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Adoption Notice: Adoptions from Ghana after January 1, 2017

On January 1, 2017 the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) will enter into force for Ghana.  However, please be advised that the Department of State has determined that it will not be able to issue Hague Adoption Certificates for adoptions from Ghana that are initiated on or after January 1, 2017 under the Convention because Ghana’s implementing legislation, the Children’s Bill of 2016, has not yet been signed into law, and a Central Authority has not been established.  As a result, consular officers will be unable to issue Hague Adoption Certificates.  Without this certification, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cannot approve Form I-800 Petitions to Classify Convention Adoptees as an Immediate Relative.    

Once the Children’s Bill is signed into law, and the Central Authority is established, the United States will be able to partner with Ghana as a Convention country.  However, until that time, families interested in adopting from Ghana should not file the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative for a child from GhanaIf a Form I-800 petition is filed on behalf of a child from Ghana, USCIS will have to reject the petition.  Once the Children’s Bill is signed into law, and the Central Authority is established, families will be able to file Form I-800 petitions.  The Department of State will notify USCIS and the public immediately once the bill is signed into law, and the Department is able to confirm that it will be able to issue Hague Adoption Certificates for  adoptions from Ghana.

In the meantime, we are confirming with Ghanaian officials whether Ghana will permit cases in which a U.S. citizen filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, or a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an immediate relative, prior to January 1 to continue under the non-Hague adoption process.  Once we are able to confirm this information, we will post an updated notice on adoption.state.gov.  As of January 1, 2017, families initiating an adoption in Ghana should not file, and USCIS will not accept, a Form I-600A or Form I-600 for a child from Ghana.  Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you. 

We are in the process of updating our Country Information Sheet for Ghana.  Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information as it becomes available.  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.