State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad - District of Columbia

Date: April 2018

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-317(a)

A final judgment of adoption granted by a judicial, administrative, or executive body of a country outside the United States shall have the same force and effect as that given to a judgment of adoption entered by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia without additional proceedings or documentation if:

  • The adopting parent is a resident of the District of Columbia.
  • The validity of the foreign adoption has been verified by the granting of an IR-3 immigrant visa or a successor immigrant visa by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

A foreign adoption that meets these requirements shall be considered final under the laws of the District of Columbia and no further petition for an adoption decree shall be required.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-317(b)

Notwithstanding § 16-317(a), an adoptive parent may file a petition for a District adoption decree with the Superior Court. If the foreign adoption meets the requirements § 16-317(a), the court shall issue:

  • Findings of fact on the foreign adoption including:
    • The name of the adoptive parent
    • The name or names of the child
    • The reported birth date of the child
    • The country of the child's birth
    • The country and the date of the foreign adoption
    • The date and issuance of an IR-3 immigrant visa or a successor immigrant visa by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • An adoption decree to the petitioner

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code § 7-210(a-1)

The registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for an adopted person born outside of the United States upon receipt of a request from the adopting parents or the adopted person who is age 18 or older and receipt of one of the following documents:

  • An adoption form prepared according to § 7-209 or a copy of the foreign decree
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption decree or, if birth information is not already included in the foreign adoption decree, evidence of the child's birth date and birthplace, which may include:
    • An original birth certificate
    • A postadoption birth certificate issued by the foreign jurisdiction, including a certified copy, extract, or translation
    • Another equivalent document, such as a record from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or the U.S. Department of State
  • Evidence of the child's IR-3 immigrant visa status or successor immigrant visa status