Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Nepal Intercountry Adoption Information
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Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.
Notice: Recent discussions with Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens indicate that all Nepal adoptions may be on hold for the foreseeable future. Please contact the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens directly and/or a local attorney specializing in adoptions for information on local adoption procedures. The website for the ministry is not currently functioning. Updated January 10, 2020.
Nepal 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.
On August 6, 2010, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspended processing of new adoption cases from Nepal which involve children who are reported abandoned. Evidence presented to support the claims that these children were abandoned in Nepal was determined to be unreliable. This would also include children reported as abandoned at a Nepali hospital (For more information, please refer to our January 26, 2015 adoption notice.).
For more information, please refer to our August 6, 2010 joint Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services statement on Suspension of Processing for New Adoption Cases Based on Abandonment in Nepal.
Additionally, Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare announced that approval for intercountry adoption of “foundling” children from the street will not be granted effective January 5, 2011 Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to read the December 30, 2012 notice concerning adoptions in Nepal before making a decision to pursue an adoption in Nepal.
Cases involving relinquishment by known birth parent(s) are not affected by the suspension. Before taking steps to file your Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Nepal, please read USCIS’s Special Instructions for How and When to File Adoption Petitions on Behalf of Nepali Children.
Due to concerns regarding the reliability of Nepal's adoption system, any relinquishment cases received by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will undergo a thorough Form I-604 determination, which may include birth parent interviews and DNA testing. We caution that Form I-604 determinations may require significant time and additional expenses that would likely raise the overall costs of the adoption for prospective adoptive parents.
We encourage prospective adoptive parents to defer finalizing their adoption of a Nepali child until the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu has completed the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, to ensure the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Nepal, 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.
Notice: Recent discussions with Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens indicate that all Nepal adoptions may be on hold for the foreseeable future. Please contact the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens directly and/or a local attorney specializing in adoptions for information on local adoption procedures. The website for the ministry is not currently functioning. January 10, 2020.
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Nepal has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. Please contact the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens directly for information on local adoption procedures.
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Nepal has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
Under Nepali law, single mothers, or married mothers who have been left by their husbands, must meet stringent requirements regarding the relinquishment of their children for adoption. Birth fathers have twelve years from the child's birth to claim the child and assert custody rights. Unless a mother identifies the father and he agrees, in writing, to the child's adoption, the child will not be eligible for adoption. This can result in uncertainties as to a whether a child is actually eligible for adoption and may result in further investigations and delays.
Birth parent(s) may not relinquish their child directly to an orphanage. They must relinquish the child to the Child Welfare Authority at the Chief District Office (CDO) of each district. The Child Welfare Authority operating under the CDO, rather than the courts, has the authority to determine the subsequent legal guardianship of the child. The court system in Nepal does not have jurisdiction over legal guardianship or adoption issues. Each CDO reports directly to the Nepal Home Ministry (central government). There are 75 districts in Nepal, and each of the districts has a CDO. It is the understanding of the U.S. Embassy that the Child Welfare Authority of the CDO will assign guardianship to an orphanage or children’s home before the child is eligible for intercountry 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.
Nepal’s Adoption Authority: Suspended.
Nepal’s Intercountry Adoption Management Development Board, under the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (Ministry name at that time), was disbanded in July 2019. Recent discussions with Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens indicate that all Nepal adoptions may be on hold for the foreseeable future. Please contact the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens directly and/or a local attorney specializing in adoptions for information on local adoption procedures. The website for the ministry is not currently functioning. January 10, 2020.
The Process: Suspended.
The process for adopting a child from Nepal 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 Nepal’s Authorities to Adopt, and to be Matched with a Child
4. Adopt the Child in Nepal
5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan
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 Suspended.
Before taking steps to adopt a child from Nepal, 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 Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (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: A list of U.S. adoption service providers authorized to facilitate adoptions in Nepal is available at Nepal’s Inter-country Adoption Management Development Board (ICAB) website: http://www.icab.gov.np/agency. Before embarking on an adoption in Nepal, prospective adoptive parents are strongly urged to confirm that their adoption service provider is currently authorized to facilitate adoptions in Nepal.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt Suspended.
In order to adopt a child from Nepal you will need to meet the requirements of the Government and laws of Nepal and U.S. immigration law.
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 Nepal’s Authorities to Adopt, and be Matched with a Child Suspended.
If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, Nepal requires you to submit an adoption application to the adoption authority of Nepal to be found eligible to adopt.
Note: While Nepali law permits authorized adoption service providers and foreign diplomatic missions to submit adoption applications on behalf of prospective adoptive parents, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu cannot execute “cover letters” or submit applications documents to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MOWCSW) on behalf of prospective adoptive parents. Accordingly, the only method available at this time for U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents to submit an application for adoption of a Nepali child is to engage an adoption service provider that is authorized by MOWCSW to facilitate adoptions in Nepal.
The competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Nepal will review your adoption application 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 a 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 Nepal’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.
Note: Prospective adoptive parents will sign many documents throughout the adoption process. Many of these documents are in Nepali, and English translations are not routinely provided. Parents are encouraged to have documents translated before they sign them. The U.S. Embassy requires both the original and the official translation of all case documents at the time of the immigrant visa interview. Prospective adoptive parents may contact the U.S. Embassy in Nepal at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of the required documents, which may differ depending on how the child became eligibile for adoption.
4. Adopt the Child in Nepal - Suspended.
The process for finalizing the adoption in Nepal generally includes the following:
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 Nepal, 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 Nepal 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. Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Nepal include:
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan - Suspended.
After you finalize the adoption in Nepal, 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, your local representative in Nepal may file your Form I-600 petition with the U.S.Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.
When a Form I-600 petition is filed by a local representative with U.S. Embassy Kathmandu, a consular officer will complete the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an “orphan determination”) to verify the child’s status as an orphan, before the prospective adoptive parents come to Nepal to finalize the adoption.
Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. It can take several weeks or longer to complete, depending upon the circumstances of the case. The U.S. Embassy Kathmandu appreciates 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 orphan determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct Form I-604 determinations 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 - Suspended.
Once your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed, therefore 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:
You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child. Most often this is the “Birth Registration Certificate” that is included in your child’s dossier for adoption that is kept on file at your child’s orphanage. Parents can obtain a copy of their child’s birth certificate from the Children’s Home where their child resided before adoption, or, if they require multiple copies, may seek the assistance of a Nepali notary who can obtain copies for a nominal fee.
Birth certificates are also issued by local ward offices and the municaplities. If adoptive parents do want an amended birth certificate listing their names, they can request a new document through either the local ward office or the municipality.
Nepali Travel Document
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document from Nepal.
Once the adoption is finalized, the Intercountry Adoption Management Development Board (ICAB) will issue the final adoption decree, government decision, and child entrustment agreement, which must be submitted at the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Passport office in order to receive a Nepali travel document for your chld. Generally, the Nepali travel document is valid only for one-way travel to the United States and countries enroute. Please note that this is not a Nepali passport; the travel document is a limited document allowing passage only to the country where the adoptive parents reside. This process generally takes 7-10 working days and costs approximately $40.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and travel document for your child and you have filed Form I-600 , you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Kathmandu in Nepal. 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.
U.S. citizens should make appointments with the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu by calling (+977-1- 423-4500) or emailing (email@example.com) in advance.
U.S. Embassy Kathmandu accepts payments for consular services by cash, either in U.S. dollars or Nepali rupees, or by most U.S. credit cards. Payments are only accepted at the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu’s Consular Section and should not be paid to a third party.
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 three days. 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 Kathmandu before making final travel arrangements. Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website at https://np.usembassy.gov/visas/immigrant-visas.
Prospective adoptive parents should also be aware that instances of visa fraud exist in Nepal including fabricated documents and genuine documents that are fraudulently obtained. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu must carefully investigate all orphan visa documents to determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. The need for investigations may result in delays in the visa process. Cases deemed not clearly approvable by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will be referred to the USCIS office in New Delhi, India for review.
Since there are no direct flights to the U.S. from Nepal, the U.S. Embassy recommends that adoptive parents confirm with the countries they plan to transit enroute to the U.S. regarding that country’s transit visa requirements, if any, for their Nepali child. Since your child will travel to the United States on a Nepali travel document (not a Nepali passport), visa requirements may vary from those of U.S. citizens.
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. (Suggest linking to the section that has more info on it.)
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 Nepal
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 Nepal, 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, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy in Nepal, 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 Nepal, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
We urge you to comply with Nepal’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. These requirements change often, based on the current profile and prioritization of intercountry adoption within the Nepali government. After an intercountry adoption is finalized, a “child trust agreement” is sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and forwarded to the Embassy of Nepal in Washington, D.C. Adoptive parents are provided with instructions, often asked to write welfare reports every two years, until the child reaches the age of 18. At other times, the Embassy of Nepal may request a site visit. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Nepal’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after an 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 refer 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 Kathmandu, 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.
Nepal’s Adoption Authority: Suspended.
Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare
Inter-country Adoption Management Development Board (also known as Intercountry Adoption Board or ICAB)
Tel: +977-1- 420-0328
ICAB accepts and does the processing of the intercountry adoption applications
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nepal
2131 Leroy Place, 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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