Adoption Information: Vietnam
USCIS Will Begin Expanded Hague Convention Processing from Vietnam
Beginning Dec. 31, 2020, intercountry adoptions from Vietnam will no longer be subject to the limitations of the Special Adoption Program (SAP), a program limited to children with special needs, older children, and sibling groups. This means the United States and Vietnam will now consider all eligible children, with or without special needs, for intercountry adoption under the Hague Adoption Convention.
We will continue to adjudicate Form I-800 petitions filed on behalf of eligible children from Vietnam under the Hague Adoption Convention. USCIS processing and documentation requirements for intercountry adoption cases from Vietnam will not change.
Since Sept. 16, 2014, intercountry adoptions between Vietnam and the United States have been processed according to the terms of the SAP and under the Hague Adoption Convention. With new legal reforms, Vietnam has made progress building and strengthening necessary safeguards and infrastructure to fulfill its obligations under the Hague Adoption Convention for all eligible children.
Prospective Adoptive Parents Wishing to Pursue a Hague Convention Adoption in Vietnam
U.S. prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) will continue to use the Form I-800A and Form I-800 Hague Adoption Convention process to pursue a Hague adoption in Vietnam. While Vietnam is expanding the categories of eligible children, this will not change how we process cases or what documentation we require on the U.S. side of the Hague process.
PAPs must work with an adoption service provider (ASP) that Vietnam has authorized to facilitate intercountry adoptions, and they may only seek to adopt children the Vietnamese Central Authority has referred for adoption. Vietnam currently limits the number of U.S. ASPs it authorizes to operate in Vietnam and has not expressed plans to change that.
To adopt a child from Vietnam, PAPs must file the following forms with USCIS:
- Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, to determine PAPs’ suitability and eligibility to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country; and
- Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child habitually resident in Vietnam. File Form I-800 after USCIS approves the Form I-800A application and PAPs receive a referral from the Vietnamese Central Authority.
PAPs with cases that started or were in process during the SAP can expect that the United States and Vietnam will continue processing pending cases to completion, in compliance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. and Vietnamese laws.
Important note: If there is a change in the number or characteristics of the child(ren) that PAPs intend to adopt or have adopted that the home study did not address, USCIS considers this a significant change. If the significant change occurs after USCIS has approved the Form I-800A or Form I-800, PAPs must submit an updated home study to USCIS using Form I-800A Supplement 3, Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A . Please see our Updated Home Studies and Significant Changes webpage for additional information.
The Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for Vietnam on Feb. 1, 2012. As of that date, any new intercountry adoptions between the United States and Vietnam must comply with Convention standards. At that time, Vietnam did not have a fully functional Convention process in place, and the United States determined that it would not be able to process Hague adoptions from Vietnam.
In 2014, after assessing actions by the government of Vietnam to implement the Hague Adoption Convention, the United States and Vietnam determined that the United States could begin processing certain intercountry adoptions from Vietnam through a Special Adoption Program (SAP) under the Hague Adoption Convention. Under the SAP, PAPs could only seek to adopt children from Vietnam if the children were referred by the Vietnamese Central Authority and had special needs; were age 5 or older; or were in a biological sibling group. Processing of these cases under the SAP began Sept. 16, 2014.
Vietnam has significantly improved its adoption process since 2014, resulting in a joint U.S.-Vietnam determination to expand intercountry adoption cases, starting Dec. 31, 2020, for all eligible children under the Hague Adoption Convention. Vietnam has demonstrated its commitment to ongoing adoption reform by the progress it has made to build necessary safeguards and infrastructure, enact legal improvements, and meet its obligations under the Convention.