Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to Crimea due to:
-foreign occupation and abuses by occupation authorities
-the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, especially the non-government controlled areas, due to armed conflict.
Crime targeting foreigners and property is common. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv. Politically targeted assassinations and bombings have also occurred.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Ukrainian Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Ukraine:
There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in Crimea as part of Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of this part of Ukraine, which the international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize. There are continuing abuses against and arbitrary imprisonment of foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in Crimea, particularly abuses against individuals who are seen as challenging Russian authority on the peninsula.
The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in Crimea as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to Crimea.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Donetsk and Luhansk
Russia-led forces continue to control areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where the ongoing armed conflict has resulted in over 10,000 deaths. Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at checkpoints controlled by Russia-led forces.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in Donetsk or Luhansk since U.S. government employees are restricted from traveling to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and to adjacent regions.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Ukraine is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Ukraine did not change.
According to a resolution that came into effect on December 1, 2008, the Ukrainian Adoption Authority, the SDAPRC, will now have the right to refuse to register your dossier if, at the time of the dossier's submission to the SDAPRC, the central database of Ukrainian children available for intercountry adoptions will not contain any children complying with the recommendation in your home study. Given the statistics published by the SDAPRC and available on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, there are currently no healthy children (or children with minor, correctable health problems) under three and very few under six years old. Therefore, if you are recommended for a healthy child or a child with minor/correctable health problems under six years of age, the SDAPRC is very likely to refuse even to accept and register your dossier.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Ukraine, you must 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). Learn more.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Ukraine also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
Ukraine has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Ukraine unless he or she meets these requirements, and is listed on the database of adoptable children available for intercountry adoptions maintained by the central adoption authority in Ukraine, the SDAPRC,
In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.
Ukraine's Adoption Authority
State Department for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child (SDAPRC)
The process for adopting a child from Ukraine generally includes the following steps:
Choose an Adoption Service Provider:
The first step in adopting a child from Ukraine is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.
To bring an adopted child from Ukraine to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the country's requirements as described in the "WHO" tab.
Be Matched with a Child:
The SDAPRC, the central adoption authority in Ukraine, maintains the database of adoptable children available for both domestic and intercountry adoptions, and will help you meet and identify an eligible child to adopt. If you are eligible to adopt, and the SDAPRC approves your application, you will receive an appointment (invitation) to visit the SDAPRC. At this appointment SDAPRC officials will show you information about orphans eligible for intercountry adoption, and issue a letter of referral to allow you to visit an orphanage to meet and establish contact with a child, and check his or her medical records.
As of December 1, 2008 the SDAPRC will allow only three appointments to each adoptive family to look at the children's files. If you have not chosen a child after the third appointment, your adoption dossier will be returned to you immediately. You will need to submit a notarized statement to request a second/third appointment with your dossier to the SDAPRC and then they officially have ten business days to respond with the date of your second/third appointment. The SDAPRC also limits the number of adoption referrals issued to each family to two referrals.
Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Ukraine's requirements, as described in the "Who" tab. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law.Learn More.
NOTE: SDAPRC officials will not meet with prospective adoptive parents who arrive without an appointment or on a day other than when their appointment is scheduled. Ukrainian law does not allow adoption intermediaries. No private interpreters or facilitators are allowed to interpret during the meetings between the prospective adoptive parents and the SDAPRC. The private interpreters can be used at later stages of the adoption process.
The judge's decision is announced and issued the day of the hearing. However, it will not take effect for 10 days. During the 10 days the adoption can be appealed. If an appeal application is submitted, an additional 20-day period is granted for the appellant to file his/her complete appeal. This additional time can be shortened or waived if the court finds that delaying the final court decision would be contrary to the child's best interests. Once the final decision takes effect, the adoptive parents have full parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.
Home Study - Certificate of completed home study, issued by a competent authority in the prospective adoptive parents' country. If completed by a non-governmental entity, a copy of the license authorizing this entity to conduct home studies must be included. As of December 1, 2008, the home study should include the following:*
The home study must also include the recommendations regarding the number, age and health condition of the children that can be adopted by the prospective adoptive parents. The conclusion should clearly state that it is the agency/social worker's recommendation for this family to adopt this particular child or children, not just the family's own preference.
Form I-171H, Notice of Approval of Advance Processing, entrance and permanent residence permit for the adopted child.
Proof of Income, including bank statements, W-2 forms for the most recent six months or tax returns for the last calendar year, certified by the issuing authority or notarized, * and a statement from the parents' employers indicating salary.
Home ownership/Rental Documents - A notarized copy of the document confirming ownership or rental rights of the adoptive parents for their house or apartment, indicating total and living area as well as number of bedrooms . *
Medical Information - A specific medical form must be completed. Although the form instructs parents to visit eight separate specialists, the parents may simply visit their family doctor. The doctor must complete the form in its entirety. The doctor must also include an official and authenticated statement that the parents are not drug addicts, and that they do not have syphilis or HIV/AIDS.
Two notarized copies of marriage certificate.*
Copies of the passports or other identification papers of prospective adoptive parents. If one prospective adoptive parent is not an American citizen, a copy of the Permanent Resident Card must be included.
"No criminal record" statement from a competent authority, attesting to his/her/their having no criminal record at the State level.
Registration Commitment - The prospective adoptive parents must commit, in writing, to register their child with the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in the United States within one month of the completion of the adoption. The parents also agree to complete the post-adoption progress reports. This document must be prepared in duplicate and should include the following commitments:
* Indicates new requirement as of December 1, 2008.
NOTE : The SDAPRC will not accept any notarized statements in place of W-2 forms or other proof of income, nor will they accept notarized statements or affidavits instead of the documents confirming property rights. On the date of submission of your documents to the SDAPRC, they should remain valid for at least six months. Documents are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance or notarization, except for the I-171H form, which is valid for 18 months. Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Ukraine, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how .
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 several 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.
Once the final decree has been issued, the local Vital Records Office (RAGS) issues the child a new birth certificate. In order to receive the revised birth certificate, parents must submit both the court decree and the child's original Ukrainian birth certificate. Parents should make a copy of the pre-adoption birth certificate because it will not be returned.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Ukraine.
After receiving the post-adoption birth certificate, the parents may apply to the Office of Visas and Registration (VVIR) for a Ukrainian passport for their child. Parents must present a written and notarized request that the travel document be issued. Along with the request, parents should provide the post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and four passport photos of the child. Issuance of the passport takes at least 10 days following the application submission.
Because the child's new name in the passport will be transliterated directly from Ukrainian into English, it may be spelled differently from how the parents would spell it in English. This difference should not cause concern as long as the child's name in Ukrainian on the travel documents is the same as in the court decree.
At the time the passport is issued, a special, mandatory stamp is put in it showing the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. The stamp is called a "PMZh-stamp" for the words "permanent residence" in Ukrainian.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for a 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-600 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. Learn more.
NOTE: In Ukraine, the 10-day waiting period for the passport issuance is in addition to the 10-day waiting period following the final court hearing.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Ukraine. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States 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 also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Ukraine, 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-country, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
*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.Learn More about the Child Citizenship Act.
What does Ukraine require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Ukraine requires adoptive parents to supply information about the adopted child's living conditions and educational progress to the Ukrainian consular office annually during the first three years following the adoption and once every three years thereafter, until the child's 18 th birthday. Note: Under Ukrainian law, an adopted child remains a citizen until he/she turns 18 years old. At that time, he/she can decide whether or not to remain a Ukrainian citizen.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Ukraine 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 are some good places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Ukraine
4 Igor Sikorsky Street
Ukraine's Adoption Authority
Department for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child (DAPRC)
Ministry for Social Policy of Ukraine
8/10 Esplanadna St.
Kyiv, Ukraine 01025
Tel/fax: +38(044) 289-5629
Embassy of Ukraine
Embassy of Ukraine
3350 M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202 333 0606
Fax: 202 333 0817
*Ukraine also has consulates general in Chicago (http://chicago.mfa.gov.ua/en), New York (http://ny.mfa.gov.ua/en) and San Francisco (http://san-francisco.mfa.gov.ua/en).
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
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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