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DISCLAIMER: The following is intended as a very general guide to assist U.S. Citizens who plan to adopt a child in Colombia and apply for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States. Two sets of laws are particularly relevant: 1) the laws of Colombia govern all activity in Colombia, including the adoptability of individual children as well as the adoption of children in country. 2) U.S. Federal immigration law governs the immigration of the child to the United States. The information in this flier relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. It does not necessarily reflect the actual state of the laws of Colombia and is provided for general information only. Moreover, U.S. immigration law, including regulations and interpretation, changes from time to time. This flyer reflects our current understanding of the law as of this date and is not legally authoritative. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

PLEASE NOTE: Colombian law does not allow for private adoptions. Children may be adopted only through the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) and approved adoption agencies. This means that both the U.S. agency that is contracted by the prospective adoptive parents and the Colombian agency facilitating the Colombian part of the process must be approved by the Colombian government.

Every adopted child must have a final adoption decree in order to leave Colombia. Colombian law also requires that both adopting parents be physically present when the adoption is presented to a “family judge.” No exceptions are made to this requirement, and the process takes two to four weeks, sometimes more. After both prospective adoptive parents have appeared before the court, one of them may return to the United States, but the other parent must remain in Colombia until the adoption/immigrant visa process is completed.

PATTERNS OF IMMIGRATION OF ADOPTED ORPHANS TO THE U.S.: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans:

Fiscal Year Number of Immigrant Visas Issued

FY 2005


FY 2004


FY 2003


FY 2002


FY 2001


FY 2000


ADOPTION AUTHORITY IN COLOMBIA: The government office responsible for adoptions in Colombia is the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF).

Grupo Nacional de Adopciones
Avenida 68 # 64-01
Bogotá, Colombia
Telephone: 011-57-1-437 7630 - Ext. 3158 – 3157
www.icbf.gov.co (Spanish)
http://www.icbf.gov.co/ingles/home.asp (English version)

Credits: U.S. Department of State

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