BANGLADESH AND INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION
International Adoption - Bangladesh
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: Adoption of children is not permitted under Bangladesh law. However, Bangladesh citizens are permitted to apply for guardianship of children, effectively giving Bangladeshi prospective adoptive parents custody of children. The 1982 Guardianship and Wards Amendments Ordinances prohibit granting guardianship of Bangladeshi children to non-Bangladeshi parents. These restrictions have limited adoption of Bangladeshi children to only a handful each year.
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. - Bangladeshi dual citizens who are interested in obtaining guardianship of a child in Bangladesh and applying for an immigrant visa for the child to go to the United States for adoption. This process involves complex Bangladesh 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 parent(s) and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. BCIS officials and U.S. consular officials in Bangladesh before applying for guardianship of a child to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child. Simply obtaining legal guardianship under Bangladesh law does not guarantee the child will qualify for a U.S. visa. The child must be an orphan as defined by U.S. regulations. Children who do not qualify under this definition may not immigrate to the United States as an orphan even if the American citizen has been granted legal guardianship of the child. 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 BCIS can be found on BCIS’s web site at http://www.uscis.gov.
BANGLADESH ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Bangladesh government offices responsible for guardianships are the Family Court and Ministry of Home Affairs.
BANGLADESH ADOPTION PROCEDURES:
Requirements for Obtaining Legal Guardianship:
1. Biological parent must sign an irrevocable release of the child before a Notary Public or Magistrate here in Bangladesh.
2. An application for legal guardianship must be made to the Family court. In Bangladesh, the Family Court has sole jurisdiction over family matters.
3. A ‘No Objection Certificate’ must be obtained from the Home Ministry.
4. The No Objection Certificate and ‘legal guardianship’ documents should be presented to the Bangladesh Passport Office for the child’s passport. Prospective adopting parents should be listed as the legal guardians in the child’s passport.
AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 18 years old and provide proof of Bangladeshi citizenship.
ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS: The Bangladesh government does not approve adoption agencies or attorneys. The U.S. Embassy can provide a list of Bangladesh attorneys conversant with family law in Bangladesh. The Embassy can also assist in providing contact with local established charitable orphanages.
DOCTORS: The U.S. Embassy can provide a list of panel physicians, should either you or your children experience health problems while in Bangladesh.
BANGLADESH DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS: See Adoption Procedures above.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS
A Bangladesh child 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 161 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. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (BCIS) having jurisdiction over their place of residence. Upon approval of the I-130 petition, the parents may apply for an immigrant visa for the child at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka. American citizens who believe this category may apply to their adopted child should contact the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka for more information.
1 A child adopted at age 16 or 17 will also qualify, provided he or she was adopted together with a natural sibling who was under age 16.
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 16 at the time an I-600 Petition is filed with the BCIS 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 BCIS can be found on BCIS's web site at http://www.uscis.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. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (BCIS) 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 Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (BCIS) 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 Dhaka.2
2 If a married couple is adopting the child and only one of the parents will travel to Bangladesh, that parent must be an American citizen. REMEMBER both parents must still sign the original I-600.
Detailed information about filing these forms can be found on BCIS's web site at http://www.uscis.gov. Americans who have adopted or hope to adopt a child from Bangladesh should request, at the time they file these forms, that BCIS notify the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka 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 BCIS office in the US.
II. The Orphan Investigation
One part of the petition process that BCIS 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.
BANGLADESH EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN THE UNITED STATES:
Embassy of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh
3510 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 244-0183
Bangladesh Consulate Los Angeles (CG)
10850 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phone: (310) 441-9399
Fax: (310) 441-4458
Bangladesh Consulate New York (CG)
211 East 43rd Street, Suite 502
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 599-6767
Fax: (212) 682-9211
U.S. EMBASSY IN BANGLADESH:
U.S. Embassy Dhaka
GPO Box 323, Dhaka-1212
Phone: (880) 2-882-4700 through 4722
Fax: (880) 2-882-4449
Web Site: http://www.citecho.net/usdhaka
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult BCIS 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 Bangladesh may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, 4th Floor, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520, telephone 1-888-407-4747 with specific questions. Information is also available 24 hours a day from several sources.
Office of Children’s Issues - Recorded information regarding changes in adoption procedures and general information, 1-888-407-4747.
State Department Visa Office - Recorded information concerning immigrant visas for adoptive children, (202) 663-1225.
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security - Recorded information for requesting immigrant visa application forms, 1-800-870-FORM (3676).
The Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov contains international Adoption information flyers and the International Adoptions Booklets .
BCIS web site: http://www.uscis.gov
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 through the Internet web site, as above.
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