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Alert: Clarification on the Orphan Determination Process and Changes to the Ugandan Government’s Process for Document Verifications

As part of the processing of all Form I-600 petitions, USCIS (or, in some cases, the Department of State) will confirm that the child is an orphan, as defined in U.S. immigration law, and amongst other things, will determine whether there are any facts showing that the child does not qualify for an immigration benefit as an adopted child. As part of this orphan determination process, Embassy Kampala sometimes requests DNA sampling from the child's living family members as well as verification of vital records from the Ugandan government.    

The Ugandan government has informed Embassy Kampala that pursuant to the Registration of Persons Act of 2015 and effective January 1, 2016, the National Identity Registration Authority (NIRA) has taken over the function of birth and death registrations from Uganda Registration Services Bureau.  Recently, NIRA provided Embassy Kampala guidance on changes to the procedures for requesting verification of Ugandan birth and death certificates, including the establishment of fees for service.  

NIRA has established the following fees for services:


Fees Per Certificate (USD)

Inspection of the birth register


Inspection of the death register


These new fees are considered part of the adoption process to be paid by prospective adoptive families, if required. Embassy Kampala will notify prospective adoptive families of the need to request verification of documents and at that time will provide NIRA’s instructions for payment submission. Do not submit payments for document verification services unless Embassy Kampala informs you of the need to do so.  Each case is adjudicated on its own merits and therefore, not all cases will be required to go through the document verification process. These steps ensure the integrity of the adoption process, and Embassy Kampala continues to prioritize adoption cases to minimize any delays.