How to Adopt from Mozambique

A boy in his classroom.

Adoption Authority

Mozambique’s Adoption Authority

Social Services National Directorate (Direcção Nacional da Acçao Social)

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Mozambique generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an adoption service provider
  2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child
  4. Adopt the child in Mozambique
  5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
  6. Bring your child home

1. Choose an adoption service provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Mozambique is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

U.S. adoption service providers do not usually play a role in the adoption process. The services of a private attorney in Mozambique are not normally required for the adoption process. However, the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique maintains a list of attorneys that is available on request.

2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt

In order to adopt a child from Mozambique, prospective adoptive parents will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Mozambique and U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the municipal juvenile court (Tribunal de Menores) closest to the residence of the prospective adoptive parents.

Prospective adoptions parents must provide an application addressed to the presiding judge of the court, stating:

1. Advantages of adoption for the adoptee;
2. Age of adoptee;
3. Age of the adoptive parents, and
4. Marital status of the adoptive parents.

The prospective adoptive parents’ signature on the statement must be witnessed by three people. If the judge makes a positive decision on the adoption, the case is generally transferred to the Social Services National Directorate to conduct a home study. To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

3. Be matched with a child

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, Mozambique’s Social Services National Directorate will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Mozambique’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

4. Adopt the child in Mozambique

The process for finalizing the adoption in Mozambique generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: Municipal authorities oversee adoptions within their respective geographic areas of jurisdiction. U.S. citizens wishing to adopt in Maputo should contact Ana Maria Macuacua, the head of Maputo City’s Social Service National Directorate at (258) 21 302613. Numbers for offices in other provinces can be obtained by contacting the national directorate at +258 21 302613.
  • Adoption Application: The first step in the adoption process is submission of a formal adoption request to the Juvenile Court in the appropriate governing municipality. Together with the initial application, prospective parents should submit a certified copy of their marriage certificate (translated into Portuguese) and photocopies of their passports and Mozambican residency permits (known as a “DIRE”). A list of other supporting documents and required forms may be obtained from the court. If the court grants the order of adoption, the Social Services Directorate (SSD) will then begin a lengthy investigation of the prospective adoptive parents’ lifestyle, economic means, mental and physical health, and other details associated with a home study evaluation. During this time, the process of identifying a child for adoption is also initiated by the SSD. As a final step, the SSD will pass the parents’ petition for adoption to the Juvenile Court (Tribunal de Menores), to issue a certificate of approval officially endorsing the adoption. The adoptive parents may then begin the process of registration, name change, and application for new identity and nationality documents for their child.
  • Time Frame: The adoption process in Mozambique takes approximately six to nine months. U.S. immigrant visa petitions filed at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique on behalf of adopted minors are forwarded to the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg for adjudication.
  • Adoption Fees: There is a court fee of 1,450 Meticais (approximately USD $50), in addition to minor fees for forms and documents. Adoptive parents will also be responsible for acquiring official translations of both English- and Portuguese-language documents. The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique maintains a list of Portuguese/English translators for the public use.
  • Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to submit certified copies of their marriage certificate, Mozambican residency cards, passports (all with official translations, if required), along with bank statements and health certificates to the SSD who then submits these documents to the Juvenile court. 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.

5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status

After you finalize the adoption in Mozambique, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

6. Bring your child home

Once your adoption is complete, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

1. Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Mozambique, you will first need to apply for a new Mozambican birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a Mozambican passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. To obtain a new birth certificate, please contact Conservatória does Registo Civil, located at Av. Karl Max (Tel: (258) 21 33798).

2. Mozambique Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Mozambique. Please contact the Direção Nacional de Migração, located at Av. Ho Chi Min 316, Maputo (Tel: (258) 21430782/21 303765), in order to obtain the passport.

3. U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child. 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.

The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique does not conduct immigrant visa interviews or make decisions in immigrant visa cases. All immigrant visa applications for citizens of Mozambique, including adopted children, are adjudicated by the Consular Section at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa.

APPLYING FOR A VISA AT THE U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: All U.S. immigrant visas for citizens of Mozambique are processed by the Consular Section at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before traveling, please review the Consular Information Sheet for South Africa and be sure to comply with the Government of South Africa’s entry requirements, which stipulate that travelers to South Africa must have at least two blank pages in their foreign passport upon entry.

Once the Consular Section is in receipt of a family’s approved Form I-600 petition, the Consular Section will contact the family concerning their next steps. Immigrant visa applicants must complete a series of forms—details of which will be provided to the prospective adoptive parents by the U.S, Consulate General in Johannesburg—before the immigrant visa interview may take place. Once the family is documentarily ready for the immigrant visa interview, they must call the Consular Section to schedule an appointment. A consular officer conducts the interview and, if the visa application is approved, issues the visa. A consular officer must see the adopted child before the immigrant visa may be issued. All adoption cases must include full judicial documentation that constitutes irrevocable release of the child for immigration and adoption, as well as permission to depart the country by the court that granted the adoption.

Mailing Address: Consulate General of the United States of America P.O. Box 787197, Sandton, 2146 Johannesburg, South Africa

Physical Address: 1 Sandton Drive, Sandhurst (opposite Sandton City Mall) Johannesburg, South Africa Tel: (27 11) 290-3000 Fax: (27 11) (011) 884-0396 Email:

NOTE: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 working hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should not make final travel arrangements before they receive the visa.

To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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