Kenya and the Hague Convention
Kenya is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Kenya.
- U.S. prospective adoptive parents are reminded that Kenya’s Convention system places certain restrictions on intercountry adoptions. The key items to remember when considering adopting from Kenya are:
- U.S. citizens who have lived in Kenya for fewer than three continuous years are prohibited from completing domestic adoptions in Kenya. Instead, they must complete Convention intercountry adoptions.
- Prospective adoptive parents must work with a U.S. accredited adoption service provider that is also licensed in Kenya and partnered with a licensed Kenyan adoption society. However, because Kenyan adoption societies are responsible for recommending the placement of specific children with prospective adoptive parents to the Adoption Committee, prospective adoptive parents may not work directly with Kenyan adoption societies.
- Prospective adoptive parents are prohibited from adopting children they have previously met, unless the child is a direct blood relative.
- Only children who are at least two years old and declared eligible for adoption by a licensed Kenyan adoption society are eligible for intercountry adoption. Note: Children available for fostering in Kenya are generally in temporary need of care, and are usually not declared eligible for adoption. The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi strongly advises U.S. citizens living in Kenya against fostering children if their underlying intention is to adopt them.
- Kenyan procedures involve finalizing an adoption in Kenya. Prospective adoptive parents therefore should expect to finalize the adoption in Kenya and for the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to only issue IH-3 visas to Kenyan children who are legally adopted in Kenya.
- Under Kenyan law, it is illegal to publish an advertisement indicating that a parent or guardian desires to place a child for adoption, that a person wishes to adopt a child, or that a person (who is not an adoption society) is willing to facilitate the adoption of a child.
NOTE: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read about Transition Cases.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Kenya, 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.
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