How to Adopt from Namibia
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare
The process for adopting a child from Namibia generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an adoption service provider
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child
- Adopt the child in Namibia
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bring your child home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Namibia 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.
There are no adoption agencies in Namibia. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has issued licenses to private and state social workers to assist adoptive parents in finding a child and doing the paperwork for the adoption. Prospective adoptive parents must be screened by private or state social workers to determine whether they are eligible to adopt.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Namibia, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Namibia and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare of Namibia and be found eligible to adopt.
To complete the application, the prospective adoptive parents must work with a local social worker, who will interview and assess them. The assessment is done through a series of interview sessions and home visits.
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, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare 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 Namibia’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.
- Role of Adoption Authority: The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare is the government agency directly involved with the adoption of Namibian children and is the correspondent agency for International Social Services. The Ministry registers all adoptions, handles intercountry adoption inquiries, and ensures that both the prospective parents and the prospective adoptive child meet all adoption requirements prior to the court granting legal custody of the prospective adoptive child to the prospective adoptive parents for the purpose of adoption (either in Namibia or abroad).
- Role of the Court: The family court issues the final Order of Adoption recognizing the adoptive parent(s) as the parents of the child.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption agencies in Namibia. However, individual private and state social workers have been given licenses by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to provide adoption services. Private social workers charge a fee for these services; state social workers do not.
- Adoption Application: Initial applications and inquiries should be made with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
- Time Frame: The time required to complete the adoption process will vary greatly depending on the complexity and circumstances of the case. Once the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare identifies and approves a child for adoption, the Children’s Court (also known as Family Court) will issue an Order of Adoption and send it to the Ministry to be recorded in the Register of Adoptions. After the Order of Adoption is registered with the Ministry, it is then issued to the adoptive parents, usually within two to four months.
- Adoption Fees: The Government of Namibia has not published set fees for the processing of intercountry adoptions. As noted, the processing of intercountry adoptions is extremely rare in Namibia, and is done on a case-by-case basis.
- Documents Required: During the assessment process, the social worker reviews:
- 1. Identity documents;
- 2. Marriage certificate (if married);
- 3. Police clearance;
- 4. Medical certificate;
- 5. Psychological assessment report;
- 6. Written testimonials from friends and/or acquaintances, and;
- 7. Pay slips. 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 (or gain legal custody) in Namibia, 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 (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), 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. Note: Please see special note on passports below before proceeding.
- 1. Birth Certificate
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 will be obtained or amended by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration:
Cohen Building (corner of Casino and Independence Avenues) Windhoek, Namibia Tel: 264+61+292-2111 Fax: 264+61+292-2185
- 2. Namibian Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Namibia.
Passports may be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration:
Cohen Building (corner of Casino and Independence Avenues) Windhoek Tel: 264+61+292-2111 Fax: 264+61+292-2185
Special Note on Passports: In some cases, once a child has been legally adopted in Namibia by non-Namibian parents, and has been issued a new birth certificate (as required by law) to recognize that legal change, the child may have difficulty getting a Namibian passport. (The child will not yet be eligible for a U.S. passport.)
It is highly recommended in any intercountry adoption to coordinate closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration and seek issuance of a Namibian passport for your prospective adoptive child before completing the adoption proceedings and obtaining your child’s new or amended birth certificate.
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
The U.S. Embassy in Namibia does not conduct immigrant visa interviews or make decisions in immigrant visa cases. All immigrant visa applications for citizens of Namibia, including adopted children, are adjudicated by the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa. The U.S. Embassy in Namibia will accept and forward applications submitted by prospective adoptive parent(s).
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and 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 from the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg. 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.
NOTE: You must have an approved Form I-600 petition before an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa may be issued. You may file your Form I-600 petition with USCIS domestically, or in person at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia, provided you have a valid, approved Form I-600A on record. Form I-600 petitions filed at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia will be forwarded to the USCIS office located at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa, for processing. If approved, the petition will be referred to the Consular Section in Johannesburg for immigrant visa processing. Please see Applying for a Visa at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, for addition information about the immigrant visa process.
American citizens are required to make online appointments for all services with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Namibia, through the following website: windhoek.usembassy.gov. The Consular Section is open for American Citizen Services, Mondays through Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
The U.S. Embassy in Namibia accepts payment in U.S. dollars, Namibian dollars, and South African Rand. Payments to the U.S. Embassy in Namibia are only accepted at the Embassy’s Consular Section and should not be paid to a third party. Upon submission, the Consular Section will forward your Form I-600 application with proof of payment to U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg.
Applying for a Visa 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.
After the Consular Section receives the family’s approved Form I-600 petition, the Consular Section will contact the family concerning their next steps. Immigrant visa applicants must complete a number of forms before the immigrant visa interview. Once the family is has all the required documentation and is ready for the interview, they must call the Consular Section to schedule an appointment for the immigrant visa interview. A consular officer conducts the immigration interview. A consular officer must see the adopted child before the immigrant visa may be issued. All adoption cases must include proof of a full and final adoption or proof of legal custody of the child for purposes of emigration and adoption in the United State.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 until they receive the visa.
To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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