New Zealand is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the 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 New Zealand]. New Zealand is not a sending country for intercountry adoptions. The only adoptions that are likely to take place from New Zealand are relative adoptions. The Central Authority does not retain intercountry adoption dossiers sent from overseas for non-relative children.
Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of New Zealand. U.S. citizens interested in adopting children from New Zealand should contact the Central Authority of New Zealand to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in New Zealand who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact New Zealand’s Central Authority. See contact information below.
New Zealand became party to the Hague Adoption Convention in 1999 and adopted the Adoption (Intercountry) Act of 1997 as its implementing legislation. An intercountry adoption from a non-Convention country can be recognized in New Zealand under certain conditions established by Section 17 of the Adoption Act of 1955. Under the Convention, New Zealand considers child placement options in New Zealand before placing a child for an intercountry adoption. As a result, New Zealand usually requires prospective adoptive parents to be permanent residents of New Zealand.
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the New Zealand Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from New Zealand where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the New Zealand’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in New Zealand before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any 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.
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.
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)
Last Updated: March 26, 2018
Assistance for U.S. Citizens
U.S. Consulate General Auckland
Citigroup Centre, 3rd Floor, 23 Customs Street East Auckland, New Zealand
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