Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

May 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

Intercountry Adoption


Country Information


Republic of Nicaragua
Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of wrongful detention, and limited healthcare availability. Exercise increased caution in Nicaragua due to crime.

Reissued with updates to information on arbitrary enforcement of laws.

Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of wrongful detention, and limited healthcare availability. Exercise increased caution in Nicaragua due to crime.

Country Summary: Throughout Nicaragua, government and law enforcement officials continue to target individuals and organizations seen as opponents of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. U.S. citizens, including dual Nicaraguan-U.S. citizens, have been subject to revocation of Nicaraguan citizenship, reentry bans, expulsion, and other actions. The government and its affiliated groups have been reported to:

  • Arbitrarily prevent individuals from entering or departing Nicaragua by air or land for perceived associations.
  • Search personal phones, computers, and documents for anti-government content, limit photography of government property, and sometimes seize devices.
  • Systematically target individuals for political reasons, regardless of nationality, including former allies, political activists, business representatives, clergy, human rights advocates, civil society leaders, academics, and members of the press.
  • Arbitrarily target pro-democracy advocates and their family members.
  • Confiscate privately-owned land, residences, financial assets, and personal property without warning or due process.
  • Arbitrarily detain, accuse, and charge individuals with terrorism, money laundering, and organized crime offenses for political reasons without respect for fair trial guarantees.

U.S. citizen residents of Nicaragua also report increased scrutiny of alleged political speech.

U.S. citizens arrested in Nicaragua may find themselves subject to prolonged detention without charges or respect of fair trial guarantees. The judicial process lacks transparency, especially in politically motivated arrests and property dispute cases. Political influence and pressure may influence the outcome of legal proceedings.

The Department has determined the risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals by the Government of Nicaragua exists.

Travelers should exercise increased caution and be alert to the risks of crime, including violent crimes such as sexual assault and armed robbery.

Poor infrastructure in parts of the country limits the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in emergencies. U.S. government personnel under Chief of Mission security responsibility may be subject to restrictions on their movements at any time.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Nicaragua.

If you decide to travel to Nicaragua:

  • Consider arrangements to depart the country quickly.
  • Ensure your U.S. passport is valid and available for a quick departure from the country, if needed.
  • Avoid demonstrations and restrict unnecessary travel.
  • Do not attempt to drive through crowds, barricades, or roadblocks.
  • Maintain adequate supplies of food, cash, potable water, and fuel in case you need to shelter in place.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Nicaragua.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Both adoptions to the United States from Nicaragua and from the United States to Nicaragua are possible.

Hague Convention Information

Nicaragua 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”).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 CFR, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Unless an exception applies, the UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as a primary provider in every orphan 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.  Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information.  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 Convention 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.

Important Notice: The entire Nicaraguan adoption process timeframe – even when successful – is unpredictable and can take between nine months and two years. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to spend at least three to six months, and often much more, of that time physically present in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan law does not allow for a Nicaraguan child to travel to the United States to be adopted. Therefore, prospective adoptive parent(s) must obtain a full and final adoption under Nicaraguan law before the child can immigrate to the United States.

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Family has a history of abrupt staffing changes and often requests additional documents from adoptive parents that were not initially required as part of the process. It is strongly suggested that adoption service providers acting as the primary provider in adoptions from Nicaragua work with a Nicaraguan attorney to assist them in keeping adoption cases on track because the Ministry of the Family will not communicate with foreign adoption service providers. Few Nicaraguan government officials speak English. A list of attorneys registered with the U.S. Embassy in Managua is available on the Embassy’s website, and prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers can search attorney names here to confirm if they are in good standing and registered as attorneys in Nicaragua (information available in Spanish only). The administrative process that takes place in the Ministry of the Family, including the approval notice, is all free of charge.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Nicaragua, 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.

Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Nicaragua must meet the following Nicaraguan requirements:

  • Residency: Prospective adoptive parent(s) who are U.S. citizens must meet one of the following criteria:
    • Possess Nicaraguan citizenship, OR
    • Have a permanent residence in Nicaragua and plan to remain in Nicaragua until the child reaches 21 years of age, OR
    • Have an approved I-600A or I-600 form.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be between 24 and 55 years of age and have a minimum 15-year age difference between the child and the adoptive parents.  However, the Ministry of the Family has been known to be flexible on these requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • Marriage: Nicaragua currently only permits married heterosexual couples to adopt. 
  • Income: While Nicaragua’s family law does not specify a particular minimum income requirement, it does say that prospective adoptive parents need to present a job letter as evidence of their income, as well as savings account records or property titles, if they have any.

Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements imposed by Nicaragua:

  • Relinquishment: Nicaragua’s family law specifically requires that children be declared abandoned or neglected by a family court judge before being placed for adoption. As part of the abandonment process, some biological parents may sign a relinquishment letter at Nicaragua’s Ministry of the Family, but this alone is not sufficient for the child to be considered adoptable under Nicaraguan law.
  • Abandonment: As of July 2016, only children who have been declared abandoned or neglected by a Nicaraguan family court are eligible to be matched for adoption. Please contact Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family should you require more details on the criteria under which a child may be declared abandoned or neglected under Nicaraguan law.  Children who are residing with biological family members, including aunts, uncles, siblings, or grandparents, generally will not be declared abandoned. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that Nicaraguan law allows biological relatives up to 18 months, or until an adoption is finalized (whichever occurs first), to appeal an abandonment or neglect ruling. The final adoption decree can take more than six months in Nicaraguan courts, during which time any biological relative has the right to come forward and make a claim to the child.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Under Nicaraguan law, generally adoptions must be completed before the child turns 15 years old.  However, if the child has been under the care of the prospective adoptive parents for at least three years before turning 15, the adoption can be completed up until the time the child turns 18.

Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16, unless an exception applies (i.e., under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate as an orphan based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.

  • Sibling Adoptions: No country-specific requirements.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: No country-specific requirements.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Nicaraguan adoption law generally requires a fostering period of at least three months in Nicaragua once a match is made, unless the Adoption Council requests a longer fostering period. During this time, prospective adoptive parent(s) are expected to live with and care for the child in Nicaragua.  Nicaraguan law prioritizes adoptions by Nicaraguan citizens, meaning that Nicaraguan parent(s) willing and eligible to adopt a child might jump to the head of the queue in front of non-Nicaraguans who may have already been waiting months to adopt a child. If adopting more than one child, you should ensure all paperwork for each child is filed simultaneously, or delays may occur.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available 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) rarely relinquish their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

How to Adopt

Nicaragua’s Adoption Authority:  Ministry of the Family (Mi Familia)

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Nicaragua 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 Nicaragua’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Nicaragua
  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 Nicaragua, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic or public foreign authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA.  Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

Nicaragua does not allow any foreign adoption service providers to work in the country. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents nearly always select a local attorney from the List Of Attorneys registered with the U.S. Embassy to represent them in Nicaragua. Prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers can search attorney names here to confirm if they are in good standing and registered as attorneys in Nicaragua (information available in Spanish only).

2Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Nicaragua, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Nicaragua 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. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. 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 comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3. Apply to Nicaragua’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, you may also submit an adoption application to the Ministry of the Family of Nicaragua to be found eligible to adopt by Nicaragua.

Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family will verify that the prospective adoptive parents have been approved by USCIS to adopt a child from abroad and verify translated and notarized copies of the home study conducted in the United States. The Form I-600A approval is valid for 18 months from the approval date and can be extended once at no extra charge, prior to its expiration for an additional 18 months. If the adoption is not completed before the extension of the Form I-600A expires, the prospective adoptive parents will have to file a new Form I-600A and pay the fee.

If the Ministry of the Family determines that you are eligible to adopt, they will place you on a waiting list until an appropriate match is identified. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child, and must adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Nicaragua’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 Nicaragua

The process for finalizing the adoption in Nicaragua generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority
    • CONSEJO DE ADOPCIÓN: Once all the relevant information is evaluated by Ministry of the Family adoption staff and necessary investigations performed, the case is presented to the Ministry of the Family's Consejo de Adopción for a decision on the parent(s)' eligibility to adopt. At this time, they will match the parent(s) with a child eligible for adoption in Nicaragua. The Consejo de Adopción is comprised of 12 representatives from various governmental and non-governmental entities, including one adoptive parent, according to Nicaragua’s family law.
    • FOSTERING PERIOD: Once a match with a child is made, the prospective adoptive parent(s) will enter a mandatory three-month minimum fostering period in Nicaragua with the child, though the Adoption Council can request a longer fostering period. During this period, at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must live with the child and provide all physical and emotional support for the child. Often parent(s) who are not normally resident in Nicaragua choose to stay in an extended-stay hotel in Nicaragua or rent a home. Delays are possible during this time period.
    • SECOND CONSEJO DE ADOPCIÓN: Once the fostering period is successfully completed, the Consejo de Adopción will meet again for a final decision on the adoption. If the adoption is approved by the Ministry of the Family, it will move forward to court approval.
  • Role of the Court: The Nicaraguan court issues the final adoption decree. If the Ministry of the Family approves the adoption, the decision is then sent to a judge for further review. The judge has the authority to deny a case when there is a concern for the child's welfare and/or if a relative comes forward to claim guardianship, even after the court decree of abandonment is finalized. Typically it can take up to six months after the Ministry of the Family approves the adoption for the court to formally order the final adoption decree. 
  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers:

Starting July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case.  Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. 

  • Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    1. Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption; 
    2. Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption; 
    3. Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study; 
    4. Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child; 
    5. Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or 
    6. When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions

Please note that Nicaragua does not allow foreign adoption service providers to operate in the country.

  • Adoption Application: The prospective adoptive parents file an application with the Ministry of the Family stating their intent to adopt from Nicaragua.
  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Nicaragua take from nine months to two years to complete from the time a dossier is accepted by the adoption authority to the time the final adoption is issued. 
  • Adoption Fees: The Ministry of the Family does not charge a fee for adoptions. Typical associated charges for the process will include personal legal fees and fees for obtaining notarized legal documents. These fees generally range from $1,500 to $3,000 USD. Additionally consider the cost of living in Nicaragua and potential time away from work during the required 3-month (minimum) fostering period in Nicaragua and the estimated six-month wait for the adoption to be finalized in court after the final council approval.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through your 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 Nicaragua with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. For more information in this regard, please refer to information concerning the Complaint Registry.

Improper payments may violate applicable law or create the appearance of child buying, and could put all future adoptions in Nicaragua at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe 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 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 function, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

  • Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parents must provide originals or apostilled certified copies and two photocopies of all required documents to the Ministry of the Family. Documents must be translated into Spanish, and those issued in the United States (identified below with a *) must be authenticated and have an apostille. Required documents for the application to adopt in Nicaragua may include:
    • Notice of approval (I-171H) issued by USCIS
    • Home study 
    • Letter addressed to Directora General de Adopción (Director General for Adoptions) expressing interest in adopting a child in Nicaragua
    • Birth certificate(s) of prospective adoptive parent(s)*
    • Marriage certificate of prospective adoptive parent(s) (if applicable)*
    • Medical examination of prospective adoptive parent(s)
    • Letter(s) of employment for prospective adoptive parent(s)
    • Three letters of recommendation of moral and financial standing
    • U.S. police record (FBI fingerprints fulfill this requirement)
    • Psychological evaluation by a U.S.-based adoption agency and proof of the agency’s license (the home study meets this requirement)
    • Two 2" x 2" color photographs of prospective adoptive parent(s) with a white background
    • Completion of course for adoptive parents (takes place in the United States)
    • Letter from a U.S.-based adoption agency indicating that it will follow-up with the case in the United States once the adoption has been completed in Nicaragua. Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family requires a U.S.-based adoption agency to conduct annual visits after the adoption and to report on the welfare of the child until the child reaches 18 years of age.

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:  The United States and Nicaragua are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption in Nicaragua, USCIS must determine whether 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. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies.  For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.

If you have a valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, approval you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS National Benefits Center, the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your residence if living abroad, or  if eligible, in person at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS, the consular section in Managua, Nicaragua 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. 

For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition.  Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. It can take a few weeks to complete, 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

Now that your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Nicaragua, you will need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. When the final adoption decree is issued by the Nicaraguan court, you will be able to obtain a birth certificate (at least two original copies are recommended) from the Central Registry in Managua with the adoptive parent(s)’ surnames. The Civil Registry is located in the SERVIGOB building; the first certificate is free and the second costs C$ 35.00 (approximately $1 USD). Expedited, same-day service for birth certificate issuance is available at the Central Registry for C$120.00 (approximately $4 USD). You can also apply for a birth certificate on Fridays only at Hospital Bertha Calderon, Hospital Aleman Nicaraguense, Hospital Solidaridad, or Hospital Vivian Pellas for the same cost, with certificates available for pick-up the day after the application is made. It is recommended that you have the new birth certificate authenticated at the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  You should also receive a Decree of Abandonment for the child.

Nicaragua Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Nicaragua.

As soon as the new birth certificate has been issued, a passport should be obtained from Nicaraguan Immigration (approximately $50 USD). The normal turnaround time for a Nicaraguan passport is one to two weeks. Expedited same-day passport service is generally available for an extra charge (approximately $50 USD).  Parent(s) will also need to obtain an "exit visa" from Nicaraguan Immigration in order to leave the country with the child (approximately $20 USD). The Nicaraguan exit visa is valid for 30 days and parents should wait until after receiving the U.S. immigrant visa before applying for a Nicaraguan exit visa.

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 Managua. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

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. 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.  Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Managua at for complete instructions regarding supporting documents required for the visa interview and to schedule the interview.                                                                                       

Visa issuance for children who are found eligible for a visa after the final interview generally takes two to three business days. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents will be told on the day of the interview when they can return to pick up the visa and immigration packet. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Managua before making final travel arrangements.

Bring Your Child Home

Once your child has received their passport and immigration packet, they are able to travel to the United States. DO NOT open the immigration packet. This packet will be opened at the port of entry by immigration officials once the adoptive parent(s) and child arrive in the United States.


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.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Traveling Abroad

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 has acquired U.S. citizenship s/he will need a U.S. passport for any 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 Nicaragua

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 Nicaragua, 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 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 Nicaragua, 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 Nicaragua, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Nicaragua's Ministry of the Family requires a U.S.-based adoption agency to conduct annual visits after adoption and to report on the welfare of the child until the child reaches age 18. These reports need to be sent directly to the Ministry of the Family's Consejo de Adopción.

We urge you to comply with Nicaragua’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 Nicaragua’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

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. 

Here are some places to start 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 Managua, 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 petition process.

The Hague 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 substantial 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 Hague Complaint Registry

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua
Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur
Tel: 011 (505) 2252-7888
Fax: 011 (505) 2252-7304

Nicaragua’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of the Family (MiFamilia)
De ENEL Central, 100 mts. Al Sur, Managua
Tel: 011 (505) 2270-2644
011 (505) 2278-1620
011 (505) 2278-5637

Embassy of Nicaragua
1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NM
Washington, D.C. 20009
Tel: (202) 939-6531/32
Consular Section: Tel: (202) 939-6541
Fax: (202) 939-6574

Nicaragua also has consulates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, New York, and other cities.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747

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)

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Managua
Km 5 ½ Carretera Sur
Managua, Nicaragua
+(505) 2252-7100
+(505) 2252-7100
+(505) 2252-7250

Nicaragua Map