Adopting from South Africa

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The official flag.



Mapungubwe Hill


Drakensberg, the eastern and highest portion of the Great Escarpment which surrounds the east, south and western borders of the central plateau of Southern Africa.

Slums of Soweto.

A woman from the Ndebele tribe

View of Cape Town's "city bowl" from Table Mountain.

Cape Town

Sangomas greeting each other

Notice: As of July 14, 2014, all individuals and agencies facilitating international adoptions must be in compliance with the Intercountry Universal Accreditation Act.

The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

About South Africa

Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. To learn more please read About South Africa.

South Africa Adoption Alert

There have been multiple adoption alerts for South Africa over the years. To stay up to date please read the South Africa Adoption Alert page.

Hague Convention Information

South Africa is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all intercountry adoptions between South Africa and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention. To learn more please read about South Africa and the Hague Convention.

Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and South Africa is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from South Africa, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To learn more please read about Who Can Adopt from South Africa.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because South Africa is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from South Africa must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that South Africa attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to South Africa’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. To learn more please read about Who Can Be Adopted from South Africa.

How to Adopt

Adoption Authority

South Africa's Adoption Authority

Department of Social Development

The Process

Because South Africa is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from South Africa must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. South Africa implemented the Children's Act on April 1, 2010, which formalizes laws and procedures regarding intercountry adoption under the Hague Convention.

NOTE: If you completed a full and final adoption or filed your I-600a or I-600 with USCIS before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more .

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in South Africa
  6. Bring your Child Home

To learn more about this process please read How to Adopt from South Africa.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave South Africa. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Getting or renewing a passport is easy. To learn more please read about Traveling Abroad in South Africa.

After Adoption

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Child Welfare Information Gateway

North American Council on Adoptable Children

Adoption Services Support Group for Adopting Persons

Contact Information

U.S. Consulate in South Africa

U.S. Consulate General 1 Sandton Drive Sandhurst 2196 Johannesburg Tel: 27-11-290-3000 Fax: 27-11-884-0396

The Consulate in Johannesburg handles all consular matters, including immigrant visas, for Pretoria. The United States also has Consulates General in Cape Town and Durban; however these offices do not process immigrant visas.

South Africa’s Adoption Authority

Department of Social Development Registrar of Adoptions Private Bag X901 Pretoria 0001, South Africa Tel: 27-12-312-7592 Fax: 27-12-312-7837

Commissioner of Child Welfare

Private Bag X61 Pretoria 0001, South Africa Tel: 27-12-328-4026 Fax: 27-12-321-8124

Embassy of South Africa

Embassy of the Republic of South Africa 3051 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington , DC 20008 Tel: 202-232-4400

South Africa also has Consulates in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Office of Children’s Issues

U.S. Department of State CA/OCS/CI SA-17, 9th Floor Washington, DC 20522-1709 Tel: 1-888-407-4747 E-mail:


Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information