The process for finalizing the adoption in Colombia generally includes the following:

  • Role of the Central Authority:  Colombian law does not allow for private adoptions.  Children may be adopted only through the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) or approved adoption agencies.  They will match the child with the prospective adoptive parent(s) and issue the required paperwork before the case moves to the Colombian courts.  Once a family judge issues an adoption decree, ICBF will issue the Certificate of Conformity for all adoption cases.
  • Role of the Court:  The Colombian family courts require a letter from the Embassy in Bogota stating that they will issue an immigrant visa to the child if all adoption and immigrant requirements are met.  When all documentation is completed, the family judge will provide the adoption decree which the family can then use to obtain a new Colombian birth certificate from the National Registrar and a new Colombian passport from the Colombian passport office.

Note:  For children adopted by two parents, Colombian law requires that both parents travel to Colombia for the official integration period with the child (as established by ICBF) and for the initial court date.  Only one parent is required to remain in Colombia following the initial hearing with the judge.

  • Time Frame:  There is no set time frame for completing an inter-country adoption from Colombia. There are many factors that determine how long the adoption and visa process takes, including paperwork approval times, desired gender and age of the child, and the age of the prospective adoptive parent(s).  Adoptive parents have reported the entire process taking 18 to 30 months from the start of the home study process. 
  • Adoption Application:  Prospective adoptive parents can find a description of the adoption process as well as the adoption application.
  • Adoption Fees:  In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency should itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.  It is difficult to predict how much the entire adoption process will cost, as each case is unique.  Adoptive parents have reported spending between $12,000 and $30,000 to complete the adoption process.  ICBF does not charge for administrative processing.  Families working with an IAPA can find the list of allowable fees published on ICBF’s webpage.

Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before you can head home.  Specifically, you need to apply for four documents before your child can travel to your country:

Certificate of Conformity
Your adoption representative will take the adoption decree issued by a family judge to the ICBF national headquarters to obtain a Certificate of Conformity which you will need to present to the Embassy of your country on the day of your child’s immigrant visa interview.

Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Colombia, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for his/her Colombian passport.

Colombia Passport
Your child is not yet a citizen of your country, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Colombia.  Most families take the child’s new birth certificate to the Colombian Passport Office located at Calle 100 in Bogota to obtain the child’s passport.  A passport costs approximately $65 and is generally available for pick-up within two days.

Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a visa for your child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.   

On the day of the interview, you and your child should come to the Embassy at your scheduled time and bring:

  • Child’s new Colombian passport
  • Child’s new birth certificate and a copy of the child’s birth certificate prior to the adoption
  • Administrative resolution of the adoption that contains the declaration of adoptability.  This document must include ICBF’s approval
  • Final adoption decree
  • Medical examination results