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International Adoption - Ukraine

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DISCLAIMER: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no legal procedure for adopting through guardianship in Ukraine, and note 2: pre-selection of child (ren) for adoption in Ukraine is not allowed. The law does not provide for adoption of a known child (ren). To see applications of children available for adoption, prospective adoptive parents have to be registered first with the National Adoption Center of Ukraine. *Note: Under Ukrainian law, disclosure of information on children available for adoption to agencies or private citizens by Ukrainian officials is forbidden. *

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 licensing office of the Department of Health and Family Services in the state where the agency is located.

GENERAL: The following is a guide for U.S. citizens who are interested in adopting a child in the Ukraine and applying for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States. This process involves complex Ukrainian and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officers give each petition careful consideration on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both countries have been met, for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the biological parents(s) and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular officials in the Ukraine before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy (Consulate) to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.

Adoption of Ukrainian children by Americans and other foreigners has become increasingly popular. This document attempts to outline the adoption process for American parents. Parents must realize the importance of adhering to Ukrainian law. They must pay very close attention to details, especially concerning required documents, and they must be patient. Expect to spend up to one month in Ukraine, even longer in some cases. Attempts to cut short the process in order to shorten the time can lead to frustrations, failed expectations, and further delays. Please note our cautions about selecting facilitators later in this document. The Embassy has been receiving more reports of non-ethical practices during the adoption process. Protect yourself by openly discussing all fees and expenses in great detail before you hire a facilitator and/or interpreter. Discuss recommendations with adoption agencies and with other families who hired these individuals in the past.

GENERAL INFORMATION: We encourage American citizens planning to stay in Ukraine for more than a couple of days to register with the Embassy upon arrival. This will allow us to contact you in case of an emergency. To register, you have to present your U.S. passport and complete a basic registration form at the Consular Section.

Any problems experienced by American citizens in dealing with local authorities or with the Adoption Center of Ukraine should be reported to the Embassy Kiev (044-490-4079) or to the Office of Citizens Consular Services at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.:

United States Department of State
2401 E Street NW,
Washington, D.C. 20522
Tel. (202) 647-3445/647-6714

Please review the Ukrainian Law on registration of foreign citizens at our web-site All foreigners staying in Ukraine for more than 72 hours must register with local VVIR (Ukrainian abbreviation for office of visas and registration).

AVAILIBILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans:

FY-1996: IR-3 immigrant visas issued to Ukrainian orphans adopted abroad - 1
IR-4 immigrant visas issued to Ukrainian orphans adopted in the U.S. - 0
FY-1997: IR-3 Visas - 52, IR-4 Visas - 7
FY-1998: IR-3 Visas - 174, IR-4 Visas - 6
FY-1999: IR-3 Visas - 321, IR-4 Visas - 2
FY-2000: IR-3 Visas - 656, IR-4 Visas - 3

ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The government office responsible for adoptions in Ukraine is the Cabinet of Ministries.

ADOPTION PROCEDURES: U.S. - Under U.S. law, prospective American parents wishing to adopt a child in a foreign country must, in all cases, initiate the process with the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States (INS) by filing form I-600A, Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition. This petition must be filed at the appropriate INS office in the United States with jurisdiction over the adoptive parents' place of residence.

UKRAINE - Ukraine is now the only country in the region that has not signed the Hague Convention on Adoptions. On January 28, 1996, effective April 1, 1996, a moratorium on adoption of children in Ukraine was lifted by the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine). On July 20, 1996, based on changes in, and amendments to, the Family and Marriage Code of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved a Resolution on Adoption, thereby defining strict procedures and regulations for adopting Ukrainian children (orphaned or abandoned) by foreign citizens.

AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS: The adoptive parents must be an American citizen and has to at least be 25 years old. This also applies to a single parent. Citizens of foreign countries may adopt only those Ukrainian children who are qualified for adoption and have been registered with the Kiev based National Adoption Center for 1 (one) year without any Ukrainian family coming forward to adopt them or become their guardians. The one-year waiting requirement may be waived only if children suffer from a disease listed with the Ministry of Public Health Protection.

ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS: The current adoption law states that NO commercial intermediaries may take part in the process of adoption. The address for the Adoption Agency in Kiev, Ukraine is as follows:

Adoption Agency in Kiev, Ukraine
27 Taras Shevchenko Boulevard
Kiev, Ukraine 252032
Tel # (380)(44) 246-54-31/32/37/49
Fax # (380)(44) 246-5452/62

ADOPTION CENTER DATABASE: Orphanages are responsible for providing full and complete information on children available for adoption to the Adoption Center database in a timely fashion (within 1 week after they arrive at the orphanage). The local (district or 'rayon') office of the Ministry of Education creates a file for each child available for adoption and prepares an application that contains basic information about the child and his/her photo. They retain the application at their office for one month, during which time they encourage local Ukrainian families to adopt the child. After being kept at the district office for 1 (one) month, the application is forwarded to the regional or 'oblast' office of the Ministry of Education. This office has 1 (one) month to find a Ukrainian adoptive family for the child.

If Ukrainian citizens still have not adopted the child, the child's application is forwarded to the Adoption Center to be registered in its database. Once a child's application reaches the Adoption Center, the Center has 12 months to find a Ukrainian family for the child. If the legal status of the child changes, the guardian authority will have to notify the Adoption Center of this change within 7 days.

Children who, in accordance with list of diseases published by the Ministry of Public Health Protection, are determined to be unhealthy are not subject to the 'one-plus-one-plus-twelve month' waiting period and will be available for international adoptions immediately.

REGISTRATION WITH ADOPTION CENTER: American prospective parents wishing to adopt a child from Ukraine must register with the Adoption Center to begin adoption proceedings in Ukraine. The Adoption Center is operated as part of the Ministry of Education and is the ONLY legal Ukrainian authority that maintains a database of children available and qualified for both domestic and international adoptions. The Adoption Center is involved in international adoptions from the initial to the final stages, e.g. from the moment prospective parents apply for registration to the point when, once a child has been identified, the case is forwarded to a court for adjudication.

There will be NO fees except those for court filing, notarial, translation and similar services.

Please keep in mind that translators or interpreters are not available on the staff of the Adoption Center. Callers or visitors have to speak either Russian or Ukrainian, or have their own interpreters.

DOCTORS: The U.S. Embassy maintains a current list of doctors and sources for medicines, should either you or your child experience health problems while in Ukraine. There are also places for the adopted child to get medical examinations in the Ukraine. Panel physicians may conduct medical examinations for adopted children at one of the following addresses:

Clinic of the Oil Industry of Ukraine
9 Protassiv Yar, Kiev
Tel.: 244-8941 or 277-4181.

American Medical Center
1 Berdichevskaya St., Kiev
Tel. 211-6555/56/57
E-mail: gwentworth@amc.carrier.kiev.ua

PRE-ADOPTION MEDICAL EXAMINATION: While meeting a child at the orphanage, you will be shown his/her medical history. If any doubts arise, or if you would like to get more details on the child's health condition, you may request that the orphanage administration allow a more thorough medical check-up of the child (including blood tests etc.). Please note that it is the discretion of the orphanage administration (a legal guardian) to allow or refuse such an examination to be performed. This may be performed by a private physician.

The panel physicians of both American Medical Center and Clinic of Oil Industry of Ukraine in Kiev have expressed their readiness to perform pre-adoption medical examination. Please check with them directly on their services and fees.

Parents should make every effort to thoroughly understand the medical conditions diagnosed by local physicians. Please be sure the facilitator and/or interpreter you hire are competent to translate and explain complex medical diagnoses. Knowledge of the child's medical conditions is required for the I-604 interview at U.S. Embassy in Kiev. Parents should verify that medical reports from the orphanage are thorough and reflect all information provided to the Ukrainian court for the hearing.

Medical exams in the clinic of Oil Industry of Ukraine can be performed any working day (Monday through Friday) between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $50 for adopted children under 15. You will need to bring the child's passport or photo-ID (a birth certificate is sufficient if the child is under 16), one passport-size photograph, and a vaccination chart if one is available.

American Medical Center (AMC) performs medical exams every working day of the week from 9 a.m. till 10 a.m. The cost for a medical exam for adopted children and other applicants under 15 years old will not exceed $100. For details/appointment please contact AMC directly.

NOTE: Recent changes to US immigration law now require immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations (listed below) prior to the issuance of an immigrant visa. Panel physicians who conduct medical examinations on behalf of immigrant visa applicants are now required to verify that immigrant visa applicants have met the new vaccination requirements, or that it is medically inappropriate for the visa applicant to receive one or more of the listed vaccinations:

mumps
tetanus toxoids
influenzae type B (HIB)
measles
diphtheria toxoids
influenza
rubella
pertussis
hepatitis B
polio
varicella
pneumococcal

In order to assist the panel physician and to avoid delays in the processing of an immigrant visa, all immigrant visa applicants should have their vaccination records available for the panel physician to review at the time of the immigrant medical examination. Adoptive parents should consult with the health report from the orphanage to learn their child's immunization history. If your child does not have a vaccination record, the panel physician will work with you to determine which vaccinations your child may need to meet the requirement. Only a physician can determine which of the listed vaccinations are medically appropriate for the child, given his/her age, medical history, and current medical condition.

Please note, that for children under 10 years of age, it is now possible to receive a waiver of the vaccination requirements by completing an affidavit at the U.S. Embassy in which you pledge to have the child vaccinated within 30 days of his or her entry into the United States.

Medical records for your child will be put into sealed envelope (please do not open it) to be taken to Warsaw and presented to an immigrant visa officer upon request.

UKRAINIAN DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS: Ukrainian law states that foreign citizens wishing to adopt Ukrainian children must submit a petition to the Adoption Center, requesting to be registered as prospective adoptive parents and to be permitted to visit orphanages in order to meet, select, and establish contact with an orphan.

*Please see page four for more details on the documents required*

The following documents must be part of the petition:
Home Study, an affidavit issued by a competent authority in the adoptive parents' country, attesting to their eligibility, specifying their housing and living conditions, containing their curriculum vitae, and other information. If this affidavit is issued by a non-governmental entity (a private agency or social worker), a copy of the license authorizing this entity to conduct pre-adoption reviews MUST be attached.

Entrance and permanent residence permit for the adopted child, issued by the competent authority in the adoptive parents' country.

Comment: For American citizens, the Form I-171H (the INS approval form) will serve in place of this document. On this form, INS indicates which Embassy or Consulate will process the immigrant visa for adopted child. Please note that there is no immigrant visa section at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine and that all immigrant visas for Ukrainians, including adopted children, are processed and issued by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. Therefore, the I-171H should clearly indicate that "the application has been forwarded to Warsaw, Poland" (NOT "Kiev, Ukraine"). If the INS does erroneously indicate "Kiev, Ukraine" on the I-171H form, it does not invalidate the form but an additional letter from the Embassy is required to explain the error. Please contact the American Citizens Services unit for more information.

Proof of income (bank statement showing the parents' yearly income).
Comment: Provide W-2 form or tax returns and a statement from your employer indicating your salary. To avoid confusion, please do NOT copy blank pages in your tax returns.

Bill of health issued in the name of each adoptive parent.
Comment: This should not be just a general statement that you are healthy, but a declaration that you are specifically not suffering from any kind of psychiatric, communicable, internal, skin or venereal diseases as well as a statement that you are not a drug addict, and you are free from AIDS and syphilis.

Copy of the marriage certificate (if applicants are a married couple).
Copy of the passport or other identification papers of prospective adoptive parents.
"No criminal record" statement supplied by a competent authority for each adoptive parent, attesting to his/her having no criminal record.
Comment: Statement obtained from local sheriff/police office.
Adoptive parents' commitment, if granted an adopted child, he/she must be registered with Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in their home country within one month. You will need to supply information (at least once a year) about the adopted child's living conditions and educational process to the Ukrainian consular office, and arrange for Ukrainian consular officers to keep in touch with the adopted child, and retain the child's Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years of age.
Comment: It is important to realize that by signing such statement, parents assume an obligation to comply with the requirement of Ukrainian law to register an adopted child with the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. within 30 days after arrival to the U.S. Non-compliance with the registration requirement has been subject of numerous complaints from the Adoption Center and may have a very negative impact on international adoptions in Ukraine. Also, please note that the Adoption Center sends a copy of this document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for further transmission to the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulates in the United States to improve their oversight of the registration process.

Please note that ALL eight documents from the list must be independent documents, e.g. one cannot be part of another. The documents will remain valid only for 1 (one) year from the date of issuance.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS

A Ukrainian child, even if adopted by an American citizen, must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. There are two distinct categories of immigrant visas available to children adopted by American citizens.

A Previously Adopted Child. Section 101(b)(1)(E) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act defines an "adopted child" as one who was adopted under the age of 16 and who has already resided with, and in the legal custody of, the adoptive parent for at least two years. Parents who can demonstrate that their adopted child meets this requirement may file an I-130 petition with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) having jurisdiction over their place of residence in the United States. Upon approval of the I-130 petition, the parents may apply for an immigrant visa for the child at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. American citizens who believe this category may apply to their adopted child should contact the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine for more information.

An Orphan. If an adopted child has not resided with the adoptive parent for two years (or if the child has not yet even been adopted) the child must qualify under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act in order to apply for an immigrant visa. The main requirements of this section are as follows:

The adoptive or prospective adoptive parent must be an American citizen;

The child must be under the age of 161 at the time an I-600 Petition is filed with the INS on his or her behalf;

If the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent is married, his or her spouse must also be a party to the adoption;

If the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent is single, he or she must be at least 25 years of age;

The child must be an orphan, as defined by U.S. regulations. Although the definition of an orphan found in many dictionaries is "A child whose parents are dead," U.S. immigration law and regulations provide for a somewhat broader definition. Children who do not qualify under this definition, however, may not immigrate to the U.S. as an orphan even if legally adopted by an American Citizen. The Department of State encourages Americans to consider if a particular child is an orphan according to U.S. immigration law and regulations before proceeding with an adoption. A detailed description of the orphan definition used by INS can be found on INS's web site at http://www.ins.usdoj.gov.

U.S. IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES FOR ORPHANS

I. The Petition.

Adoptive and prospective adoptive parents must obtain approval of a Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative (Form I-600) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) before they can apply for an immigrant visa on behalf of an orphan. The adjudication of such petitions can be very time-consuming and parents are encouraged to begin the process well in advance.

A prospective adoptive parent may file Form I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office having jurisdiction over their place of residence. This form allows the most time-consuming part of the process to be completed in advance, even before the parent has located a child to adopt. In addition, a parent who has an approved I-600A may file an I-600 in person at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland .

Detailed information about filing these forms can be found on INS's web site at http://www.ins.usdoj.gov. Americans who have adopted or hope to adopt a child from the Ukraine should request, at the time they file these forms, that INS notify the US Embassy in both Kiev, Ukraine, and Warsaw, Poland as soon as the form is approved. Upon receipt of such notification, the Embassy will contact the parents and provide additional instructions on the immigration process. U.S. consular officers may not begin processing an orphan adoption case until they have received formal notification of approval from an INS office in the US.

II. The Orphan Investigation

One part of the petition process that INS cannot complete in advance is the "orphan investigation". An orphan investigation Form I-604 Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation) is required in all orphan adoption cases - even if an I-600 has already been approved - and serves to verify that the child is an orphan as defined by US immigration law. This investigation is performed by a consular officer at the time of the child's immigrant visa interview.

ASSISTANCE FROM THE U.S. EMBASSY IN KIEV: One crucial fact that must be understood at the outset of the adoption is that a prospective adopted child is a citizen of the country of his/her origin and is subject to the jurisdiction of the local courts. The Embassy encourages prospective adoptive parents, therefore, to ensure that an international adoption strictly complies with Ukrainian laws. We are happy to answer your inquiries and provide any advice or guidance for your particular case as best as we can. Please address your questions to American Citizens Services at the following e-mail address: adoptions@usemb.kiev.ua. The Embassy gives priority to adoption cases, and we will try to make your visit to the Embassy as short and comfortable as possible.

Below are step-by-step instructions for processing adoption cases at the American Embassy in Kiev.

Reminder!!! The American Embassy in Warsaw, Poland processes and issues immigrant visas for adopted Ukrainian children. It requires a 3 (three)-business day notice for an interview appointment.

The American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section of the American Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, processes just one piece of the adoption puzzle: we complete the I-604, Report of Overseas Orphan Investigation. Once you have completed the adoption, obtained post-adoption birth certificate and the Ukrainian travel document for a child, you will need to come to the Embassy for a review of the case (please make sure that you come to the American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section after the 10 days appeal period of the court decree expires unless you have judge's waiver). In addition, we authenticate the adoption court decree(s) and post-adoption birth certificate(s) of your child (ren) after the documents have gone through the Ukrainian authentication chain (see authentication procedures below).

We review the documentation and your knowledge of the circumstances of the adoption and health of the child. You will be given a sealed copy of our report (Form I-604), which you will take to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw will complete the review of the immigration petition and (if all legal requirements have been met and no ineligibility is discovered) issue the immigrant visa.

*Please see later sections, U.S. Immigration Requirements and Procedures for more information on other necessary petitions*

IMPORTANT! The American Citizen Services section of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev has implemented an appointment system for American parents wishing to complete the I-604 and authenticate Ukrainian documents for their newly adopted Ukrainian child (ren). Please contact us at (380)-44- 490-4079 in order to establish a time and date of an appointment. If we are unable to take your call immediately, please leave your name, requested appointment date, and a contact telephone number on the voice mail. We will return your call as soon as we can.

We require at least one (1) business day notice for an appointment. Please do not assume that you have an appointment by leaving a message on our answering machine. Appointments must be confirmed by us with a return phone call, if a request was left on our answering machine.

NOTE: The Consular Section is located at 6 Pymonenko St. in Kiev. The telephone ## are (380)-44-490-4422/4000. The fax # is (380)-44-236-4892.

Appointments for adoptive parents are available in Kiev from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, except the last Friday of the month (we are closed to the public that day) and all Ukrainian and U.S. holidays. Please check our web-site for a list of official holidays when the Embassy and the Consular Section are closed: http://www.usemb.kiev.ua . Please note that public hours are subject to change, therefore we advise you to contact us at one of the phone #s above prior to your coming to the Consular Section.

WHEN YOU COME TO THE U.S. EMBASSY IN KIEV, YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:
An original plus at least one certified and authenticated (see authentication procedures below) copy of the Ukrainian court decree granting the adoption. Note: Ukrainian law does not allow the authentication of a court-issued document. Only a certified copy can be authenticated.
The original birth certificate issued in the child's new (adopted) name. The original should be authenticated.
The copy of the court decree declaring that the child is an orphan and/or unambiguously declaring that any surviving parents have no legal parental rights under Ukrainian law. As an alternative, it can be the copy of abandonment letters from parents - if available. If not available, please check that the court decree that grants the adoption clearly states that the child qualifies for adoption, i.e. abandoned by parents at birth, found by police etc. etc.
A copy (certified preferred) of the child's pre-adoption birth certificate. Note: the district office of vital records will confiscate this birth certificate as part of the adoption proceedings, so make the copy before your court date.
The original of the orphanage's medical report/medical history for the child. This report must be thorough and provide all information that was submitted to the court.
The original Ukrainian travel document (passport) issued in the child's new name.
One passport-size photograph of the child.
An official English translation of all Ukrainian documents. For official translation
services you may consider approaching one of the following translation bureaus:

Translation Section
2 vul. Hospitalna,
Room 410
Kiev, Ukraine
Tel: 224-2533

Kiev Translation Center
180 vul. Gorkoho
Kiev, Ukraine
Tel: 268-2574, 268-2179

1st Notary Public Office
Department of Translation & Certification of Documents
12 Mikhail Kotsubinskiy St.
Kiev, Ukraine
Tel: 246-4805/224-9996

Dialog
16/22 B. Khmelnystky Street
#420
Kiev, Ukraine
Tel: 224-8083, 224-3138
Fax: 224-0470

*Comment: There are no requirements to notarize official translations*
In addition, you must bring one additional photocopy of all documents (court decrees, abandonment letters, old and new birth certificates, the child's travel document, the parents' American passports, the medical report, and the translations). Original stamps and signatures are not necessary for these copies because they will not be authenticated.

This set of photocopies should contain copies of the already-authenticated copies with original stamps and signatures. This set of photocopies will not be returned to you. All other documents will be given back to you to take to Warsaw. Our facilities for making photocopies are limited. There is a fee of $1.00 per page if you come unprepared and we must make copies for you.

Comment: If you would like to keep any original documents for your records, please make sure that you have extra photocopies of these documents to be left with the Embassy in Warsaw. Consequently, you should have at least 2 (two) sets of photocopies of all documents (one for the Embassy in Kiev, another one for the Embassy in Warsaw). If you don't have photocopies but still would like to get originals back, you can expect delays in your case's processing and must pay the fees for photocopying charged at the Embassy.
Please come to the Embassy only after the 10-day appeal period expires (unless waived) with all of your documents, your U.S. passport(s), and your newly adopted child (ren).

HOW TO AUTHENTICATE DOCUMENTS: Documents 1 and 2 mentioned in the above section must be authenticated. You will need an authenticated birth certificate in particular for use in the U.S. for all civil actions that would normally require a birth certificate (school registration, passport issuance on attaining U.S. citizenship, marriage, drivers license, etc.).

Please follow the procedure below:

Bring documents to the Ministry of Justice - Mykhailo Kotsubinskoho 12, Kiev, Ukraine, tel.#235-4050/235-4083. They will place a stamp on each document certifying the authenticity of the issuing agency's stamp. Please allow some time (from one to three days) for the action at the Ministry of Justice to be completed. Currently, this service is provided free of charge.
Next, take documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Mykhailivska Ploshcha 1, Kiev, Ukraine, tel. 212-8392/293-2906. They will place a stamp on each document certifying the authenticity of the Ministry of Justice stamp.

Be sure to check each document carefully to make sure that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs official remembered to sign the document next to the stamp, below his/her hand-written name. Without this signature, we cannot complete the authentication procedure.

For two-day service, a fee of 25 hrivnyas (approx. $5) per document will be assessed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs accepts documents any working day 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and returns documents the next day from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Note: The Consular Section CANNOT conduct the I-604 interview the same day that you receive your authenticated documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since the last appointment for a day can be scheduled for 3:30 p.m.!

Bring the authenticated documents to the Consular Section (simultaneously with the final I-604 investigation). We will grommet a coversheet to your original document certifying the authenticity of the stamp and signature of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now your document is valid for use in the US. Our fee is $32 per document.

AUTHENTICATION PROCESS: Ukraine has not signed the Hague Convention on Authentication of the documents. Therefore, all documents must be properly authenticated at the local and state levels in the United States, then at the Authentication Office, Department of State, Washington, DC followed by authentication at the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulates in the U.S. With this last authentication, the document is recognized as a legal document for use in Ukraine.

Once the documents are authenticated at the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate, they must be translated into Ukrainian. Translations have to be notarized and authenticated. If documents are translated in Ukraine, the translation has to be notarized by a state notary public only.

With the number of foreign adoptions in Ukraine growing, adoption facilitation is becoming a booming business in Ukraine. The National Adoption Center is concerned about the growing number of new, inexperienced facilitators. Under current Ukrainian law, no adoption agencies or agents can be officially licensed in Ukraine, so adoption facilitation exists in a gray area of the law. However, the National Adoption Center tolerates adoption facilitation at this time, recognizing that foreign parents need logistical and language support.

The Embassy encourages adoptive parents to be very careful in choosing a facilitator. Prospective adoptive parents should use personal judgement, ask for references, etc. Parents should thoroughly discuss all fees and expenses with facilitators ahead of time requesting an itemization of all anticipated fees. They can formalize this disclosure with a written, signed agreement. Parents should talk to adoption agencies in the U.S. to gain a better understanding of legal, actual fees to be incurred in Ukraine. It is a violation of U.S. law for American businesses and individuals to participate in bribery in a foreign country.

Parents should research other Ukrainian laws concerning Ukrainian visas, registration with local authorities, etc. Please review our web-site http://www.usemb.kiev.ua and U.S. Department of State web-site http://www.travel.state.gov

Citing all of the above requirements, along with the need to comply with Ukrainian Adoption Procedures, the National Adoption Center has recently reinforced its policy of direct contact with prospective adoptive parents. It now requires that adoptive parents initially send their documents directly to the National Adoption Center and only then advise their facilitators to check on the documents with the Center. The Center prefers that parents translate the documents in the U.S., but understands that it may be difficult to find proper translators in the U.S. Therefore, the center will allow facilitators to come to the Center with a properly notarized, authenticated and translated power of attorney to get the documents to translate and notarize them locally.

The Adoption Center must, within ten days, process the documents submitted by adoptive parents and enter them into their database. It is strongly recommended to make sure ahead of time that all submitted documents correspond to requirements of the Adoption Center. Only after doing so, should parents travel to Ukraine. Once parents identify the sex and the age of the child (ren) they wish to adopt, the Adoption Center shows them applications of orphans available for adoption within this age group. The Center will then issue a letter of referral to allow the prospective parents to visit orphanages to meet, select, and establish contact with the child (ren). Along with the letter of referral, adoptive parents will be given their documents, bound, numbered, sealed, and signed by an official in charge of the Adoption Center, with a separate sheet specifying the number of pages and the prospective parents' registration file code.

U.S. EMBASSY IN WARSAW, POLAND: The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, processes immigrant visas for children adopted in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. Once you complete the adoption process, please contact U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to make arrangements for an appointment with an immigrant visa officer there. Do not wait to make your appointment in Warsaw when you come to the Consular Section of the Embassy in Kiev.

Note: The Immigrant visa section at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw works by an appointment system requiring at least a 3 (three) business day notice. It is important that you contact them in advance and get an appointment scheduled.

Information on needed documents for immigrant visa interview and on other requirements for filing the I-600 is available at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. The following are the address, telephone/fax numbers, E-mail and web-site addresses for the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland:

U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
Tel: 48-22-628-3041/42.../49
Fax: 48-22-627-4734
Web site: http://www.usaemb.pl
E-mail: ADOPTWRW@state.gov

GROUNDS FOR DENIAL TO REGISTER: No standards have been established by law for approval or denial of prospective parents' applications to register at the Adoption Center. Eligibility is determined through a personal interview at the Adoption Center. However, based on previous experience, a violation of adoption procedures and regulations (e.g. visiting an orphanage without the Center's permission, meeting and selecting children for adoption prior to registration, not arriving for an interview, etc.) can be considered grounds for denial to be registered with the Adoption Center. In the case of registration denial, prospective parents must be notified of the denial in writing and all the documents they have submitted should be returned to them.

MEETING A CHILD: Once the Adoption Center issues permission for prospective parents to visit orphanages, parents may go there and meet with child (ren), check medical records and establish personal contact with the child (ren). When a child is selected for adoption, the Adoption Center removes the child's name from the database of orphans available for adoption.

COURT HEARING: It is important to mention that, in compliance with recent changes in, and amendments to, the Family and Marriage Code of Ukraine, the power to approve or deny an adoption remains solely with an individual judge. The judge's decision, in turn, will be based on a review of various documents of each individual adoption case during the court hearing, where adoptive parents must be present. The law states that adoptive parents MUST attend the hearing. The Adoption Center has stated that this requirement will be strictly enforced following the recent resolution of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. In cases where one of the parents cannot be present at the hearing due to a compelling reason (e.g. major surgery, disability etc.), a judge may permit one parent to provide a power of attorney for the other parent.

The packet of documents for the adoption case is presented to the judge after being carefully examined by the Adoption Center. As a general rule, the judge's decision is announced and issued the day of the hearing. However, it does not take effect for ten calendar days, within which time the adoption can be appealed, unless "immediate execution" for the court decision has been granted by the judge. Once the decision takes effect, the new adoptive parents are granted parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.

Comment: The Supreme Court of Ukraine officially informed the Embassy that, based on article 218 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, Ukrainian judges may use their power to grant the court decision for immediate execution (i.e. waive "ten-days appeal" waiting period) only when there is a clear evidence that a delay in executing the court decision may cause damage to the child (ren) (for example, damage to health). A letter with corresponding advice and recommendations was sent by the Supreme Court to the regional courts.

OBTAINING THE POST-ADOPTION BIRTH CETIFICATE AND A TRAVEL DOCUMENT: Please make sure that there are no discrepancies in the spelling of names in the court decree (parents' and child (ren's). If noticed, please request the court clerk to correct them immediately. Failure to do so may cause delay in issuing the post-adoption birth certificate and in completing the authentication process.

The local (regional) ZAGS office (abbreviation for office of vital records in Ukrainian) will issue a post-adoption certificate of birth for an adopted child based on the final court decree and the original (pre-adoption) birth certificate only. Please remember that you will not be given back the pre-adoption birth certificate. Therefore, please make sure that you make a copy of the pre-adoption birth certificate before handing it over to the ZAGS authorities. Once you obtain the post-adoption birth certificate, you may apply for a travel document (blue or red passport book) for the child at the local (regional) VVIR (abbreviation for office of visas and registrations in Ukrainian). You will be required to present a written and notarized statement requesting that the travel document be issued. The post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and 4 passport-size photos of the child (ren) have to be submitted along with the statement. The Ukrainian travel document for an adopted child is a bilingual passport allowing the child to travel abroad. Please note that the new name of your adopted child in the travel document will be spelled in English but in the Ukrainian way, so it may look different from what appears on your passport. There is no need for concern about it, as long as the child's name in Ukrainian on the travel document is the same as in the court decree. However, parents can request that the correct English spelling be noted on the blank page in the passport.

At the time the travel document is issued, a special stamp is put in it showing that the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. It is called a "PMZh-stamp" in Ukrainian, and it is a mandatory stamp for all emigrants.

Although, under Ukrainian law, immigration authorities have from 10 to 90 days to issue passports or travel document for emigrants, VVIR authorities are usually co-operative when it comes to adoption cases, especially if an adopted child is sick and requires immediate medical care. The Embassy has been informed of some delays in issuing travel documents in some regions of Ukraine, but those delays were minor and don't seem to form a pattern.

ONLY ONE PARENT TRAVELLING FOR AN INTERVIEW TO WARSAW: Once completing adoption in Ukraine, a parent needs to return to the United States and cannot be present at the immigrant visa interview in Warsaw; the following documents must be signed by this parent prior to departure from Ukraine:
Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative - Form I-600 (parents' signature does not have to be notarized by a Consular Officer);
Affidavit of Acknowledgement of the Health Problems of Adopted Child (both parents' signatures must be notarized by consular officer);
Affidavit of Support - form I-864 (parents' signatures must be notarized by notary public in the U.S. or by a Consular Officer overseas).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult INS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as, the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.

QUESTIONS: Specific questions regarding adoption in Ukraine may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Warsaw, Poland. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room L-127, SA-1, 2401 E. Street NW, Washington, DC 20522, Tel: (202) 736-7000 with specific questions.

Information is also available 24 hours a day from several sources:

Telephone - Office of Children's Issues - recorded information regarding changes in adoption procedures and general information, (202) 736-7000.- State Department Visa Office - recorded information concerning immigrant visas for adoptive children, (202) 663-1225.- Immigration and Naturalization Service - recorded information for requesting immigrant visa application forms, 1-800-870-FORM (3676).

Automated fax - contains the full text of the office's international adoption information flyers and general information brochure, International Adoptions. From the telephone on your fax machine, call (202) 647-3000.

Internet - the Consular Affairs web site, at: http://travel.state.gov contains international adoption information flyers and the International Adoptions brochure.

INS web site - http://www.ins.usdoj.gov

Other information:

Consular Information Sheets
- published by the State Department and available for every country in the world, providing information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, political situations, and crime reports. The information is available 24 hours a day by calling the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. The recordings are updated as new information becomes available, and are also accessible through the automated fax machine and the internet web site, as above.
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