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Adoption Notice: Adoptions from Ghana after March 3, 2017

On January 1, 2017, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) entered into force for Ghana. After reviewing Ghana’s Amended Children’s Act of 2016, and confirming the establishment of Ghana’s Central Authority, the United States has determined that it will now be able to issue Hague Adoption Certificates for adoptions from Ghana. Consular officers will verify on a case-by-case basis that an intercountry adoption can proceed in accordance with the Convention, as well as with U.S. laws and U.S. obligations.  

The Department of State cautions U.S. prospective adoptive parents that there may be delays in the adoption process while Ghana works to implement its new adoption laws, regulations, and procedures. Prospective adoptive parents initiating an intercountry adoption on or after January 1, 2017, should work closely with their U.S. accredited adoption service provider (ASP) to ensure they complete all necessary steps under Ghana’s adoption process in accordance with Ghanaian and U.S. laws.   

If you started the intercountry adoption process before January 1, 2017, by filing a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, or a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with USCIS, or if you obtained a final adoption of a child habitually resident in Ghana before January 1, 2017, you may be able to continue using the non-Hague process (known as the Orphan process) to process your intercountry adoption in Ghana. We refer to such cases as “transition cases.”  If your case is not eligible to proceed as a transition case, you will need to use the Hague process. For more information, please visit the USCIS website.

Note about transition cases: Ghana’s Central Authority has indicated that the Births and Deaths Registry in Accra may not provide a new birth certificate with a child’s adopted name unless the case has a “clearance letter” from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, indicating the Ministry’s assent to a particular adoption. While this letter is currently not a requirement under U.S. adoption procedures for Form I-600 approval or issuance of an immigrant visa, adoptive families and ASPs may wish to consider contacting the Ministry prior to beginning the adoption process to obtain the most updated information about the specific steps in the intercountry adoption process in Ghana.

Please note that all intercountry adoptions between Ghana and the United States that do not meet the requirements to proceed as transition cases must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. laws relating to Hague adoptions. Do not finalize an adoption or obtain legal custody of a child in Ghana in a Convention case, before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter.” See the “Hague Adoption Process ” section for more information.

Questions about the transition process, Form I-600A, Form I-600 and/or Form I-800A and Form I-800 filings should be directed to USCIS.

We are in the process of updating our Country Information Sheet for Ghana.  Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information. If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at adoption@state.gov. You may also reach us at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States.