months for the first three years after the final adoption and then once a year until the child is 18 years old. Reports must have pictures of the child, a letter signed by the parents, and information about the child’s welfare, studies and health.
Parents must submit their post-adoption reports to the Central Authority via the Consular Section of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, D.C., the Consulate General of Kazakhstan in New York, or the Kazakhstani diplomatic mission in the country of the family's residence. We strongly urge you to comply with Kazakhstani post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. The obligation to provide post adoption reports rests with the adoptive parents. Your adoption agency will include the matter of post-adoption reporting in your service contract, specifying that the adoptive parents are required to provide all necessary information for the reports and disclosing who will prepare the reports and the fees that will be charged. Your cooperation will contribute to Kazakhstan’s history of 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. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.
If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the U.S. Embassy in Nur-Sultan or Consulate General in Almaty, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800/A petition process.
The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry.
U.S. Embassy Nur-Sultan
Rakhymzhan Koshkarbayev Avenue, No. 3.
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, 010010
Phone: +7 (7172) 70-21-00
Fax: +7 (7172) 54-09-14
Kazakhstan’s Adoption Authority
Childrens Rights Protection Committee
Ministry of Education and Science
8, Mangilik Yel avenue
010000, Republic of Kazakhstan
939, 941 Rooms
Tel.: +7 (7172) 74-25-85, +7 (7172) 74-15-82 (reception)
Fax: + 7 (7172) 74-23-43
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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