India is party to the Hague Convention. India adoptions are experiencing delays due to the implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
India considers families in the following order: local Indian families, those with Indian passport who reside abroad (NRIs), OCIs, then PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin). Families of non-Indian descent may adopt identified children with special needs through the Waiting International Children (WIC) program. Age and healthy restrictions of children vary by category of applicants.
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 India.
India country requirements include:
- Heterosexual couples must be between the ages of 25 and 55, with no more than 45 years between the child and the older parent. If adopting a child over the age of 3 years – the couples combined age must be less than 105, with neither parent over 55. The marriage must be for 2 years if a first marriage and 3 years in duration for a second marriage. Two divorces area allowed per couple.
- Heterosexual singles must be between the ages of 30 and 50. For a child under 3 years of age, the parent must be under 45 years of age. For a child over 3 years of age, the parent must be under 50 years of age. Single men may not adopt female children.
- There may be no more than 3 children in the family prior to the adoption.
- Parents must be free from any contagious or terminal disease. They may not have any health, physical or mental condition that would prevent them from caring for a child.
- Parents must submit criminal clearance.
- 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. Adoptive Parents must provide an adoption application letter that makes clear the applicants’ willingness to allow post-placement follow-ups and provide post-placement reports as required.
Children Awaiting Adoption
India makes every attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition, the child must meet the US definition of an orphan.
Healthy children are over the age of 7 years. Children with minor to moderate health issues are between the ages of 3 to 6 years. Children with significant health issues are between the ages of newborn to 12 years. There are more boys to adopt, than girls. Sibling groups are occasionally available. Adopting unrelated children at the same time is not permitted.
Low birth weight and malnutrition are common. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and TB testing is done for all children.
Orphanage care is good.
How to Adopt
Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider.
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt – USCIS Form I-800A.
Apply to country – ASP submits dossier to India’s Adoption Authority – CARA – Central Adoption Resource Authority, Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Referral – Individual cases and circumstances affect the time frame and waiting period. After the submission of the family’s dossier, the current waiting period for a response is approximately 9-17 months. Regional Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) determine whether a child is eligible for adoption.
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption USCIS Form I-800.
United States notifies adoption authority via the Article 5 letter, that child is eligible to immigrate. CARA then issues an NOC and sends it to the RIPA, who submits all required documents to the Indian court with jurisdiction. The court will issue the adoption or guardianship order.
Travel in Country
At least one parent (preferable both) must make a one to two week trip to India. Some courts may require a second trip for a brief appearance before a judge and a monetary deposit.
Finalization or custody/guardianship (After acceptance of a referral, it is approximately 12 – 18 months until the family may proceed to finalize the adoption.) The majority of adoptions are final in India per India’s Juvenile Justice Act. The children immigrate to the US on IH-3 Hague finalized adoption visas.
Adoption agency submits immigrant visa appointment request.
Obtain child’s birth certificate and passport.
Obtain U.S. immigrant visa from the United States.
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.
Post adoption reports are due at 1, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months after placement.
U.S. Embassy in Country and in U.S.
U.S. Embassy in India
New Delhi – 110021
Email: [email protected]
India Adoption Authority
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
Ministry of Women and Child Development
West Block-8, Wing-2
2nd Floor, R.K. Puram
New Delhi – 110 066
Tel: 91-011 2610-5346, 2610-3378, 2610-6783
Fax: 91-011 2618-0198
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 939-7000
Fax: (202) 939-7027
India also has consulates in New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Please see list of Indian consulates in United States.
Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Email: [email protected]
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).