Mozambique and the Hague Convention
Mozambique is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(the 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).
Prospective adoptive parents must be legal residents of Mozambique and must be present in the country for the duration of the adoption process. This includes a six month integration period after a prospective adoptive child is placed in the home, and before the adoption can be finalized by the court. (Visit the Embassy of Mozambique website for current visa information.) Additionally, married prospective adoptive parents must be married for three years prior to the initiation of the adoption process. The marriage can be civil, religious, or traditional, as long as it is registered. Civil marriages are registered with the civil registrar. Religious marriages are registered with the office of the religious denomination chosen by the given couple. This is done by having the community leader, married couple, and their witnesses sign a declaration and taking it to the relevant district office. Traditional marriages require the presence of the community leader and at least two witnesses. This is done by presenting witnesses to the appropriate district official. In cases in which the marriage took place at least three years prior to the initiation of the adoption, but was not registered, the prospective adoptive parents may invoke common law.
The Government of Mozambique requires post-adoption monitoring until the child reaches 21 years of age. This requirement may be waived at the judge’s discretion. However, the courts may not grant an adoption if the child will be immediately taken out of Mozambique.
Changes to Mozambique’s intercountry adoption laws are under consideration by Unidade Technica da Reforma Legal (UTREL), which drafts and proposes laws for the Government of Mozambique. To date, no substantial amendments have been made to the existing laws. Mozambican law does not make a distinction between intercountry and domestic adoption. This may mean that foreigners will be expected to meet the same pre- and post-adoption monitoring requirements as Mozambican families, which may become an obstacle if the court decides the child cannot be monitored outside of Mozambique.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Mozambique, 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. 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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