Djibouti and the Hague Convention

Lake Assal .

Djibouti 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).

Adoption in Djibouti is a complicated, time consuming process with many legal hurdles. There are no adoption agencies to facilitate the process. Many legal procedures must be completed in-person, and in French or Somali. There is no clear, uniform adoption procedure. Generally, only non-Djiboutian children considered to be abandoned in Djibouti are available for adoption; and even in these cases, restrictions abound. Djiboutian children can be adopted only in very exceptional cases (mostly by family members), and at the discretion of the Djiboutian government. Adoption in Djibouti is divided into two types: simple and plénier. Simple adoption is when someone cares for the child as his/her own, but the child’s name is not changed and the biological parents retain parental rights. A plénier adoption is when the biological parents irrevocably relinquish parental rights and the child’s last name is changed to match the adoptive parents. For the purposes of U.S. immigration law, a plénier adoption is required.


To bring an adopted child to the United States from Djibouti, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, 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.

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