Can you adopt a child from Iran?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “Can you adopt a child from Iran?” In doing so will look into various curiosity you might have such as–  Is it possible to adopt a child in Iran? What are the relevant requirements and procedures, if possible? After the adoption is approved by the court, the biological parent is granted custody. We end the article by seeing what disqualifies birth parents’ requirements and procedures where the child will stay while the procedure is being performed

Can you adopt a child from Iran?

Yes, you can adopt a child from Iran. However, there are certain details regarding the process of adoption that you need to pay special attention to. Let’s look deeper into it 

Information regarding Iran 

Iran, known as Persia until 1935, became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was deposed and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was exiled. A conservative clerical force led by Ayatollah Ruhollah KHOMEINI established a theocracy that gave ultimate political authority to learned religious scholars known as Supreme Leaders.

About Adoption

Adoption is the social and emotional process by which children who have not been raised by their biological parents become full and permanent legal members of another family while retaining genetic and psychological ties to their biological family. 

Adoption has many facets and affects people differently depending on their role and point of view. 

Find information about the history of adoption in the United States, definitions and terms used in adoption, top adoption questions, social media in adoption information, and links to related resources and information in this section.

Adoption, unlike guardianship and other systems aimed at caring for children, seeks to effect a permanent change of status and thus requires social approval via legal or religious sanctions. 

Historically, some societies enacted specific adoption laws, while others relied on informal means (particularly contracts that provide for inheritance rights and parental responsibilities without the transfer of family lines). 

Modern adoption systems, which emerged in the twentieth century, are typically governed by extensive laws and regulations.

Hague Convention Protocol 

Iran is not a party signatory to the Hague Convention for Adoption. 

The Hague Convention on Cooperation in Child Protection and International Adoption (Convention) is a multilateral agreement that entered into force on April 1, 2008, between the United States and approximately 75 countries to protect children and families.

It is a temporary agreement. It is involved in inter-member adoptions and works to prevent child abduction, sale, and trafficking. This section contains treaty resources for international adoption professionals.

Iran adoption practices 

Adoption by parents residing outside of Iran is permissible under current Iranian practice if the adoptive parents are Iranian citizens and meet all other adoption requirements. 

Close family members’ applications are more likely to be approved.

Only Iranian welfare bodies and competent courts have the authority to decide each case in the best interests of the child. 

Only Muslim parents can adopt Muslim children. Christian parents can adopt a Christian child. 

Before adoption, strict rules are in place to protect the child and determine the suitability of future adoptive parents. The procedure is intricate and time-consuming. 

Even after the children are returned to their families, Iranian authorities continue to monitor them and conduct regular tests to determine their physical and mental health.

Iranians living in other countries can apply for adoption through relatives in Iran. Iranian welfare organizations must be contacted. 

The Iranian Welfare Department announced in October 1998 that it would allow retired Iranian couples to adopt an estimated 3,000 abandoned children in the country (AFP 28 October 1998). 

According to a representative from the agency, “all 3,000 children currently in the organization’s care will be in a better position by 2004 to help all abandoned children so that they can have a family life.” 

“The Welfare Board was constructing an apartment complex in the holy city of Qom at the time to provide free housing for ‘qualified foster parents who do not have a place of their own.”

The Iranian Civil Code Section 1173 states: 

“If a child’s physical health or moral upbringing is jeopardized as a result of the custodial father’s or custodial mother’s lack of care or moral humiliation, the Court shall, at the request of the child’s relatives, appoint a guardian of the child. Responsibilities Regarding Child Custody Reasonable Determination of a Child (1995, 171)”

What is the procedure for Adoption from Iran? 

The process of adoption in Iran follows the following steps: 

  1. Selecting an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Determined Eligible for Legal Guardianship
  3. Match with a Child and Obtain Legal Custody of the Child in Iran
  4. Request to the respective agency that the child is found eligible for orphan status.
  5. Take your child back to your home

1. Select a service provider for adoption.

The first step in adopting a child from Iran is to decide whether to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States to assist with the adoption. 

To do so, you must be licensed by a state in the United States. On its website, the State Department provides information on selecting an adoption service provider.

There is no formal adoption agency in Iran to assist with the Iranian guardianship process. Iranian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as The Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child can be a good source of information.

2. Application for legal guardianship acceptance

To obtain legal custody/guardianship of an Iranian child, you must meet both the Iranian government’s and US immigration law’s requirements. You must apply for legal custody/guardianship at the IWO in Iran.

To be eligible for adoption under US immigration laws, you must submit an I-600A request to the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of US Citizenship and Immigration for Enhanced Processing of Orphan Petitions.

3. Children must be matched.

If you are eligible for adoption and your child is eligible for international adoption, an adoption service provider or authorized agency in Iran will refer you. 

Each family must decide for themselves whether they can meet the needs of their specific child and provide a permanent home.

The child must be adoptable under Iranian law, as detailed in the Eligible for Adoption section. In addition, the child must meet the definition of an orphan under US immigration law.

4. Way to obtain legal custody in Iran 

Adoption Agency Role: 

The ICR makes decisions in statutory custody/guardianship cases. To notify the organization of their intentions, a prospective adoptive parent seeking legal custody/guardianship of a child should contact them. 

The organization might then be able to open the family file and assign a case number.

The Court’s Role: 

The Judiciary Center creates files with the necessary documents and translations. As part of the custody/guardianship process, Judicial Center files should be prepared by submitting the necessary paperwork and translations.

Adoption agencies’ roles: 

Adoption agencies are not active in Iran.

Application for adoption 

Prospective adoptive parents must submit a formal application to the IWO and obtain court approval before beginning the custody/guardianship process. A physical and mental examination is also required of prospective adoptive parents. 

You must provide the court with information about your criminal history. When all of the above steps are completed and the application is approved, the court will send her an IWO letter of recommendation. 

At the IWO, a series of interviews are conducted, and a file is created at the orphanage.

The files are forwarded to the adoption office by the orphanage’s head nurse. This will be followed by social worker interviews and visits, as well as referrals to all appropriate agencies. 

At this stage, parents who want to adopt may need to meet with an adoption counsellor (or their representative) at the orphanage welfare office. The child selection process begins after prospective adoptive parents are placed on a waiting list. 

Following selection, the child will be examined by a doctor chosen by the adoptive parents.

A professional issues a certificate of mental and physical health to a child. The ICR will refer the case to court at the end of this process. 

The court will issue a provisional custody certificate and hand over the child to the prospective adoptive parent as guardian for a six-month probationary period.

Timeline for the adoption process

Temporary custody is granted to the prospective adoptive parent for six months at first. The court may grant full custody or extend temporary custody for up to three years at the end of this period.

Adoption Cost: 


Documents Required: 

All English documents must be translated into Persian (Farsi) and certified by the Official Translation Services Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Justice and the Department of Registration and Citizen Status of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and submitted in duplicate.

  1. Both adoptive parents must complete and sign an application.
  2. Original and notarized copy of prospective adoptive parents’ birth certificate (Shenasnameh)
  3. Original and notarized copy of future adoptive parents’ marriage certificate
  4. A notarized original of the prospective adoptive parents’ sterility certificate
  5. Evaluation of prospective adoptive parents’ physical and mental health (including addiction testing)
  6. Prospective adoptive parents’ police records
  7. Evidence of prospective adoptive parents’ financial situation
  8. Future adoptive parents’ most recent educational document (diploma)

5. Apply for the orphanage

Following the acquisition of legal custody/guardianship in Iran, the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Service must determine whether the child meets the definition of an orphan under US immigration law. Form I-600, a petition to classify the orphan as a next of kin, must be filed.

6. Take your child back to your home

You will need to obtain some documents for your child once you have legal custody/guardianship of your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child back to the United States:

1. Certificate of Birth

You must first apply for a new birth certificate (shenasnameh) for your child after obtaining legal custody/guardianship in Iran. Your new birth certificate will include your name. 

To apply for a passport as a child, the legal guardian’s name must also be included in “Shenasnameh.”

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much does adoption from Iran cost?

An Iranian passport application costs 37,500 riyals, and a passport costs 750,000 riyals.

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Is it common in Iran to adopt?

[Calendar year in Iran] Since 1392, adoption cases have increased, with 2,000 children placed for adoption each year, some of them because temporary trustees outperform foster care centres.

How many orphans exist in Iran?

The foundation currently cares for 147,000 orphans and 260,000 children, who are raised by families who cannot afford to do so on their own. 

Seyyed Morteza Bakhtiari, the head of the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, stated in May 2020 that he had 710,265 active philanthropists helping orphans in the country.

What is the legal drinking age in Iran?

In Iran, there is no legal age of consent because marriage is required by law before sexual intercourse is allowed. 

There is effectively no age of consent between married people if there is no age limit for marriage. In Iran, there is no age of consent because all sexual activity other than marriage is illegal.