Guatemala Adoption Factsheet

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DISCLAIMER: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign counsel.

GENERAL: the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala provided the following to the Office of Children’s Issues. It is a guide for U.S. citizens who are interested in adopting a child in Guatemala and who are applying for an immigrant visa for the child to live in the United States. This process involves satisfying complex Guatemalan and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officers carefully consider each petition on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both the U.S. and Guatemala have been met. This diligence is for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the birth parents(s) and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala before formalizing an adoption to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed.

Please also see the Web site for the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala for more information at


Adoptions by U.S. citizen parents in Guatemala are processed under a “notarial system.” Guatemalan attorneys receive and refer potential orphans to parents desiring to adopt a child. If the parents accept the referral, they will provide the attorney with a power of attorney to act on their behalf to complete an adoption. In most cases the attorney represents the birth parent(s), the adopting parents and the child(ren) in the Guatemalan Government proceedings. After obtaining clearance from a social worker under the supervision of a family court to proceed with a potential adoption case, and upon receipt of “pre-approval” from the Department of Homeland Security Office (DHS) in Guatemala, the attorney submits the case for review by the Guatemalan Solicitor General’s Office (Procuradoria General de la Nacion, PGN ). The PGN scrutinizes the adoption case for signs of fraud or irregularities before providing its approval of the adoption. Upon receiving PGN approval, the adoptive parents in the U.S. are legally responsible for their child(ren). The attorney obtains final approval from the Guatemalan birth mother and then requests a birth certificate listing the adoptive parents as the parents of the adopted child. With these final documents, the attorney submits the complete case file, including the I-600 orphan visa petition, to DHS in Guatemala. DHS reviews the case and either approves the I-600 or notifies the attorney in writing if any further problems prevent approval of the case. Once DHS approves the I-600, the case is sent to the Embassy’s Consular Section and a visa interview is scheduled, usually within a few days. Note that the PGN does not charge fees for adoptions.

Credits: U.S. Department of State

To see local Guatemala Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):

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