Cyprus is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Cyprus and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
Cyprus is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. There are virtually no children available for adoption in Cyprus. Cypriot couples who wish to adopt usually look to other countries for adoption possibilities. No Cypriot orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Cyprus, including adoptions of Cypriot children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Cyprus.
WHO CAN ADOPT
Adoption between the United States and Cyprus is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Cyprus, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Cyprus also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
· RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be permanent residents of Cyprus or have resided in Cyprus for at least two years prior to the submission of the application.
· AGE REQUIREMENTS: At least one parent must be 25 years old. If the adopting parents are relatives of the child, one of them must be at least 21 years old.
· MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Married couples must adopt jointly unless one spouse is incapable of giving consent or cannot be located. Unmarried couples may not adopt jointly. The court may approve adoptions by single adoptive parents if that person has applied alone and if the court determines that special reasons exist. “Special reasons” are not listed or defined in the Cypriot adoption code, but the prevailing view in Cyprus is that a family with two parents is in children’s best interests.
WHO CAN BE ADOPTED
Because Cyprus is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Cyprus must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Cyprus attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Cyprus’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Learn more about the Convention’s requirements for adoptable children.
HOW TO ADOPT
Cypriot Adoption Authority
Social Welfare Services of the Ministry of Labor & Social Insurance
Because Cyprus is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Cyprus must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.
NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Cyprus before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more.
Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
Be Matched with a Child
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
Adopt the Child in Cyprus
Bring your Child Home
1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:
The first step in adopting a child from another country that is party to the Hague Convention is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and other Hague Convention countries. Learn more.
There are no adoption agencies in Cyprus. The Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia maintains a list of English-speaking lawyers who are licensed to practice in Cyprus. The U.S. Embassy cannot recommend the services of any specific attorney.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
Once the U.S. Government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Cyprus. Cyprus’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Cypriot law.
3. Be Matched with a Child:
If both the United States and Cyprus determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Cyprus may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.
After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify Cyprus’s adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.
Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Cyprus:
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Cyprus, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Cyprus.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Cyprus generally includes the following:
· ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Social Welfare Services΄ main responsibilities during the adoption process are:
1. To investigate whether an individual or a family are eligible to become adoptive parents.
2. To safeguard the best interests of children as soon as the application for adoption is submitted to the Court.
3. To submit to the Court a report indicating whether the adoption is in the best interests of a child.
4. To act as a temporary guardian to a child and to submit to the Court the report in order to issue the adoption order.
5. Post adoption counseling.
· ROLE OF THE COURT: The court with jurisdiction over the case reviews the application for adoption and issues the adoption order provided that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
· ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: There are no adoption agencies in Cyprus. The Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia maintains a list of English-speaking lawyers who are licensed to practice in Cyprus. The U.S. Embassy cannot recommend the services of any specific attorney.
· ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adopting parents need only to submit a written application signed by both spouses to the District Welfare officer of the district of their habitual residence. During the eligibility study they will be requested to undergo full medical tests.
· DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Contact Social Welfare Services directly for list.
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. Learn how.
· ADOPTION FEES: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
Attorneys in Cyprus provide legal services only when Cypriot families adopt children from abroad. Fees vary from case to case.
6. Bringing 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 three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
Applications for the issue of a new birth certificate are accepted at all District Administration Offices irrespective of the place of residence.
1. A letter addressed to the District Administration requesting a new birth certificate
2. Original birth certificate issued by the Republic of Cyprus
3. Adoption degree
4. Fees: 3.42 euro
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Cyprus.
Applications for the issue of a new passport are accepted at all District Administration Offices irrespective of the place of residence.
1. Application (Form M.9E)
2. Birth certificate (original)
3. Two recent photographs
4. Adoption degree
5. Fees: 42.72 euro
For additional information contact the Cypriot Ministry of Interior at www.moi.gov.cy
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an 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-800 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. Learn more.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.
*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
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Cyprus. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining Your Visa
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Cyprus, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it's 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.
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’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Cyprus, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Cyprus require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
There are no post-adoption reporting requirements.
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 family -- whether it’s 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:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Cyprus
Embassy of the United States of America, Nicosia
Metohiou & Ploutarchou Street –
Engomi - 2407 Nicosia - Cyprus
P.O.Box 24536, 1385 Nicosia - Cyprus
Telephone number: 357-22-393939
Cypriot Adoption Authority
Social Welfare Services
Ministry of Labor & Social Insurance
63 Prodromou Street
Embassy of Cyprus
Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus
2224 Wyoming Ave N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel. 202/232-4517 or -4528
Cyprus also has consulates in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
Office of Children’s issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 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)