The information provided below summarizes from three sources .
The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (WCS) has sole authoriy to both process adoptions and to match the children through matching committees; the orphanages no longer have a role in matching children for adoption procedures in Nepal.
- Official Website for the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Nepal (Major References)
- Official Website for the Embassy of United States in Nepal
- http://adoption.state.gov/country/nepal.html - Office of Children Issues, United States.
Responsible Body in the country
The process for adopting a child from Nepal generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an adoption service provider
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child
- Adopt the child in Nepal
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for adoption
- Bring your child home
Country Specific Adoption Policies to Adopt Children from Nepal
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
Choose an adoption service providerDifferent policies apply to
For United States, the first step in adopting a child from Nepal 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.
Most adoptive families work with an adoption agency in the U.S. to adopt a child in Nepal. The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu encourages all parents to work through a U.S. agency, as the adoption process in Nepal is quite complex; furthermore, experienced agencies are able to provide support and counseling services before, during, and after the adoption. The Nepalese Government requires that adoptive parents work with one of 33 American agencies approved by the Government of Nepal to conduct adoptions in Nepal. Only designated orphanages in Nepal are approved to process intercountry adoption cases. The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu does not maintain a list of U.S. agencies or Nepalese orphanages processing inter-country adoption cases in Nepal, as these may frequently change.
Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the licensing authority in the U.S. state in which the agency is located or licensed.
2- Apply to be found eligible to adopt:
To bring an adopted child from Nepal 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), as well as by the Government of Nepal. Learn how.
Adoptive parents in Nepal sign many documents in the process of completing an adoption. Many of these documents are in Nepalese, and English translations are not routinely provided. Parents are encouraged to have documents translated before they are signed. Shree Law Book Management Board is the official Governmental translation office. The office is located in Babar Mahal, Kathmandu. The U.S. Embassy requires both the original and the official translation of all case documents at the time of the immigrant visa interview. Please see the "Applying for a visa for your child at the U.S. Embassy in Nepal" section of this handout for a list of the required documents.
3- Be matched with a child:
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Nepal will provide you with a referral to a child. 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 Nepal's requirements. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn how.
The Nepalese Government requires that all adoptive parents complete and sign a "Guarantee Letter." This letter, which is made part of the dossier that is submitted to the WCS serves to assure the Nepalese Government that the adoptive parents have been approved by the U.S. Government to be adoptive parents and that, if legally qualified, the child will be eligible to immigrate to teh United States. The guarantee letter is a requirement of the Nepalese Government, not of the United States Government.
4- Adopt the child (or gain legal custody) in Nepal:
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Nepal generally includes the following:
• ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (WCS) is the Nepalese Government office responsible for adoptions in Nepal.
• ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Most adoptive families work with an adoption agency in the U.S. to adopt a child in Nepal.
• ROLE OF THE U.S. EMBASSY: The U.S. Embassy regularly meets with the Nepalese Government, and specifically the Ministry or Women, Children and Social Welfare (WCS), on a variety of adoption issues and to advocate for the general interests of U.S. adopting parents. The U.S. Embassy is not able, however, to intervene on behalf of individual cases or expedite the Nepalese Government adoption process.
• TIME FRAME: The process from the approval of the I-600A and the issuance of the Guarantee Letter to the approval of the adoption by the Nepalese Government varies in length from six months to two years. The process for adopting children over the age of three years sometimes is completed in a shorter time period. The timing is often uneven and inconsistent; changes in the security situation or the Government may lead to additional delays. Recent changes in adoption regulations may significantly impact adoption processing in Nepal. Only one visit is required. After the dossier is submitted, a match is made, and an adoption decree will be issued.
• ADOPTION FEES: Under the new terms and conditions from January 2009, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare regulates all fees involved in adopting an orphan from Nepal. The adoptive parents are required to pay a total of $8,000 USD to the Government of Nepal, of which $5,000 will go to the orphanage and $3,000 to the Ministry. Prospective parents should not be asked for any additional money by either the Ministry or the orphanage. If they are asked for additional fees or donations, prospective adoptive parents should inform the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu. Prospective parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees paid, either by the parents directly or through their U.S. adoption agencies. The U.S. Embassy requires a copy of receipts and information on fees paid in the U.S. and in Nepal at the time of the immigrant visa interview.
• DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
•The Nepalese Government requires that all adoptive parents complete and sign a "Guarantee Letter." This letter, which is made part of the dossier that is submitted to the WCS, serves to assure the Nepalese Government that the adoptive parents have been approved by the U.S. Government to be adoptive parents and that, if legally qualified, the child will be eligible to immigrate to the United States.
• The full names of the parents, dates of birth, passport numbers, and permanent legal address are required for inclusion in the Guarantee Letter.
• In addition, the Embassy needs to have on file an approved (and current) I-600A and a Visas 37 cable in hand before we can issue a Guarantee Letter.
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.
5- Apply for the child to be found eligible for adoption
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Nepal, 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.
6- Bring your child home
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:
The parents need to have the child's original Nepali birth certificate in hand.
Nepalese Travel Document
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document from the Nepali government. Once adoptive parents obtain the adoption decree, they will also need to obtain a travel document for the child through the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Generally, the Nepalese travel document is valid only for one-way travel to the United States and countries en route.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the travel document 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.
Since there is no direct flight to the U.S. from Nepal, the U.S. Embassy recommends that adoptive parents confirm with the countries that they will transit what visa requirements, if any, exist for the child. As the child will travel back to the U.S. on a Nepalese travel document (not a Nepalese passport), visa requirements may vary from those for U.S. or Nepalese citizens.
Prospective adoptive parents should also be aware that high levels of visa fraud in Nepal include fabricated documents or real documents fraudulently obtained. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu must carefully investigage all orphan visa cases to determine whether the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law. The need for investigations may result in delays in the visa process and issuing the visa. Cases deemed not clearly approvable by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will be referred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for review.
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 a lawful permanent resident.
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.
Applying for your U.S. passport.
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 complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for your to print - all in one place.
Obtaining your visa
In addition to a U.S. Passport, you also need to obtain a visa for Nepal. 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.
All visitors to Nepal must obtain a visa. To find information about obtaining a visa for Nepal, 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 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.
- Latest Travel Warning for Nepal
Staying in touch on your trip
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 is a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Nepal, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Nepal require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Nepal requires that adopting parents send a yearly progress report relating to the maintenance, education, and health of the adopted child, along with a recently taken post-card size photograph of the child. Adopting parents can send these reports through their adoption agency.
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 familiy - whether it is 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:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- North American Council on Adoptable Children
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Nepal
Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepal's Children Authority
Central Office, Bal Mandir, Naxal
P.O. Box 6967, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel.: 977-4-411-202, 4-410-844, 4-419-219
Embassy of Nepal
2131 Leroy Place, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
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)