How to Adopt from Guinea
WARNING: Guinea is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Guinea before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Ministry of Social Affairs, Women and Children
NOTE: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying Guinea as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or, 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases.
Because Guinea is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Guinea must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may not confer immigration benefits on the adopted child (i.e. it is possible the child would not qualify for an immigrant visa if adopted out of order).
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
- Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Guinea
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
- Adopt the child in Guinea
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider:
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Guinea is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may provide adoption services between the United States and Guinea. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with The Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, you should provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Guinea as part of your adoption dossier. Guinea’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Guinea’s law.
3. Be Matched with a Child:
If both the United States and Guinea determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Guinea may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Guinea. The adoption authority in Guinea will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Guinea. Learn more about this critical decision.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption:
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.
After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Guinea. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Guinean Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Guinea where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Guinean Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Guinea, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Guinea.
- Role of Adoption Authority: Adoptions from Guinea begin with a letter addressed to the Minister of Social Affairs. After conducting an investigation into the background of the child to be adopted and determining that the child is eligible for adoption, the Ministry will send an Article 16 report on the child for inclusion with the Form I-800 filed with USCIS. After an adoption is finalized, the Ministry will certify that everything was done according to the provisions of the Hague Convention (Article 23 Certificate). You will need to take this certificate with you when you appear for the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
- Role of the Court: A court in Conakry, called the Tribunal of First Instance, will issue the Decree of Adoption. The Tribunal can also issue a Jugement Suppletif in place of a birth certificate, if needed.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: An adoption agency or orphanage in Guinea may offer or attempt to assist in processing your application for adoption in Guinea. Note that no adoption agency or orphanage in Guinea is approved or accredited to assist you, and no payment should be made to anyone other than a Guinean attorney hired by you to undertake specific tasks, or to the Government of Guinea for specific assessed fees.
- Adoption Application: Adoptions from Guinea begin with a letter addressed to the Minister of Social Affairs, accompanied by your dossier and the Form I-800A approval notice. If you have already identified a child that you would like to adopt, you should be prepared to supply the Guinean Central Authority with all known information about the child and the child's family.
- Adoption Fees: The Government of Guinea is working to publish a schedule of fees. In the meantime, fees are assessed on a case-by-case basis according to an estimation of actual costs. For example, an investigation that requires travel to a distant location would incur a higher fee that an investigation undertaken in the capital. In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Guinea include those charged by the Government of Guinea for investigations.
- Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parent(s) should provide a letter addressed to the Minister of Social Affairs stating the desire to adopt a child in Guinea. The letter must be signed by both prospective adoptive parents (if a married couple), and by every child in the household age 13 or older. The letter should accompany your dossier and the Form I-800A approval notice. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
- Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications office may be able to assist. Read more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.
6. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home:
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Guinea, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport. If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. Birth certificates are issued by the Civil Register in the community in which the child was born based on a Declaration of Birth, which is issued by a hospital. If no birth certificate was ever issued for a child, or the child was not born in a hospital, a "Jugement Suppletif tenant lieu d'acte de naissance" can be requested from the court.
- 2. Guinean Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Guinea. An application for a Guinean passport should be submitted to the Central Immigration Office in Conakry, along with the child's birth certificate (or Jugement Suppletif), a residency statement for either the child or the child's parents (or a Police Report of abandonment), and two passport-sized photographs. An application for a Guinean passport may be submitted at any point prior to or after the adoption. The fee for a passport is the equivalent of approximately 20 USD, and the passport will be available within two to four weeks.
3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy in Dakar for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, final approval of the child’s I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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