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International Adoption in Ukraine.
Law and General Procedures.

On January 28, 1996, and effective April 1, 1996, the moratorium on adoption of children in Ukraine was lifted by the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine).

The matters of international adoption in Ukraine are adjusted by such legislative acts as follow:

  1. Civil Code of Ukraine
  2. Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine
  3. Code about a Marriage and Family of Ukraine (the Code);
  4. "The Order of transfer of children, who are the citizens of Ukraine, on adoption to the citizens of Ukraine and foreign citizens and realization of the control behind conditions of their residing in new families", authorized by the Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from July 20, 1996, # 775

The adoption of children will be carried out under the application of person wishing to adopt the child in the judicial order. The presence of the prospective adoptive parents at the Court is obligatory (Clause 102 of the Code).

The registration of the foreign citizens, who wish to adopt children, is conducted by the Center on adoption of children at the Ministry of education of Ukraine extremely (Clause 102-2 of the Code).


Under US 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.


Citizens of the United States 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 stage, 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.

The Center on adoption of children at the Ministry of education of Ukraine:

27 Taras Shevchenko Boulevard,
Kiev, Ukraine
tel. # (380) (44) 246-54-31 /32 /37 /49;
fax. # (380) (44) 246-5452/62

Please keep in mind that translators or interpreters are not available on the staff of the Adoption Center, so callers or visitors have to be prepared to speak Ukrainian, or have their own interpreters.

The intermediary commercial activity concerning adoption of children, transfer them under guardianship or on education in families of the citizens of Ukraine or citizens of other states is forbidden (Clause 102-3 of the Code), and there will be NO fees except those for court filing, notarial and translation and similar services.


Citizens of foreign countries may adopt only those Ukrainian children that

  • are qualified for adoption;
  • have been registered with the Adoption Center for 1 (one) year without any Ukrainian family coming forward to adopt them or become their guardians;
  • suffer from a disease (according to the list of diseases issued by the Ministry of Public Health Protection); in this case, one-year waiting requirement may be waived.

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). The local district office of the Ministry of Education creates a file for each child available and qualified 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 they encourage Ukrainian families to adopt the child. After being kept at the district office for 1 (one) month, the application is forwarded to the regional (oblast') office of the Ministry of Education. This office has 1 (one) month to find a Ukrainian adoptive family for the child.

Note: Under Ukrainian law, disclosure of information on children available for adoption to other organizations or private citizens by Ukrainian officials is forbidden.

If the child still has not been adopted by Ukrainian citizens, his/her application is further forwarded to the Adoption Center to be input into its database. Once a child's application reaches the Adoption Center, the Center has 12 (twelve) 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 (seven) days.

Children who, in accordance with list of diseases of 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.


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 select, meet and establish contact with an orphan.

The following documents must be part of the petition:

1) Home Study, an affidavit issued by a competent authority in the adoptive parents' country, attesting to his/her eligibility, specifying his/her housing and living conditions, containing curriculum vitae, and other information; if this affidavit is issued by a non-governmental entity, a copy of the license authorizing this entity to conduct adoption procedures shall be appended.
Comment: Statement obtained from a social worker agency.

2) Entrance and permanent residence permit for the adopted child, issued by the competent authority in the adoptive parents' country.
Comment: Forms I-171 or I-797 (INS approval forms) will serve in place of this document.

3) Proof of income (bank statement on the parent's family yearly incomes).
Comment: W-2 form or tax returns and a statement from your bank certifying that you have a bank account there.

4) Bill of health issued in the name of each of the adoptive parents.
Comment: Not just a general statement that you are healthy, but a declaration that you are specifically not suffering from any kind of psychic, communicable, internal, skin or venereal diseases as well as that you are not drug addict; also, AIDS and syphilis tests must be included.

5) Copy of the marriage certificate (if applicants are a married couple) and

6) "No criminal record" statement supplied by a competent authority for each adoptive parent, attesting to his/her having no criminal record and included Copy of the passport or other identification papers of prospective adoptive parents.
Comment: statement obtained from local sheriff/police office.

7) Adoptive parents' commitment, if granted the adoption, to have the child registered with Ukraine's consular office in their home country within one month; to supply information (at least once a year) about an adopted child's living conditions and educational process to the Ukrainian consular office, to arrange for consular officers to keep in touch with the adopted child, and to retain the child's Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years of age.

Please note that ALL seven documents from the list must be independent documents.

The Adoption Center must, within ten days, process the documents submitted by adoptive parents and enter them into the database. Once parents identify the sex and the age of the child 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 and to meet, select and establish contact with the children. Along with a 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.

The receipt of any type of payment or favor for the granting of the adoption is forbidden.

No person acting in an introductory or intermediary capacity is allowed to accept any kind of payment for having facilitated the adoption of a child.

In the name of and in the interest of citizens who request the adoption of a child, other individuals may act by specific written power-of-attorney the purpose of effecting the correct legal transfer of the child except in the following capacities:

1. Candidates for the adoption prior to a decision being made are personally obligated:

  • to familiarize themselves with the documents related to adoption of the child, including oversight of the state of the child's health;
  • to meet and establish contact with the child.

2. Attendance of the candidates seeking to adopt at the time of examination of the adoption papers in court is mandatory.

3. The candidates are personally obligated:

  • to accept the decision of the court regarding the adoption;
  • take the child from his residence by using as proof a copy of the court's decision regarding adoption.


No standards have been established by law for approval or denial of prospective parents' applications to register. Eligibility is determined through a personal interview at the Adoption Center.

However, 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 as grounds for denial to be registered with the Adoption Center. In case of registration denial, prospective parents must be notified of the denial in writing and all the documents they submit should be returned to them.


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


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 is 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 have to 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 to 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 it can be appealed.

Once the decision takes effect, the new parents are granted parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.


RAGS (Ukrainian office of vital records) 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 the pre-adoption birth certificate back. Therefore, please make sure to that you make a copy before handing it over to RAGS authorities.

Once you obtain the post-adoption birth certificate, you may apply for a travel document (passport) for the child at the local VVIR (Office of Visas and Registrations). You will be required to present the post-adoption certificate of birth and the final court decree.


APPLICATION of citizen of UKRAINE who is a permanent resident of the USA

Processing times, requirements and fees are subject to change without notice.

The information on this web-site is provided as a public service, but we cannot guarantee that the information is current or accurate. Readers should verify the information before acting on it.