International Adoption Travel Requirements

As a prospective adoptive parent, during the International adoption process, you’ll be required to travel to the home country of the child you want to adopt. In order to be adequately prepared, your knowledge of International adoption travel requirements is critical.

International Adoption Travel
International Adoption Couples Traveling

International adoption travel requirements depend on planned trips. This varies from country to country. Key requirements are medical examination Reports, passports, immigrant visas, adoption documents, and essential items such as Contact and Insurance card.

For some countries, you’ll just make 1 trip with a stay period of about two weeks then return home with your child. However, for some countries, you’ll need to take a maximum of 3 trips with total stay periods of 4-6 weeks.

Your international adoption travel requirements will, therefore, be based on your planned trips, and specific requirements of a country.

To adopt a child from some countries, both parents are required to travel so as to bond with the child in their country for a specific period of time.

Other countries allow for just one parent to travel during the process. It’s only after a successful stay that your adoption process will be finalized.

Different countries are exposed to different diseases. To protect the child and both the adoptive parents and their families against known dangerous infections, there are medical examination requirements that must be fulfilled. 

Countries involved have their respective laws on inter country-travel. It’s therefore important that you adhere to all the legal requirements. There are documents that you as a prospective parent need to have as part of your international adoption travel requirements.

For your adopted child to finally travel home, she must have all the required travel documents.

Categories of the international adoption travel requirements:

  • Medical Precautions in order to keep you and family safe
  • Traveling Documents so that you comply with country laws
  • Essential items so that you deal well with emergencies, etc

International Adoption Travel Requirements: Medical Precautions

a. Adoptive Family -Vaccination Requirements

Before you travel to your child’s country for the mandatory stay period, you’re required to visit a pre-travel clinic.

Your health conditions and medical records need to be evaluated by your health service provider. Before you travel, you’ll be provided with relevant pre-travel advice which you must take seriously.

The health provider will assess details on prevalent diseases and risks in your child’s country in order to make recommendations. He/she will also study the full medical and social history of the child you want to adopt.

If one or both of you will be traveling as parents, your medical histories will be checked to ensure that you have the necessary immunization before your planned trip. No taking chances!

Your planned travel season, the duration of stay in the target country will be documented. Your health service provider will also assess your planned movements within the new country and document accordingly.

All your family members will need protection through Vaccination so that they stay healthy. You’ll be advised on the importance of all of them getting full protection. As a result, they’ll remain safe against possible future infections.

Your extended family members who will be remaining at home when you travel will also need to be protected accordingly.

These international adoption travel requirements also focus on any other members who will interact with you your new coming child after your return trip.  

Your family’s current routine immunizations will ensure that they are well protected and also keep your coming baby safe.

International Adoption Requirements
Family Vaccination | International Adoption

The main infections you’ll need to be vaccinated against before international travel are:

  • measles
  • Diphtheria
  • Varicella
  • Pertussis
  • Tetanus,
  • Polio,
  • Hepatitis A (HAV)

If your target country is known to have either high or intermediate risk level of HBV endemic infection, it’s important that all the people in your home and those who will be caring for your child are immunization against Hepatitis B (HBV).

In such a scenario, your health provider may recommend accelerated schedules in order to effectively address the situation.

In case your adopted child comes from a polio-endemic region, it’s important that all your family members complete their vaccines accordingly.

Even if you had been vaccinated but you still plan to travel alone or with your partner, you all should get the one-time polio booster shot for enhanced protection.

Those who will remain at home but will be in close contact with your child must also receive the same single polio booster vaccination.

In circumstances where you’ll be required to stay for more than 4 weeks in a country with polio transmission, your health provider may recommend an additional vaccine to ensure that you are effectively protected.

b.  International Travel Requirements-The Medical Examinations

All immigrants, as well as those being internationally adopted by US citizens, must undergo a medical examination. This is one of the international adoption travel requirements that need to be fulfilled. US Department will designate a physician for this medical exercise.

The examination is done so as to identify children with health-related conditions that are in dismissible.

 Since this is a limited test, as an adoptive parent, you’re required to arrange for a comprehensive pre-adoption medical review.

You’ll, therefore, require the services of a qualified pediatrician experienced on health matters relevant to internationally adopted children.

Your child’s available medical records and vaccination history will, therefore, be comprehensively reviewed.

The review is meant to prepare you for any potential health issues that might arise when your child travels to a different country with different living conditions.

International Adoption Travel Requirements- The Travel Documents

I.  Passport:

Valid Traveling Passport

As a prospective adoptive parent, it’s important to ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return to your home country.

Depending on your traveling destinations, ensure that it has enough blank pages for your international adoption travels. In fact, it advisable that your passport has at least 2 blank pages.

 II.  Visa

visa application
Traveling Visa

Depending on the country your adopted child comes from, you’ll need to process your visa early enough so that you travel as scheduled.

It’s important that you contact the embassy of your child’s country in good time since this will facilitate the processing of your visa

 III.   Immigrant Visa

So as to allow your baby to travel to the U.S as an adopted child, an Immigration Visa must be issued.

The process and issuance of the visa are at the U.S embassy which of course is within the country where your child comes from.

 IV.   Adoption Documents:

As you travel to bring your child home, it’s important that you carry the relevant adoption documents with you so as to avoid any possible inconveniences.

Your service provider will guide you accordingly on the documents you’ll need, and necessary to help you pass through the customs with your adopted baby

 V.  Other Necessary Requirements

Health Kits & Travel Medications:

Consider carrying basic essential health kits that can manage illnesses or minor injuries. It’s however important to ensure that the items you carry do not go against travel regulations and conditions.

Consult your travel health care provider regarding the medications you may need during your travel

Contact Card and Insurance Coverage Proof

It’s recommended that you have a contact card listing of important contact that you may need or can be used during an emergency. 

Proof of your insurance coverage is also important and should be part of the documents you carry with you as you travel.


As you prepare to bring your child home or for a mandatory visit, ensure that you are well prepared both physically and psychologically.

Getting more information on your destinations so as to be adequately informed. Important information during your research can cover Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, or any other helpful country information.

Some of the helpful information you should check are:

  1. Safety and security situation so that you know areas to avoid
  2. Country entry and exit regulations so that you don’t carry illegal items.
  3. Culture and local laws so that you know what to expect
  4. Areas that are a health hazard so that you can stay away from them
  5. Climate and known natural hazards in order to carry the right clothes and be cautious.
  6. Emergency helplines to ensure you get timely help during need.
Travel Details From Your Service Provider

  With all the required travel documents including the necessary medical records, your service provider will help you arrange for all your trips accordingly.

It’s important that you take the time to read about all the travel regulations and documentation so that you’re well informed in advance.

This will ensure that you don’t carry items or medications that may be deemed as illegal during your trip.

As a precaution, ensure that you have enough copies of the documents that you may need during your trip.


Your luggage will depend on the nature of the trip, and how you plan to stay in the target country. However, it’s important that you only carry the most appropriate luggage for each trip.

When traveling to bring your child home, carry light luggage and only what’s necessary. Ensure that the clothes your carry for both you and the baby are suitable.

7 Popular International Adoption Countries and Travel Trips

Country Total Number of Trips Estimated Days Per Trip (Days/Weeks) No of Parents On 1st Trip Estimate  Total Stay
South Korea 2 1 Week 2 12-16 days
China 1 1-2 Weeks 1 7-14 days
India 1 1-2 Weeks 1 7-14 days
Colombia 1 10-14 days (2 parents)            14 days       (1 parent) 2 21-42 days
Haiti 2 1st –(15 Days                              2nd   2 to 7 Days 2 17-22 days
Ukraine 2-3 1st -21-30 days                                           2nd -14 days 1 or 2 30-42 days
Taiwan 1 5-7 Days(One Parent) 1 5-7 days

Internationa Adoption Travel Requirements-Summary

The medical safety of both your family and your baby is critical. The necessary medical examinations must be done by a qualified health provider before travel.

Ensuring that you and your family are vaccinated against possible infections is important since this ensures they are not at risk.

It’s important to ensure your passport is valid with enough blank pages to serve you during your planned trips.

Contact the country’s embassy in early enough in order to ensure your visa is processed in time.

Consult your international adoption service provider for relevant adoption documents needed during your trips, and all other essential documents including your accommodation details.

Just remember, international adoption takes time. It’s important that you remain patient and prepare accordingly.

With proper knowledge and early preparation, your noble journey of bringing your child home will be finally smooth and fulfilling.

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Meshack Sewe

Meshack, is a tech-savvy Creative Copywriter, Poet, & Entrepreneur who is very passionate about Adoption and Humanitarian activities. He has served as both Program Officer, and Program Manager with two Non-Governmental Organizations focusing on orphaned children and vulnerable girls

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