Home International Adoption Must Read: Guide to Russian Adoption

Must Read: Guide to Russian Adoption

Must Read: Guide to Russian Adoption

Guide to Russian Adoption:

In the United States, the adoption of a Russian child will involve complex foreign and domestic legal requirements. The United States consular officers will evaluate each Russian adoption case careful consideration that is implemented on a case-by-case basis. Such an evaluation process is used to ensure that the legal requirements of both the United States and Russia have been met, to uphold and ensure the protection of the biological parents involved in the Russian adoption, as well as the prospective adoptive parents and most importantly the child. 

As a result of the legislation and legality, it is strongly encouraged that all U.S. citizens interested in Russian adoption contact the United States Consular Officials in Russia before formalizing an adoption agreement. This method is strongly suggested to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed, which will facilitate the United States Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the adopted child. Also contact an adoption lawyer for legal advice and assistance.

Availability as it Pertains to Russian Adoption:

Recent U.S. immigration statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans from Russia (IR-3 and IR-4 visas combined)*:


FY-2002…. 4939


FY-2001…. 5004


FY-2000…. 4687


FY-1999…. 4470

*Immediate Relative (IR)-3 visas are issued to orphans adopted in Russia. IR-4 visas are issued to orphans whose adoption will be finalized in the United States.

Russian law requires that a child must have been registered in the state database for children left without parental care for at least three months before he or she is considered eligible for international adoption.

There are no residency requirements attached to Russian adoption; single parents are permitted to partake in Russian adoption but there must be at least a 16 year age differential between the adopting parents and the child up for adoption. The average time to finalize a Russian adoption is 5 months from the time the BCIS approves the petition to the issuance of the IV visa.

The average cost of a Russian adoption (compiled through interviews by the United States Embassy with parties who engaged in a Russian adoption) is approximately $20,000.00.

Process of Russian Adoption:

Parents interested in partaking in Russian adoption must first apply to a regional Ministry of Education, which will direct them to a participating orphanage. Adoptive parents are then required to travel to Russia to meet prospective adoptive children.

During this process the parents will select a child and apply to the court to receive a court date; the adoptive parents may then return to the United States, while the child is required to stay in Russia to attend the court hearing. Once the court hearing concludes, they will obtain the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate from the civil registration office. At this point, the adoptive parents will contact the Embassy to make an appointment to apply for the immigrant visa.

Adopted Russian children must be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave the country. For U.S. citizen families, this is done after an adopted child receives an immigrant visa to the United States.

The Consular Section of the MFA is open for the registration of adopted children Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; on Friday – from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.


The Following Documents are needed for registration:



1. Original of the child's passport


2. Copies of the parents' passports


3. Letter from the orphanage (orphanage release)


4. Letter from the Ministry of Education of Russia


5. Court decision


6. Adoption certificate


7. Immigrant visa of the child (original) 



The Following Documents are required by the Russian court system for a Russian Adoption:



1.    Home Study documents


2.    A BCIS approval notice affirmed on I-171H or I-797


3.    Copies of all coordinating adoptive parents’’ passports


4.    A marriage certificate or divorce certificate if applicable


5.    A Police certificate


6.    Medical Examination Report


7.    All pertinent financial documents, such as an employment verification letter, bank statements and tax returns


8.    Evidence of place of residence.