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India Adoption Program

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About the India Program

Accepting Applications
Hague Convention Country

The Indian program is stable and well managed by the Central Authority for Adoption in India. It has a long history of placing children with loving families, and regularly updates the rules and procedures to improve the program. Every effort is made to place children with parents of Indian heritage-first, followed by foreign adoptive parents.

Adoption in India is governed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which works closely with local Indian state governments. The state governments regulate and monitor the orphanages approved for international adoption and adoption service providers licensed in their region.

Parent Requirements


  • India requires Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) to apply for adoption through their current country of residence.
  • IAN is able to assist U.S. residents with an adoption from India.
  • PAPs residing outside the U.S. must contact the Central Adoption Authority in their current country of residence for assistance.


  • The U.S. Department of State requires adoptive parents to be U.S. citizens in order to immigrate a child to the United States through the intercounty adoption process.
  • For married PAPs, only one parent must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Single adoptive parents must be U.S. citizens.
  • Non-U.S. citizens can refer to the U.S. Department of State.

Age Requirements

The composite age of the PAPs is determined on the date of registration with CARA. The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents should not be less than 25 years.

Age of the Child
Maximum Composite Age of Married PAPs
Maximum age of Single PAPs
Up to 2 years
85 years
40 years
Above 2 and up to 4 years
90 years
45 years
Above 4 and up to 8 years
100 years
50 years
Above 8 and up to 18 years
110 years
55 years

Marital Status

  • Both single parents and married couples may adopt.
  • A married couple must be married for a minimum of two years to be found eligible to adopt.
  • A single man can only adopt a male child.
  • India does not accept common-law marriages or live-in partners.


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


Adoptive parents should have good health and should not be suffering from any mental or physical condition which may prevent them from taking care of the child or any condition that may not allow for a normal life expectancy.


  • Adoptive parents of Indian heritage can apply for the adoption of a child who is considered "healthy", but children who are considered healthy may still have minor needs, such as low birth weight, malnourishment, developmental delays, anemia, past medical issues, etc. The wait time for children considered healthy is usually long. Contact IAN for information on wait times.
  • Foreign families and families with 2 or more children are required to adopt a child with special needs. Adult children or children living outside of the home are included in your total for consideration.
  • Adoptive parents cannot have been convicted of a crime.

Children In Need

Children become available for adoption in India 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 in India, the special need of the child, and many more. Children are from a wide range of India’s diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.


Children in need of families range from 1-15 years old.


While gender preference can be indicated by Adoptive Parents, parents are strongly encouraged to be open to a child of either gender.


The majoity of children available for adoption from India are considered to have special needs. These needs may be medical, physical, and/or developmental. They vary from minor/correctable to more severe.

Adoption Process and Timeline

Timeframes will vary per adoption. The average can be from 18-24 months from starting your adoption journey to when you complete your adoption and bring your child home.


Choose an Adoption Agency

Choose an accredited Adoption Service Provider (ASP) who is licensed as an Accredited Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) in India. IAN is licensed as both.


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, apply for U.S. Immigration approval. (3-4 months)
  • Register through CARA and receive an approval. (2-4 months)

Accept Child Referral

PAPs will receive one child referral at a time. India allows PAPs up to 30 days to consider a potential referral and decide whether to accept. The referral must be accepted within the given time period.


Obtain Necessary Approvals to Immigrate the Child into the U.S.

  • USCIS Approval
  • Article 5
  • No Objection Certificate from CARA
  • Indian District Magistrate Approval
  • Article 23
  • Child's Birth Certificate
  • Child's Passport

Get Ready to Travel

  • Take custody of the child in their resident state
  • Go through a medical appointment in Delhi
  • Go through a Visa appointment at U.S. Embassy in Delhi

Bring the child home to the U.S.

After you receive a Visa in the child's name, you will be able to bring the child home.


Post Adoption Visits and Reports

There is a requirement from India to submit Post Adoption reports at regular intervals. Visit "Post Adoption" to learn more.

Travel Requirements

Prospective adoptive parents are required to travel to India to take custody of the adopted child. At least one trip of 10-14 days is required, although some regions may require two trips.

Cost Estimates

It can vary from $35,000 to $45,000.

Not all the costs will necessarily apply and all fees can change at any time. To receive IAN's India 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!
Contact a Coordinator

Responsibility Chart and Country Resources

The Responsibility Chart introduces responsibilities for all the parties involved in an India Intercountry Adoption.

Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs)

  • Select home study agency
  • Gather and submit documents for home study report
  • Complete and submit country specific documents for IAN
  • File I800a/I600a with USCIS
  • Gather dossier documents and submit to IAN
  • Monitor document and fingerprint expiration dates and update accordingly
  • Arrange travel plans


  • Provide guidance on required paperwork
  • Review and approve home study before finalization
  • Assist PAPs with USCIS filing
  • File I-800a/I-600a and I-800/I-600 for Colorado PAPS
  • Register PAPs with foreign country
  • Refer child to PAPs
  • Communication with foreign country to obtain updates
  • Send dossier to foreign country
  • Arrange travel plans
  • Send Post-Adoption Reports to country and provide support after child comes home
  • Keep PAPs updated throughout the process

Home Study Agency

  • Assist PAPs with gathering documents for home study.
  • Provide training support and resources to PAPs
  • Screens and prepares PAPs for adoption to determine suitablity and eligiblity to adopt a child.
  • Prepare home study report
  • Mail notarized original home studies to PAPs and IAN
  • Complete Post-Adoption Reports and provide support after child comes home


  • Determining the suitability and eligibility of prospective adoptive parents
  • Contact PAPS for biometric fingerprints
  • Send I-800a approval
  • Determining the eligibility of the child to immigrate to theUnited States
  • Send I-800 approval
Visit USCIS Website

Specialised Adoption Agency in India (SAA)

  • Send updates on potential referrals to IAN for PAPs
  • Provide care, protection, and rehabilitation for every child in their charge
  • Prepare reports with medical, social and developmental information for all children admitted to their care
  • Prepare every adoptable child psychologically for their assimilation with the adoptive family
  • Make efforts to place each child in adoption, who has been declared legally free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee
  • File case with District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), which files case with District Magistrate (DM)
  • Applies for child's birth certificate/affidavit and passport

Central Adoption Resource Authority

  • Send potential referrals to IAN for PAPs
  • Grant NOC
  • Issues Article 23 Letter
  • Assess the eligibility and suitability of PAPs for registration approval
Visit CARA Website

US Embassy

  • Request DS-260 form from PAPs
  • Issue Article 5 Letter
  • Send Embassy appointment date to PAPs
  • Issue child's Visa

District Magistrate

  • Processes case and grants adoption
  • Issues written adoption order to SAA and uploads onto CARINGS


Can I adopt more than one child at a time?
What languages do the children speak?
What information will I receive when I receive my referral?
Do Indian citizens living in the US or individuals of Indian descent receive priority?
Can PAPs who are not of Indian heritage adopt from India?
Where can I find more information about the adoption regulations in India?

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