The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Hague Convention
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(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).
U.S. prospective adoptive parents are reminded of several key items to keep in mind when considering adopting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo: In light of a dramatic increase in workload, the unreliability of documents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the difficulty of traveling within the country, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa anticipates that case reviews will take approximately three to six months to complete after the Embassy receives a Form I-600 petition. Case reviews may take longer if children come from an area experiencing civil unrest, where the security situation impacts the ability of Embassy staff to travel, or if the investigation uncovers facts that require additional inquiries. Congolese procedures involve finalizing adoptions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa does not accept Attestation de Naissance documents for immigration purposes. Instead, families must provide a child’s original birth certificate (Acte de Naissance), an official copy (Copie Integrale d’Acte de Naissance), or a replacement birth document (Extrait d'Acte de Naissance). The Congolese Office of Immigration must grant a special authorization permit for adopted children to depart the country. Adoptive parents must apply in person for the exit permit. Please note there is no fee for the service, and it takes a minimum of seven days to process the request.
The Tribunal pour Enfants in each region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo holds exclusive jurisdiction over intercountry adoptions. As reported in the Department’s July 16, 2013 Adoption Notice, Congolese immigration authorities will only issue exit permits to children adopted in Tribunal de Paix if the adoption was completed prior to June 12, 2013. All adoptions completed on or after June 12, 2013, must be completed in the local Tribunal pour Enfants. Children from provinces that do not yet have this court must be adopted either in the Tribunal pour Enfants in Kinshasa or a neighboring city. Please see the Ministry of Interior and Security, General Direction of Migration’s website (in French) for more details.
Tribunaux pour Enfants exist in Kinshasa, Matadi (Bas-Congo), Kikwit (Bandundu), Goma (Nord-Kivu), and Lubumbashi (Katanga).
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 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. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.