Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Spain Intercountry Adoption Information
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If you decide to travel to Spain:
Spain is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Spain and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
Spain is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. There are few children eligible for adoption, with a long waiting list of Spanish prospective adoptive parents. Most intercountry adoptions in Spain are by legal residents of Spain who adopt in third countries.
While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Spanish orphan by foreigners is unlikely. No Spanish orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Spain, including adoptions of Spanish children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Spain.
Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Spain, 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.
Adoption between the United States and Spain is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Spain, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt. Learn more.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Spain also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
Note: Spain legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.
Because Spain is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Spain must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Spain attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Spain’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Each of the 17 Autonomous Communities in Spain is the Central Authority for its territory. The national-level Central Authority for transmission of communications, the Dirección General del Menor y Familia in Madrid, is the office responsible for transmitting requests from prospective adoptive parents to the Central Authority in the appropriate Autonomous Community.
Because Spain is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Spain must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.
NOTE: f you filed your I-600a with Spain before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions Read about Transition Cases for more information.
After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
Once the U.S. government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Spain. Spain’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Spain’s law.
If both the United States and Spain determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Spain may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.
After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Spain’s adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.
Remember:The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Spain generally includes the following:
If a U.S. citizen residing in Spain wishes to bring a child adopted in another country to reside in Spain, and requires periodic monitoring of the adoption, a list of the officially accredited adoption agencies can be obtained through the Dirección General del Menor y Familia Servicio de Adopción Internacional y Acogimiento Familiar at C/ Agustín de Betancourt 4, 28003 Madrid, tel.: 91 363 2300. Americans residing in Spain who wish to adopt a child from another country should also refer to the Department of State adoption flyer for the child’s country of origin.
ADOPTION FEES: From 12,000 to 20,000 Euros.
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.
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents.
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
In Spain, the Judge who authorizes the adoption will issue an order to register the adoption at the Civil Registry, which records vital statistics. The adoption is annotated at the margin of the original birth record. Adopting parents may request the original birth record be cancelled and a new one will be created with the adoption information only.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Spain.
The adopting parents may apply for the Spanish passport using the new birth certificate.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.
*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Spain. 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 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.
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Spain, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.
The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Spain, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Spain require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Spain does have post adoption requirements. However, there are different requirements among the different 17 Autonomous Communities (regions), and you will need to contact the relevant regional authority to learn about the requirements for that region.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Spain and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s history of positive experiences with American parents.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here is a good place to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Spain
American Embassy Madrid
American Citizen Services
C./ Serrano, 75
Tel: 011 34 91 587 2200
Fax: 011 34 91 587 2243
Spain's Adoption Authority
Spain is divided in to 17 Autonomous Communities, each of which has its own governmental entity in charge of adoptions.
Embassy of Spain
Address: 2375 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 202-728-2334; (from Spain): (1 202) 452 01 00; (1 202) 728 23 40
Fax (from Spain): (1 202) 833 56 70
*Spain also has consulates in: Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Boise, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Detroit, El Paso, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Pensacola, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan (PR), St. Louis, and Seattle.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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