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Bulgaria Adoption Program

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About the Bulgaria Program

Accepting Applications
Hague Convention Country

Bulgaria is a stable program that is well managed by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria's Central Authority.

Bulgaria is a wonderful adoption program for families open to adopting older children, sibling sets, or children with down syndrome. There are children with moderate to severe special needs already approved for adoption.

Parent Requirements


There is no residency requirement in Bulgaria.


  • The U.S. Department of State requires Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) to be U.S. citizens in order to immigrate a child to the United States through the intercountry adoption process.
  • For married PAPs, only one parent must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Single adoptive parents must be U.S. citizens.

Age Requirements

  • Must be 25 years of age.
  • The PAP must be at least 15 years older than the child they are adopting.
  • The age difference between the adoptee and the younger of the spouse should not be more than 50 years difference.
  • The age difference between the adoptee and the older spouse should not be more than 55 years difference.
  • When a child is adopted by a single PAP, the lower age difference (of 50 years) should be considered.

Marital Status

  • Married heterosexual who have been married for at least 2 years.
  • Single women and single men can adopt.
  • Single men can adopt male children 10 and older.


Families must meet income requirements as outlined by USCIS. The homestudy of the family must demonstrate the financial stability of the family.


  • PAPs should be in good physical and mental health.
  • They should not suffer from diseases that could pose a threat to the child's life and health or diseases which would be an obstacle to the adequate satisfaction of the child's needs.


  • Compulsory required vaccination for Covid-19 for adopted children 12 years and older. Under 10 years, can submit the Affidavit Concerning Exemption from Immigrant Vaccination Requirements for a Foreign Adopted Children (Form DS - 1981).
  • Bulgaria does not limit the number of children already in the home, but they prefer homes with 4 or fewer children.

Children In Need

Children become available for adoption in Bulgaria for many reasons. Sometimes it is due to extreme economic hardship on the part of the birth parents, the social stigma of being a single parent, the special need of the child, and the inability to meet the children's needs.


The children available for adoption range in age from 2-16 years old. However, the most common ages are 2-10 years. Referrals for children above 10 years and older sibling sets are being received much faster.


While gender preference can be indicated by Adoptive Parents, parents are strongly encouraged to be open to a child of either gender. Referrals for boys are currently more numerous than girls.


The majoity of children available for adoption from Bulgaria are considered to have moderate to severe special needs. These needs may be medical, physical, and/or developmental.

Adoption Process and Timeline

Timeframes will vary per adoption. Bulgaria actively seeks families for children, rather than finding children for waiting families.


Choose an Adoption Agency

Choose an accredited Adoption Service Provider (ASP) who is licensed in Bulgaria. Once you are approved, you will receive IAN's policy paperwork to review and sign, and then you can get started.


Apply to be found eligible to adopt

  • First complete an approved home study. You will have to hire an external agency if you do not reside in Colorado. IAN will be able to provide you recommendations. If you reside in Colorado, IAN will be your home study agency as well. (2-3 months)
  • After home study approval, you will apply for U.S. Immigration Approval I-800A. (3-4 months).

Prepare Dossier

You will be assigned a coordinator to help you get all the paperwork needed to adopt. The family will have 6 months to submit the dossier to the Ministry of Justice after U.S. I800A approval.


PAPs Registration

Ministry of Justice will register the PAPs. (1 month)


Child Referral

  • The Bulgarian Government does not process adoptive parent applications in order they are received, but rather by placing priority on parents who are open to special need or older children.
  • The Ministry of Justice provides information on the child through IAN. The family has up to two months to accept or decline.
  • PAPs are only allowed 2 referrals.
  • If referral is refused, waiting period starts over.
  • Accept child referral.

Travel to Bulgaria (1st Visit)

  • This is the first trip to travel to Bulgaria and visit the child you just accepted the referral for. After the visit, the process starts towards adoption.
  • The paperwork then goes to the courts, and a date is set for a court hearing.
  • Once the court gives approval, custody of the child is granted to the adoptive parents.

Travel to Bulgaria to Immigrate the child into the U.S (2nd Visit)

These are the necessary approvals to immigrate the child.

  • USCIS Approval
  • Article 5
  • Court Approval
  • I-H3 Visa for the child
  • Article 23
  • Child's birth certificate and passport

Post Adoption Visits

Bulgaria requires Post Adoption Reports of how the child is getting accustomed to the family. IAN or your home study agency will perform these reports.

Travel Requirements

PAPs will be required to make two trips to Bulgaria.

  • The first trip is made in order to meet the child and usually lasts 5-6 days.
  • The second trip takes about 10 days. During this trip, the passport and visas are issues and the adoption process is completed.

Cost Estimates

It can vary from $25,000 to $40,000.

Not all the costs will necessarily apply and all fees can change at any time. To receive IAN's Bulgaria fee agreement and schedule, click on "Contact a Coordinator" and fill out the contact form.

Ready to start or have questions?
Our coordinators are here to help!
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Key Organizations


Are there any frequent difficulties when adopting older children?
Do older children have to give their permission to be adopted?
Do both parents need to travel?
Who is available to adopt a child with down syndrome?

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