Adopting from Guinea-Bissau

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Notice: As of July 14, 2014, all individuals and agencies facilitating international adoptions must be in compliance with the Intercountry Universal Accreditation Act.

The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

About Guinea-Bissau

Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country's first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA's ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was overthrown in a bloodless military coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation; he was assassinated in March 2009. Malam Bacai SANHA was elected in an emergency election held in June 2009, but he passed away in January 2012 from an existing illness. A military coup in April 2012 prevented Guinea-Bissau's second-round presidential election - to determine SANHA's successor - from taking place.

Hague Convention Information

Guinea-Bissau is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of Guinea-Bissau. U.S. citizens adopting children in rare adoption cases from Guinea-Bissau, as well as U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Guinea-Bissau who would like to adopt from the United States or from a third country, should contact the adoption authority of Guinea-Bissau to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. See contact information below.

PLEASE NOTE: The U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal issues immigrant visas for Bissau-Guinean citizens, including adopted orphans.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

There are two types of adoptions in Guinea Bissau: 1) simple adoption (adopcao restrita) and 2) full adoption (adopcao plena). Simple adoption is a form of legal custody that may specifically permit immigration of the child and adoption abroad. In a simple adoption, the birth family is usually still living and the child may continue to have contact with his or her birth family. The birth family must have consented to the simple adoption, and the adopting family must have met the prerequisite care requirements before obtaining guardianship of the child. Simple adoptions are revocable, but can be converted to full adoptions if the requirements for full adoption are met. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

In contrast, full adoptions are irrevocable and are granted when one or both birth parents have died and/or any living biological parent has severed ties with the child, or when simple adoptions are converted to full adoptions after the biological parents consent and the child has been in the care of the adopting family for at least 12 months. In these cases, the child will take the last name of the adopting parents and be considered their legitimate child. Adoption lawyers and authorities in Guinea-Bissau should be aware that only full adoption is legally equivalent to an adoption in the United States. In order to adopt, the prospective adoptive parents must have a local lawyer and meet the eligibility requirements.

Please visit the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for more information on travelling to Guinea-Bissau and the U.S. Embassy Dakar website for information on consular services.

Contact Information


The Ministry of Child Protection is responsible for intercountry adoptions in Guinea-Bissau.

Ministry of Social Solidarity and Fight Against Poverty Address: Rua Unidade Africana P.O. P: 716 Tel: (245) 3204605 Fax: (245) 3204785 Email:


Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information