Please see below the frequently asked questions about adopting a child from Vietnam.
I would like to adopt a child from Vietnam, where do I start?
For all detailed information about the adoption process and eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents and adopted children, please visit the Department of State’s Intercountry Adoption website.
Can I adopt my stepchild or a relative child from Vietnam?
Children that do not meet the criteria set forth by Vietnamese law under the Hague Adoption Convention are not currently eligible for an intercountry adoption between the United States and Vietnam. Please note that a stepchild may separately be eligible for immigration benefits as an immediate relative under INA 101(b)(1)(B). For more details about this process, please refer to the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
In addition, if you have permanent residence status in Vietnam, you may be able to pursue a domestic adoption within the Vietnamese justice system. The U.S. Government does not have jurisdiction over this process, and the determination on whether you and the child are qualified for a local adoption would be up to the relevant Vietnamese authorities.
I met a Vietnamese child in an orphanage and want to adopt her. What is the process?
Any adoption from Vietnam must follow a specific process designed by Vietnam’s laws and regulations to meet the Hague Adoption Convention. The adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Vietnam have determined that placement of the child within Vietnam has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. We recommend you contact one of the three authorized U.S. adoption service providers in Vietnam for more information about starting the adoption process.
I am a U.S. citizen currently residing in Vietnam. Can I adopt a Vietnamese child in a Vietnamese domestic adoption process?
According to the Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions, which is Vietnam’s Central Authority on adoptions, only foreigners with permanent residence status, as determined by the Vietnamese government, can apply for domestic adoption. U.S. citizens with definite residence status in Vietnam and renewing their residence permits periodically must follow the intercountry process under the Hague Adoption Convention. If you have any questions about habitual residency in Vietnam, please contact the Vietnamese Immigration authority where you reside.
Please note that domestic adoption is an administrative process between the prospective adoptive parents and the Vietnamese government with no involvement of the U.S. Government. Domestic adoptions are processed by Vietnamese authorities outside of the Hague Adoption Convention regulations. The determination on whether you and the child are qualified for a local adoption would be up to the relevant Vietnamese authorities. We suggest you contact the Department of Justice of the province where the adoptive child resides for more details about the process.
Where can I find contact information of the authorized U.S. adoption service providers in Vietnam?
Where can I find information on related costs for intercountry adoption in Vietnam?
I submitted I-800A form and completed home study to USCIS. How do I find out the status of my application?
We recommend that you work closely with your adoption service provider to seek updates on the status of your case, or you may contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office that received your application. Please visit the USCIS website for contact information.
Where can I complete the authentication of U.S. documents for use in an adoption process with Vietnam?
Under Vietnam’s adoption law, any documents pertaining to adoption applications submitted to the Vietnamese authorities must be notarized and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulates abroad and translated into Vietnamese. For authentication of documents in the United States, please visit Authentication Office of the State Department.
The Article 5 letter for my case was issued and submitted to the Vietnamese competent authorities. How long do I need to wait until they approve the adoption?
Generally, it takes approximately two to three months for the Vietnamese government to issue an adoption decision after the Article 5 letter had been approved, but different cases may have different timelines. We recommend that you work closely with your adoption service provider to seek updates on the status of your case.
Is it possible for only one parent to travel to Vietnam for the child's Giving and Receiving ceremony?
If only one of you is able to attend the Child Giving and Receiving Ceremony conducted by Vietnamese provincial authorities, you will be required to provide a power of attorney for the attending parent that is notarized by a Vietnamese Embassy/Consulate in the United States and translated into Vietnamese.
I heard my adopted child needs to do a medical examination before the interview, can you explain this process?
All immigrants, including adopted children, undergo a physical examination by a doctor who has been approved by the Department of State (Panel Physicians) before a visa interview. The Panel Physician for adoption cases in Vietnam is the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It normally takes three (3) to ten (10) days to receive medical examination results. Once ready, your child’s medical examination results will be sent directly to the U.S. Embassy Consular Section for the visa interview. The panel physician will also discuss with you about the medical results of your child and any required follow-up treatment.
In the examination, the Panel Physician will also provide vaccination instructions. Parents may request a delay in immunizing children who are 10 years of age or younger by agreeing to begin immunizations within 30 days of arrival in the United States, or at the earliest time that is medically appropriate. Parents must submit Form DS-1981 (Affidavit Concerning Exemption From Immigrant Vaccination Requirements For A Foreign Adopted Child) for this purpose.
For more information about this process, please visit the Department of State’s website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers valuable information on follow-up medical examinations, screening for infectious diseases, and vaccinations.
Is my child required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as part of the medical examination process?
Starting October 1, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require that panel physicians include COVID vaccinations as part of visa medical evaluation process. Prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers should contact the Adoptions Visa Unit for more information about this new requirement.
We have attended the visa interview; how long do I need to wait until I receive my child’s immigration visa?
Once we receive all necessary documents and the case is ready for a visa interview, the process should take no more than a day. In the majority of cases, a child’s visa is issued and printed within hours after the final visa interview, if no further administrative processing is required. However, processing delays are always a possibility. Applicants are encouraged not to plan for same-day travel and to avoid Friday interviews in case of processing delays.
I have adopted a child from Vietnam. Can my child retain Vietnamese citizenship after obtaining the U.S. citizenship?
Vietnam recognizes Vietnamese citizenship for adopted children from Vietnam. Please contact Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in your location for more information about Vietnamese citizenship retention policy. However, we strongly recommend you apply for a U.S. passport for your child as soon as possible after completing the adoption process and returning to the United States. For any future international travels, your adopted child should travel only with his/her U.S. passport, rather than the Vietnamese passport, in order to avoid any immigration issues.
How does my adopted child acquire a U.S citizenship?
Pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, internationally adopted children acquire U.S. citizenship as soon as they enter the United States. USCIS will mail your child’s Citizenship Certificate, a life-long document for primary evidence of citizenship for your child, which will arrive 8-10 weeks after the date of entry into the United States. For more information, please visit USCIS website.
How do I apply for my child’s U.S. passport once we return to the United States?
Most IH3 visa recipients become citizens of the United States once they enter the United States and receive an admittance stamp on their passport, approved by an official at the U.S. point of entry. You can take your child’s Vietnamese passport that contains the IH3 visa, along with the U.S. admittance stamp, evidence of the child’s relationship to a U.S. citizen parent, and the parent’s valid identification, to any passport agency to apply for a U.S. passport. Please visit the Department of State’s passport website for further information.
How can I obtain an immigrant visa for a domestic adoption case?
If a domestic adoption is approved by the Vietnamese government, the adopted child may be eligible for an U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) I-130 petition (Petition for Alien Relative) and receive an immigrant visa in the IR2 category (Child of a United States Citizen). For more information, please visit the USCIS website.
I want to find information about my birth parents and my old orphanage, what are the resources for adoption records?
Vietnamese adoption records are usually retained at the Vietnamese Department of Justice of the province where the child was adopted. We suggest you contact the Department of Adoptions, Ministry of Justice of Vietnam, which is the Vietnamese central authority for intercountry adoption, for their recommendation. Their contact information can be found here.
Some adoption service providers in the United States may provide birth family search services. You may consider reaching out to an adoption service provider to seek further assistance. Information on accredited U.S. Adoption Service Providers is available at the Department of State’s website for intercountry adoptions. Another good place to start you research is our list of post-adoption support organizations available at this link.
In addition, records on past immigrant visa issuances become part of an individual’s alien file, which is retained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and may be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. You may follow this and link for information on how to make a proper request.