Q: How do I adopt a child in Russia?
A: Please visit our page on adopting from Russia at http://adoption.state.gov.
Q: How do I schedule an interview for my adopted child’s immigrant visa application?
A: Families or their facilitators should schedule appointments online with USCIS Moscow via INFOPASS. After making your appointment via INFOPASS, please inform the Immigrant Visa Unit of your appointment time by phone at 7-495-728-5567 or by e-mail to MoscowConsularR@state.gov
Q: Will my adopted child have dual citizenship?
A: Current U.S. nationality laws do not explicitly address dual nationality, but the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that dual nationality is a "status long recognized in the law" and that "a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both." While recognizing the existence of dual nationality, the U.S. Government does not encourage the practice as a matter of policy because of potential problems. Dual nationality often hampers efforts by the U.S. Government to provide diplomatic and consular protection to individuals overseas. When a U.S. citizen is in the other country of their dual nationality, that country has a predominant claim on the person.U.S. federal law does require that U.S. citizens exit and enter the United States on a U.S. passport, with certain limited exceptions.
Q: What are “post-placement reports” and how do I submit them?
A: The post placement reports are a significant part of your adoption process. They communicate your child’s well being to Russia, allowing future adoptions for other families to occur. The post placement report should be completed by a licensed child-placement agency or the agency that completed your original home study. The purpose of these post-placement reports is to observe how well the child and the adoptive parents are bonding with each other and how the child is fitting into the family. Russia requires that you submit your apostilled reports at the following intervals: 6 months, 12 months, 24th months, and 36 months from the court date. It is very important to submit these reports in a timely manner.
Q: What should I do if my Russian visa has expired?
A: We ask all agencies with clients going to Russia to please verify that the dates on the visa match the intended dates of travel to Russia. There is no leeway either on the visa start date or end date. Unless their stay has been extended in advance, travelers will face significant delays in departing Russia if they stay beyond the end date specified on their visa. Travelers cannot enter or exit Russia without a valid visa.
In addition, please consider the visa requirements of other European countries through which your family may transit on the return journey from Russia to the United States. Some European countries require visas for anyone traveling on Russian passports (i.e., newly adopted children from Russia). This may even be the case when only changing planes at an international airport. This matter should be addressed early, as it can take several days to obtain the required transit visas.
For comprehensive guidance on traveling to Russia, visit the Department of State travel website. Read the full guidance before traveling to Russia. Below are extracts on the Russia visa regime:
Before traveling to Russia, U.S. citizens should verify the latest requirements with the nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate.
U.S. citizens must always possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas for travel to or transit through Russia, whether by train, car, ship or airplane. The visas should be obtained from a Russian Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. or abroad in advance of travel, as it is impossible to obtain a Russian entry visa upon arrival. Travelers who arrive without an entry visa are not permitted to enter Russia and face immediate expulsion by route of entry, at the traveler's expense.
A Russian entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day, month, year). The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia. Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor. U.S. citizens often receive visas valid for periods as short as four days. Even if the visa is misdated by a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date. Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia. It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.
Even if your visa was obtained through a travel agency in the United States, there is always a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on the visa and who is considered to be the legal sponsor. It is important for travelers to know who the sponsor is and how to contact him or her because Russian law requires that the sponsor must apply on the traveler's behalf for replacement, extension, or changes to a Russian visa. U.S. citizens are strongly advised to contact their tour company or hotel in advance for the contact information of the visa sponsor.
To resolve any visa difficulties (lost visa, expired visa), the traveler's sponsor must contact the nearest Russian visa and passport office (OVIR/UVIR) for assistance. Resolving the visa problem usually requires the payment of a fee and a wait of up to 20 calendar days.
A valid visa is necessary to depart Russia. Generally, the visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate is valid for entry and exit.
Visitors who overstay the validity period of their visa, even for one day, will be prevented from leaving until their sponsor intervenes and requests a visa extension.
Q: U.S. Citizens Who Also Hold Russian Passports:
A: The U.S. government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. It expects U.S. citizens to travel on U.S. passports. Possessing and traveling on a Russian passport, outside of the United States, however, does not negate a traveler's U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens who choose to enter Russia on a Russian passport do face several possible difficulties.
U.S. citizens who have at one time held Russian citizenship are often required to renounce Russian citizenship before applying for a Russian visa in their U.S. passport. Unless a former Russian citizen has formally renounced his or her Russian citizenship through a Russian Embassy or Consulate, he or she always risks being considered a Russian citizen and forbidden from departing on any travel document except a Russian passport. This can also interfere with access to U.S. consular services in case of an emergency. This risk is greatly diminished if the traveler enters Russia on a U.S. passport and Russian visa.
Such persons should also be aware that if their Russian passport expires after entry, Russian authorities will not permit them to depart Russia using their U.S. passport. They will be required to obtain a new Russian passport - a process that generally takes several months. Russian external passports extended by Russian Consulates or Embassies overseas are not considered valid for departure from Russia no matter how long the extension. Bearers of such passports will have to apply for a new passport inside the country.
In addition, males of conscript age (18 - 27 years old) who are deemed to be Russian citizens may experience problems if they have not satisfied their military service requirement.