Eritrea and the Hague Convention

The Eritrean highlands.

Eritrea 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).

The Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea addresses various elements of adoption, but there is no single adoption law. There may be regulations within the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare that are unpublished but still apply to Intercountry adoptions. As a result, the adoption process may lack uniformity or consistency. Regulations change often and without notice to the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea or other foreign entities. Enforcement of laws and regulations is irregular. The Department of State recommends prospective adoptive parents verify requirements with legal counsel experienced in adoption law in Eritrea or directly with the Eritrean authorities. In the U.S. Embassy's experience, all adoptions by U.S. citizens have been by Eritrean-American dual nationals, because Eritrean law requires at least one parent to be of Eritrean heritage. Most adoption cases involve older teen-aged children where one parent has died and one parent has abandoned the child. It is usually difficult to prove that the child meets the U.S. immigration requirements for "orphan."


To bring an adopted child to the United States from Eritrea, 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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