Bulgaria is party to the Hague Convention.
Who Can Adopt
You must meet eligibility requirements in the United States as set by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as those of Bulgaria.
Bulgaria country requirements include:
- Heterosexual married couples and single men and women may adopt. Bulgaria has no marriage or divorce requirements, although US agencies may.
- Adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age with at least one parent 15 years older than the child. If parent over 50, must be open to an older child or one with special needs.
- Adoptive parents must be in good physical, medical and mental health, and free of criminal conviction, including that relating to moral character.
- Couples without children get preference to families who already have children. Families with more than 4 children in the home will need to consider an older child or one with special needs are discouraged unless considering a child with special needs or an older child.
- Must meet US Poverty Guidelines.
- Demonstrated ability to provide a safe family environment and meet the needs of a child, including an understanding of risks, developmental delays, identified and potential medical needs, and the adjustment course for an internationally adopted child.
- Applicants must complete Adoptive Parent Training and Education, including awareness of how to maintain the child’s connection to culture and heritage.
- Agreement to complete all Country and US requirements, including a period of post-adoption reports required.
Children Awaiting Adoption
Every attempt is made to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. Bulgarian children are listed on the national registry for 6 months. In addition, the child must meet the US definition of an orphan.
Boys and girls are available for adoption and a family can specify gender preference. There are more boys than girls.
The age at referral for the youngest children is 18 months of age for a healthy child. Special needs children may be younger at time of referral. Special needs include children with major medical needs, sibling groups, children over age 7 years and boys. There is a separate Special Needs Registry for children eligible for adoption.
Children are of Roma (Gypsy) or Turkish decent.
It is possible to adopt siblings or unrelated children at the same time.
Adopting more than one unrelated child at same time
How to Adopt
Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider in the United States.
While there are no American agencies licensed in Bulgaria. There are those who operate through licensed Bulgarian entities. Each American adoption agency operating in Bulgaria should be either licensed by the MOJ or should use the services of a Bulgarian licensed agency.
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt – USCIS Form I-800A.
You will complete your Adoption Homestudy, which will be submitted as part of this step of the process.
Your Adoption Service Provider will assist you in the compilation of your overseas dossier. Once completed, the dossier is translated and submitted to the Ministry of Justice. Once reviewed and accepted, you will be placed on the waiting list. Referrals are handles by the International Adoption Committee in Bulgaria, who “matches children and waiting families.” Matches are made based on the child’s needs. Individual cases and circumstances affect the time frame and waiting period.
Children wait in orphanage care. The Adoption Council within the Ministry of Justice will provide a photograph and routines, social and medical background information available on the child. the family must respond and visit it the child in Bulgaria within 2 months to complete the referral process. A family may decline a referral, with or without a trip to Bulgaria, and be provided with additional referrals.
After the first trip, there is a 2-4 month wait before the second trip to bring your child home.
Application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). Once approved, you must file for the Visa (DS260). You or someone acting on your behalf must submit the child’s photo and fee to the US Embassy in Sofia. The Article 5 letter, stating that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt a particular child, is issued to the Bulgarian Central, indicating that the US Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
This letter will inform the Bulgarian Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice forwards the case to the Sofia City Court, who determines if a final adoption decree will be granted. Once a final adoption decree is issued, the family’s local representative applies for a new birth certificate and passport.
Complete the U.S. immigrant Visa process for the United States. The child is granted an IH3 visa, which grants custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parent(s), and enables the child to become a Legal Permanent Resident upon entering the US.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows the child to acquire American citizenship when they enter the United States as lawful permanent resident.
For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when an adoption decree is issued by a US court. Failure to obtain citizenship may put your child’s status in jeopardy.
There is a 2 year supervisory period, including 4 Post Adoption Reports, prepared by the Adoption Homestudy Provider and submitted every 6 months for 2 years.
U.S. Embassy in Country and in U.S.
U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria
16 Kozyak Street
Tel: (359 2) 937-5100
Fax: (359 (2) 937-5122
Bulgarian Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice
Slavyanska Street # 1
Tel: (359 2) 923-7303 (Bulgarian only)
Internet: http://www.justice.government.bg (in Bulgarian only)
Embassy of Bulgaria
1621 22nd Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202-387-0174 (main), 202-387-7969 (consular section)
*Bulgaria also has consulates in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
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:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)