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  • Hague Convention Information

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention or “orphan” cases. The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider acts as a primary provider in every case, and that adoption service providers providing adoption services on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the USCIS website on the impact on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications under the UAA, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

    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:

    • The Congolese Office of Immigration must grant a special authorization permit for adopted children to depart the country. Adoptive parents are cautioned that, per the Department’s September 27, 2013 Adoption Alert, Congolese immigration authorities suspended issuance of exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents. 
    • 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 require that adoptions are completed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although an adoption is finalized by the court, adoptive parents may not take their children out of the country until the Ministry of Gender and Family’s interministerial adoption committee issues the bordereaux letter approving/certifying the adoption.
    • 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).
    • Prospective adoptive parents may be required to attend all Tribunal pour Enfants hearings related to their adoption in accordance with the requirements of the Congolese Family Code. The Department of State strongly encourages prospective adoptive families to comply with all elements of Congolese adoption law.
    • The application of Congolese law may not be consistent from court to court and various Ministries may have different perspectives concerning the legal basis for exceptions to legal requirements. Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to consult an attorney about any questions regarding the application of Congolese law and cautioned that decisions by one Congolese government entity may not be supported or shared by others in the adoption process.

     

     

  • 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 certain suitability and eligibility requirements. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

    Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

  • Who Can Adopt

    In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo must meet the following requirements:

    • Residency: None.
    • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 15 years older than the intended adoptee and at least 18 years old to adopt a Congolese child. The Tribunal pour Enfants may waive the age requirement if a child is being adopted by his/her parent’s spouse. There is no age limit for adopting parents.
    • Marriage: Under Congolese law, adopting parents may be married, single, widowed, or divorced. Single, unmarried prospective adoptive parents may not adopt a child of the opposite sex unless the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo grants an exemption. However, while Congolese courts may grant adoptions to single, unmarried prospective adoptive parents, Congolese immigration authorities will no longer issue exit permits for children adopted by single, unmarried parents. Please see the September 27, 2013 Adoption Alert for more information.

      Couples must be married for at least five years before seeking to adopt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese Family Code, Child Protection Act of 2009, and Adoption Guide do not authorize waivers for couples married fewer than five years.

      Congolese law prohibits gays, lesbians, and same-sex couples from adopting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese Family Code, Child Protection Act of 2009, and Adoption Guide do not authorize waivers for gays, lesbians, or same-sex couples seeking to adopt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    • Income: Proof of employment and/or sufficient funds may be required.
    • Other: Any person who has a prior history of child abuse is not permitted to adopt a Congolese child. No adoptive parent may marry their adopted child. There are no specified medical ineligibilities for prospective adoptive parents.

      The Family Code states that no couple may adopt more than three children unless a subsequent prospective adoptee is the biological child of one of the parents. The Congolese Family Code, Child Protection Act of 2009, and Adoption Guide do not authorize waivers for families seeking to adopt more than three children, even if the children are part of a family group.

      Additionally, prospective adoptive parents may not have more than two living children in the home when completing an adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo can waive this requirement for families with more than two living children already in the home.

     

  • Who Can Be Adopted

    In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements of the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

    • Relinquishment: Birth parents must give written consent (autorisation parentale) documenting their relinquishment of parental rights to the local commune’s Social Services office, which is supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs. This Social Services office is responsible for documenting the written consent and providing that documentation to the Tribunal pour Enfants when a family applies to the court to adopt a Congolese child.

      The Social Services office will also prepare documentation (Attestation d’Indigence) that the relinquishing birth parent does not have the means to care for the child.

      The local Guardianship Council may decree that specific children are wards of the state following relinquishment to Social Services (PV Tutelage Report). The same Guardianship Council is then responsible for consenting, by decree, that a ward of the state is eligible for adoption. These decrees must be presented to the Tribunal pour Enfants as part of the child’s information following a match.

      Once the Guardianship Council declares that the children are wards of the state, Social Services must place them in orphanages or foster care. Social Services must present the placement to the Tribunal pour Enfants clerk for approval/confirmation within five days. The clerk’s approval grants the orphanage director or foster care supervisor the legal authority to match the child with prospective adoptive parents.
    • Abandonment: Local Social Services must provide a PV Tutelage Report (Proces-Verbal de Constat d'Abandon d'un Enfant) in all cases of abandonment, including an absence of parents due to loss, separation, death, desertion, or disappearance of the biological parents.

      The local Guardianship Council may decree that specific children are wards of the state following abandonment (PV Tutelage Report). The same Guardianship Council is then responsible for consenting, by decree, that a ward of the state is eligible for adoption. These decrees must be presented to the Tribunal pour Enfants as part of the child’s information following a match.

      Once the Guardianship Council declares that the children are wards of the state, Social Services must place them in orphanages or foster care. Social Services must present the placement to the Tribunal pour Enfants clerk for approval/confirmation within five days. The clerk’s approval grants the orphanage director or foster care supervisor the legal authority to match the child with prospective adoptive parents.
    • Age of Adoptive Child: Congolese law does not limit prospective adoptees’ age. Adoptees fifteen years and older must consent to the adoption. Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).
    • Sibling Adoptions: None.
    • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None.
    • Waiting Period or Foster Care: None.

    Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

  • How To Adopt

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Adoption Authorities

    Ministry of Gender and Family
    Ministry of Justice
    Ministry of Social Affairs, Division of Urban Affairs
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Ministry of Interior and Security, General Direction of Migration

    The Process

    The process for adopting a child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo generally includes the following steps: 

    1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
    2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
    3. Apply to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
    4. Adopt the Child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan  (Form I-600)
    6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

    1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider

    Before taking steps to adopt a child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. As of July 14, 2014, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA, unless an exception applies. The primary provider is responsible for:

    • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided;
    • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
    • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

    For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.

    There are no adoption agencies authorized to provide services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, many U.S.-based adoption agencies work with specific local representatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Orphanages must be licensed or accredited by the Congolese government. It is customary and accepted practice to engage Congolese lawyers to carry out adoption proceedings. Attorneys licensed to practice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are automatically accredited to provide adoption services by virtue of their profession. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa maintains a list of attorneys on its website who have expressed a willingness to work with U.S. citizens. This list does not imply an endorsement of specific attorneys by the Embassy or any guarantee of the quality of the services they may provide.

    2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

    In order to adopt a child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and U.S. immigration law.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt before you identify a child to adopt. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. Regardless of which approach you take, the home study must meet the same requirements. As of July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, the home study must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311 and 22 CFR Part 96.47

    3. Apply to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

    If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. law, you must also submit an adoption application to the central adoption authority or other authorized entity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to be found eligible to adopt by the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child, and must conform to the recommendations in the home study for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

    Prospective adoptive parents should know that, in the case of children who are Wards of the State, the “Guardianship Council” of the local government must first release the child for adoption. 

    4. Adopt the Child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    The process for finalizing the adoption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo generally includes the following:

    • Role of Adoption Authority: Adoption oversight responsibilities are shared between five ministries in the Congolese government that participate in enforcing adoption law and policies: 

      Ministry of Gender and Family: The Ministry of Gender and Family is the newest adoption authority for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Ministry is charged with the protection of minors and coordinates the creation of adoption policies. The Ministry also chairs committees that review prospective adoptive parents’ applications to adopt Congolese children. The Ministry of Gender and Family must also approve each adoption. Adoptive parents or their local representative may submit their case to the Ministry any time after the adoption decree (Acte d’Adoption) is issued by the Tribunal pour Enfants, although the Ministry generally encourages applicants to submit their dossier as soon as possible. Congolese immigration authorities will not issue an exit permit to allow the adopted child to depart the country unless the Ministry has approved the adoption.

      Ministry of Justice:
      The Ministry of Justice has jurisdiction over adoption court procedures. Individual cases are handled by the Tribunal pour Enfants in the region where a prospective adoptive child resides, or in the Tribunal pour Enfants in a neighboring jurisdiction or Kinshasa if a Tribunal pour Enfants does not exist in the region where the child resides. Congolese attorneys assisting with adoption cases should have current contacts at the appropriate courts.

      Ministry of Social Affairs, Division of Urban Affairs:
      The Ministry of Social Affairs is charged with the role of protection of “vulnerable children,” and oversees communes and social workers throughout the country. The local “commune,” or township, and its Guardianship Council create a child’s abandonment or relinquishment document, when appropriate, designate a child as a Ward of the State, and temporarily assign the child to foster care or an orphanage. The temporary guardianship is valid for only five days unless confirmed by the local Tribunal pour Enfants clerk. The Ministry also oversees the local L’Etat Civil, which maintains each commune’s birth and adoption records.

      Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for certifying whether an adopted child is eligible for a Congolese passport, and for the passport’s issuance.

      Ministry of Interior and Security, General Direction of Migration: The Direction Generale d’Immigration (DGM) controls the departure of children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and seeks to prevent child trafficking. The DGM issues exit permits to children who qualify under local procedures to depart the country with their adoptive parents. Congolese immigration authorities will not issue the exit permit to allow the adopted child to depart the country without the Ministry of Gender and Family’s approval of the adoption. The DGM requires that both adoptive parents, if a child is adopted by a married couple, or the adoptive parent, if a child is adopted by a single individual, apply in person for the exit permit.
    • Role of the Court: The Tribunal pour Enfants in each region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo holds exclusive jurisdiction over intercountry adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that decrees issued by Tribunal de Paix will only be accepted if the area where the child resides does not yet have a Tribunal pour Enfants, and that the DGM will only issue exit permits to children adopted in Tribunal de Paix if the adoption was completed prior to June 12, 2013.

      The Tribunal pour Enfants plays two roles in the adoption process. First, the Tribunal’s clerk must confirm a Guardianship Council’s temporary guardianship of a Ward of the State within five days of the child’s abandonment or relinquishment in order for a child to remain in the assigned orphanage or foster care home. Second, the Tribunal oversees the adoption process. The Tribunal pour Enfants requires consent to the adoption before granting a judgment. Biological parents, or appointed guardians, must give their consent, if applicable. If no family members or guardians are identified, the court will determine consent. Any child over the age of 15 must give his or her own consent.

      After the child’s family or guardian(s) consents to adoption, the prospective adoptive parents request a hearing in open court at the Tribunal pour Enfants in the area where the child resides. Prospective adoptive parents or their legal representative must submit copies of their birth certificates and the birth certificate of the prospective adoptee. The court will require proof that any and all interested family members of the child were informed of the adoption and received notice of the court hearing. After the initial hearing, the court conducts an investigation to determine that all conditions for placement or final adoption have been met and that all documents are legitimate.

      Once the investigation is completed and all requirements have been satisfied, the court will issue a Jugement d’Adoption, which authorizes the L’Etat Civil to issue an adoption decree (Acte d’Adoption) and updated birth certificate (Acte de Naissance). The adoption will be retroactively recorded under the date of the first court appearance. The adopted child's name on the judgment will incorporate his/her original name along with the newly adopted family name, but adoptive parents must ensure that the names on the local and U.S. documents match. At the time of adoption, the adoptive parent (in the case of minors) or the adoptee (if 18 years or older) may decide whether the child will retain his or her Congolese citizenship.

      The adoptive parents must also register the judgment at the local city hall or magistrate within one month or the adoption will be null and void. This is done either where the adoptive parents live (if they live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) or where the child resides (if the adoptive parents do not live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). At the end of the month, the magistrate will issue a “Certificate of Non-Appeal,” at which time the adoption is officially finalized under Congolese law.
    • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption agencies authorized to provide services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; however, many U.S. based adoption agencies work with specific local representatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Orphanages must be licensed or accredited by the Congolese government. It is customary and accepted practice to engage Congolese lawyers to carry out adoption proceedings. Attorneys licensed to practice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are automatically accredited to provide adoption services by virtue of their profession. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa maintains a list of attorneys on its website who have expressed a willingness to work with U.S. citizens. This list does not imply an endorsement of specific attorneys by the Embassy or any guarantee of the quality of the services they may provide.

      Starting July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case. Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
      • Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
      • Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
      • Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
      • Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
      • Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
      • When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.
    • Adoption Application: Prospective adoptive parents apply for permission to adopt by sending a letter to the Tribunal pour Enfants in the region where the child resides. Postal delivery is generally not available, so a letter should be sent by messenger or delivered by hand by the prospective adoptive parents, their agency’s local representative, or their local attorney. There is no application form. The Tribunal pour Enfants Judge approves foreign prospective adoptive parents for adoption.

      Families also need to apply to the Ministry of Gender and Family for approval of an adoption after the adoption decree is issued. Because postal delivery is generally not available, the application should be sent by messenger or delivered by hand by the adoptive parents, their agency’s local representative, or their local attorney. There is no application form.
    • Time Frame: It can take from a minimum of three months to approximately one year to complete the adoption process from match proposal to filing the Certificate of Non-Appeal, although some cases can take considerably longer. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa estimates that it will take an additional three to six months to complete the case review and investigation once the Embassy receives the Form I-600 petition filed on behalf of a Congolese child. Please also see the Department’s September 27, 2013 Adoption Alert regarding the suspension of exit visas.
    • Adoption Fees:  Court fees for an adoption case generally range between $200 and $250, a birth certificate between $20 and $50, a passport $170, and lawyer fees between $5,000 and $6,000. Fees can be kept to a minimum if, prior to the first consultation, prospective adoptive parents or their local representatives secure required documents, such as birth, death, marriage, and relevant court records, on their own. In addition to these fees, prospective adoptive parents may be expected to pay for the care and feeding of their child after the adoption is finalized and before the U.S. immigrant visa is issued. Please note that there are no official fees or procedures to expedite cases established or authorized under Congolese law or practices. The UAA and IAA make it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing Central Authority functions.

      Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by themselves directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with your adoption service provider. Please also refer to information concerning the Hague Complaint Registry.  Improper payments may have the appearance of buying achild, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. Further, the UAA and IAA make it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing Central Authority functions.
    • Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parents must submit copies of their own birth certificates, the birth certificate of the prospective adoptive child, police certificates from the prospective adoptive parents' place of residence, and attestations of good conduct from their city hall.

      Note: Additional documents may be requested.
    • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. The U.S Department of State’s Authentications Office has information on the subject.

    5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

    After you finalize the adoption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, USCIS must determine whether the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies or if your case is UAA grandfathered. For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider in your case and the adjudicating officer may ask for the name and contact information of the primary provider if not provided in your Form I-600 petition. This information is required and, without it, your Form I-600 petition cannot be approved.

    If you have an approved, valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS or in person at the U.S.Embassy in Kinshasa.

    When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Kinshasa must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination), to verify the child’s orphan status. When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.

    For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition. Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the orphan adoption process. It can take months to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.

    In addition to the required supporting U.S. documents, adoptive parents filing the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, for children adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo should present the following Congolese documents with the petition:

    • Adoption judgment (Jugement d'Adoption): This is issued by the Tribunal pour Enfants in the child’s area.
    • Act of Adoption, also known as the adoption decree (Acte d'Adoption). This is issued by the L’Etat Civil in the area where the child was born.
    • Certificate of Non-Appeal: This is issued by the Magistrate in the child’s area or the Magistrate in the area where the Tribunal pour Enfants is located.
    • Birth Certificate (Acte de Naissance): This is a birth registration that must be issued by the L’Etat Civil within 90 days of the child’s birth and which remains valid for the child’s lifetime. Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa requires the actual birth certificate or an official copy (Copie Integrale d’Acte de Naissance) for immigrant visa processing.
    • Abandonment Report (Proces-Verbal de Constat D'Abandon d'un Enfant): The abandonment report is required if the child was abandoned by his/her biological parent(s). This report is completed by Social Services.
    • Parental Authorization (Autorisation Parentale): The Authorization Parental is required when a biological parent is directly relinquishing his/her child for adoption and emigration.
    • PV Tutelage Report: The PV Tutelage Report is the decree that documents that designates a child as a Ward of the State and eligible for adoption. This report is completed by the Guardianship Council where the child was born.
    • Ward of the State Document (Attestation de Placement du Pupille de l'Etat): This document is required if the local government terminated the parental rights of the biological parent(s).
    • Indigence Report (Attestation d'Indigence): The Indigence Report is often required when the adoptive child has known biological parent(s).
    • Death Certificate (Acte de Deces): The Death Certificate is required when the adoptive child’s biological parent(s) passed away. Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa only accepts the legal death certificate produced by the local commune, not a hospital death certificate. 

    6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

    Birth Certificate: If you have finalized the adoption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

    Congolese birth certificates may be obtained at the commune where the child was born. The price for Congolese birth certificates can range from $20 to $50 and takes up to five days to issue. The child may retain his or her own name; however, if the adoptive family wishes the child to acquire their name, the change can be ordered in the court’s Jugement d'Adoption. The Jugement can be provided to the commune as a basis for adoptive parents or their representative to seek an amended birth certificate.

    Adoptive parents are advised that the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa does not accept Attestation de Naissance documents for immigration purposes because the Attestation de Naissance is a report of birth used for administrative purposes. It has no juridical value and is only valid for three months. Adoptive parents, their local agency representatives, or their local attorneys should make sure they acquire one of the following accepted civil documents as proof of the adopted child’s birth:

    • The birth certificate (Acte de Naissance) or an official copy (Copie Integrale d’Acte de Naissance): Birth registrations that must be issued within 90 days of the birth and which remain valid for the child’s lifetime. 
    • If the Acte de Naissance was not issued within 90 days of the child’s birth, the applicant needs to get a Jugement Supplétif from the court having jurisdiction over the child’s place of residence. The Jugement will help the applicant obtain a valid birth certificate. 
    • The replacement birth document (Extrait d'Acte de Naissance), which is issued when an Acte de Naissance was lost or stolen.

      If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo Passport: Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Adoptive parents or their lawyers should go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to apply for a Congolese passport for the adoptive child. The application and passport cost approximately $170 dollars. Passport issuance takes approximately two weeks.

    U.S. Immigrant Visa: After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

    Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

    Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa before making final travel arrangements.

    Child Citizenship Act

    For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

    For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

    Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

     

  • Traveling Abroad

    Applying for Your U.S. Passport

    U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. 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. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

    Obtaining a Visa to Travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

    Staying Safe on Your Trip

    Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

    Staying in Touch on Your Trip

    When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

    Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

  • After Adoption

    Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo does not have any post-adoption reporting requirements.

    Post-Adoption Resources

    Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.

    Here are some places to start your support group search:

    Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

    COMPLAINTS

    If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Kinshasa, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-600 petition process.

    The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may have been out of substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry

  • Contact Information

    U.S. Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    310, Avenue des Aviateurs
    Kinshasa, Gombe
    République Démocratique du Congo
    Tel: +243 81 884-6623 (Mondays through Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m.) or +243-81-880-556-0151
    Email: KinshasaAdoptions@state.gov
    Website: Kinshasa.usembassy.gov

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Adoption Authorities
    Direction Générale de Migration
    65, Boulevard du 30 Juin
    Commune de la Gombe
    Ville de Kinshasa, R.D.Congo
    Tel: + +243 81 682 77 82 or +243 99 994 27 67
    Email: dgm@dgm.cd or dgmetatmajor@yahoo.fr
    Internet: www.dgm.cd

    Division of Urbaine des Affaires Sociale
    33 Avenue Busudjano
    Quartier Ancien Combattant
    Commune de Kasavubu
    Ville de Kinshasa, R.D. Congo
    Tel: +243 99 873 5200 or +243 89 991 5933 

    Tribunal Pour Enfants – Kinshasa
    Terrain Saint Therese
    Quartier 5 Commune de N’Djili
    Ville de Kinshasa, R.D. Congo
    Tel : +243 81 065 21 23

    Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    1726 M Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    Tel: (202) 234-7690

    Office of Children’s Issues
    U.S. Department of State
    CA/OCS/CI
    SA-17, 9th Floor
    Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
    Email: Adoption@state.gov
    Internet: adoption.state.gov

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    For questions about immigration procedures:
    USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
    Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
    Internet: uscis.gov

    For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or I-600 petition:
    USCIS National Benefits Center
    Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
    Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov