Located in the heart of Central America, El Salvador is the smallest, most densely populated country in the region. With a population of just over six million people, El Salvador is known for its beauty, its volcanoes, its coffee production and its abundant natural resources of petroleum, arable land and hydropower.
El Salvador is currently accepting applications for relative adoptions. If you are a citizen of the United States and have a relative in El Salvador you wish to adopt, we may be able to help you. We are currently working with several families to complete an adoption in El Salvador.
To apply, you need to be married for at least five years, at least one of you must be a US citizen, and you must be of the Christian faith. One you have received approval from the agency, we will start the process by finding a home study agency in your state.
Open Door will help you file all the required documents for USCIS, including the I800a, and the I800. We will help you through each stage of the process and we will connect you with our attorney in El Salvador, who has been incredibly helpful as we navigate the process.
Adoptions from El Salvador are lengthy and complex, but we are committed to assist our families through each stage of the process.
The adoption process begins with an application to An Open Door Adoption Agency (downloadable from our web site), a Service Agreement, followed by a home study, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) application I800A, and a relatively brief dossier. For most families, the process of completing this dossier takes about four -six months.
Once the dossier is completed, a legalization process begins, followed by translation, then review and approval by the Salvadoran government.
If both the United States and El Salvador determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in El Salvador may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in El Salvador. The adoption authority in El Salvador will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in El Salvador.
ISNA investigates the circumstances of an orphaned or neglected child’s family and seeks to find a close relative who may be willing to care for the child. Once satisfied that intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interest, ISNA determines which prospective adoptive parents are suitable matches for the child. OPA is responsible for coordinating with ISNA when a child is matched with prospective adoptive parents.
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.
After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from El Salvador.
The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Salvadoran Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from El Salvador where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Salvadoran’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
The family, upon receiving I800 approval, needs:
You are now free to go home!
Time Frame: Salvadoran adoption procedures can take 18 to 36 months to complete, but have often taken much longer. This does not include the time necessary for the U.S. Embassy to complete its own investigation, as required by immigration regulations. Because adoption fraud in El Salvador has taken a variety of forms, an investigation of each adoption is necessary to ensure that the child is an orphan, as defined by U.S. immigration law, and that the birth mother is aware that the child is being adopted irrevocably and will be taken from the country. Investigation times vary depending on the complexity of each case.