Latvia: Latvian Government Clarifies Transition Case Processing After Passing New Adoption Regulations

Last Updated: December 21, 2018

On November 8, 2018, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers enacted new adoption regulations that restrict which children may be eligible for intercountry adoption. The new regulations restrict which children may be eligible for intercountry adoption and limit intercountry adoption to children in three groups: 1) children living in institutions, for whom an adoptive family in Latvia has not been found; 2) stepchildren of prospective adoptive parents; and 3) children living with a foster care family in Latvia, if the adoptive child is related to the prospective adoptive parents.  The new regulations will also impose additional requirements on accredited adoption service providers (ASPs) and require more pre-adoption training programs, including classroom and practical training hours.  ASPs have six months from the effective date of the new regulations to create new training programs and apply for an extension of their authorization to operate in Latvia.  Latvia’s Ministry of Welfare (Central Adoption Authority) will post an official English translation of the new regulations on their website in January 2019. Once the regulations are posted, the Office of Children’s Issues will post an updated notice on with a link to their site, and will update the country information page for Latvia. 

The U.S. Embassy in Latvia has met with the Ministry of Welfare to discuss adoption cases that were in process prior to the November 8, 2018 implementation of the new regulations (pending cases). The Minister confirmed that cases will not be subject to the new requirements if the prospective adoptive parents received an official referral prior to November 8, 2018. On a case-by-case basis, the Ministry will consider whether the new requirement will apply to situations in which the ASP submitted completed adoption applications OR letters of intent prior to November 8, 2018 but for which the prospective adoptive parents have not yet received a referral.  

In an effort to ensure the Ministry is aware of all pending cases, ASPs should provide the following information to Jana Sipola, Senior Desk Officer at the Children and Family Policy Department of the Latvian Ministry of Welfare, by e-mail at

  • Names of the prospective adoptive parents;
  • Names of the children;
  • Confirmation of which documents the prospective adoptive parents submitted before November 8, 2018, including whether a complete adoption application OR letter of intent; and
  • Any other detail that ASP may consider relevant to assist the Ministry identify the case.   

Prospective adoptive parents who have additional questions about the new regulations or their specific adoption should consult with their ASP.

Please continue to monitor for updated information on intercountry adoption in Latvia. For questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at