Adopting from Tonga
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Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
Hague Convention Information
Tonga is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention ). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Tonga did not change.
Tongan law states that prospective adopting parents must reside with the child for period of at least six months prior to the application for adoption of that child. In addition, under Tongan law, only illegitimate children may be adopted.
The Tongan Government is proposing to pass a Dual Nationality Law in the near future. It is unclear, however, what this law may contain or how it may affect adoptions of Tongan children. The Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji (which handles Tongan immigration issues on behalf of the U.S. Government) will monitor the progress of any such legislation and update this flyer accordingly.
Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to United States from Tonga, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To learn more please read about Who Can Adopt from Tonga.
Who Can Be Adopted
Tonga has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Tonga unless he or she meets the specific requirements. To learn more please read about Who Can Be Adopted from Tonga.
How to Adopt
Tongan Adoption Authority
The process for adopting a child from Tonga generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Tonga
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
To learn more about this process please read How to Adopt from Tonga.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Tonga. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Getting or renewing a passport is easy. To learn more please read about Traveling Abroad in Tonga.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
U.S. Embassy in Tonga
Embassy of the United States 31 Loftus Street P.O. Box 21 Suva, Fiji Tel: (679) 331-4466 Fax: (679) 330-2267 Recorded Information: (679) 330-3888 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: U.S. Embassy Tonga
Tongan Adoption Authority
P. O. Box 11 Nuku'alofa, Tonga Tel: (676) 23599
Embassy of Tonga
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)