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MozambiqueOfficial Name: Mozambique Last Updated: September 12, 2016
Alerts & Notices
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Hague Adoption Convention Country? No
Hague Convention Information
Mozambique is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(the 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).
Prospective adoptive parents must be legal residents of Mozambique and must be present in the country for the duration of the adoption process. This includes a six month integration period after a prospective adoptive child is placed in the home, and before the adoption can be finalized by the court. (Visit the Embassy of Mozambique website for current visa information.) Additionally, married prospective adoptive parents must be married for three years prior to the initiation of the adoption process. The marriage can be civil, religious, or traditional, as long as it is registered. Civil marriages are registered with the civil registrar. Religious marriages are registered with the office of the religious denomination chosen by the given couple. This is done by having the community leader, married couple, and their witnesses sign a declaration and taking it to the relevant district office. Traditional marriages require the presence of the community leader and at least two witnesses. This is done by presenting witnesses to the appropriate district official. In cases in which the marriage took place at least three years prior to the initiation of the adoption, but was not registered, the prospective adoptive parents may invoke common law.
The Government of Mozambique requires post-adoption monitoring until the child reaches 21 years of age. This requirement may be waived at the judge’s discretion. However, the courts may not grant an adoption if the child will be immediately taken out of Mozambique.
Changes to Mozambique’s intercountry adoption laws are under consideration by Unidade Technica da Reforma Legal (UTREL), which drafts and proposes laws for the Government of Mozambique. To date, no substantial amendments have been made to the existing laws. Mozambican law does not make a distinction between intercountry and domestic adoption. This may mean that foreigners will be expected to meet the same pre- and post-adoption monitoring requirements as Mozambican families, which may become an obstacle if the court decides the child cannot be monitored outside of Mozambique.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Mozambique, 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 orphanunder U.S. law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
Who Can Adopt
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Mozambique:
- Residency: Prospective adoptive parents must be legal residents of Mozambique and must be physically present in Mozambique for the duration of the adoption process, including a six-month integration period after a prospective adoptive child is placed in the home and before the adoption can be finalized by the court.
- Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be over 25 years of age and less than 50 on the date the child is entrusted to them, unless the child is the biological son or daughter of one of the prospective adoptive parents.
- Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents must be married for three years prior to the initiation of the adoption process. Single people are not eligible to adopt. The Government of Mozambique does not legally permit same-sex couples to adopt.
- Income: None.
- Other: Prospective adoptive parents must undergo a home study evaluation by Mozambican social and health workers from the country’s child welfare office and must be certified approved for adoption.
Who Can Be Adopted
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Mozambique has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
- Relinquishment: In order to be eligible for adoption, a child must be relinquished by both parents. However, there is an exception if the prospective adoptive parent is the spouse of a biological parent or a partner with whom the biological parent has been living for at least three years. In these situations, only the biological parent who is not living with the minor child and the prospective adoptive parent must relinquish parental rights.
- Abandonment: A child of unknown parents.
- Age of Adoptive Child: The prospective adoptive child must be a minor under 14 years of age, or 18 years of age if s/he has been fostered by the prospective adoptive parents since 12 years of age.
- Sibling Adoptions: None
- Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None
- Waiting Period or Foster Care: The adoption is generally preceded by a minimum adaptation period of six months, in which the prospective adopted child is integrated into the family via foster care before the legal adoption is finalized in the court. This process must take place in Mozambique.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
How To Adopt
Mozambique’s Adoption Authority
Social Services National Directorate (Direcção Nacional da Acçao Social)
The process for adopting a child from Mozambique generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an adoption service provider
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child
- Adopt the child in Mozambique
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bring your child home
Choose an adoption service provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Mozambique is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
U.S. adoption service providers do not usually play a role in the adoption process. The services of a private attorney in Mozambique are not normally required for the adoption process. However, the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique maintains a list of attorneys that is available on request.
Apply to be found eligible to adopt
In order to adopt a child from Mozambique, prospective adoptive parents will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Mozambique and U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the municipal juvenile court (Tribunal de Menores) closest to the residence of the prospective adoptive parents.
Prospective adoptions parents must provide an application addressed to the presiding judge of the court, stating:
- Advantages of adoption for the adoptee;
- Age of adoptee;
- Age of the adoptive parents, and
- Marital status of the adoptive parents.
The prospective adoptive parents’ signature on the statement must be witnessed by three people.
If the judge makes a positive decision on the adoption, the case is generally transferred to the Social Services National Directorate to conduct a home study.
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
Be matched with a child
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, Mozambique’s Social Services National Directorate will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Mozambique’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.
Adopt the child in Mozambique
The process for finalizing the adoption in Mozambique generally includes the following:
- Role of Adoption Authority: Municipal authorities oversee adoptions within their respective geographic areas of jurisdiction. U.S. citizens wishing to adopt in Maputo should contact Ana Maria Macuacua, the head of Maputo City’s Social Service National Directorate at (258) 21 302613. Numbers for offices in other provinces can be obtained by contacting the national directorate at +258 21 302613.
- Role of the Court: The Juvenile Court (Tribunal de Menores) grants official orders of adoption or guardianship.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: None.
Adoption Application: The first step in
the adoption process is submission of a formal adoption
request to the Juvenile Court in the appropriate governing
municipality. Together with the initial application,
prospective parents should submit a certified copy of
their marriage certificate (translated into Portuguese)
and photocopies of their passports and Mozambican
residency permits (known as a “DIRE”). A list of other
supporting documents and required forms may be obtained
from the court. If the court grants the order of
adoption, the Social Services Directorate (SSD) will then
begin a lengthy investigation of the prospective adoptive
parents’ lifestyle, economic means, mental and physical
health, and other details associated with a home study
evaluation. During this time, the process of identifying a
child for adoption is also initiated by the SSD.
As a final step, the SSD will pass the parents’ petition for adoption to the Juvenile Court (Tribunal de Menores), to issue a certificate of approval officially endorsing the adoption. The adoptive parents may then begin the process of registration, name change, and application for new identity and nationality documents for their child.
- Time Frame: The adoption process in Mozambique takes approximately six to nine months. U.S. immigrant visa petitions filed at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique on behalf of adopted minors are forwarded to the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg for adjudication.
- Adoption Fees: There is a court fee of 1,450 Meticais (approximately USD $50), in addition to minor fees for forms and documents. Adoptive parents will also be responsible for acquiring official translations of both English- and Portuguese-language documents. The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique maintains a list of Portuguese/en translators for the public use.
Documents Required: Prospective adoptive
parents should be prepared to submit certified copies of
their marriage certificate, Mozambican residency cards,
passports (all with official translations, if required),
along with bank statements and health certificates to the
SSD who then submits these documents to the Juvenile court.
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. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
After you finalize the adoption in Mozambique, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
Bring your child home
Once your adoption is complete, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
If you have finalized the adoption in Mozambique, you will first need to apply for a new Mozambican birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a Mozambican passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. To obtain a new birth certificate, please contact Conservatória does Registo Civil, located at Av. Karl Max (Tel: (258) 21 33798).
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Mozambique. Please contact the Direção Nacional de Migração, located at Av. Ho Chi Min 316, Maputo (Tel: (258) 21430782/21 303765), in order to obtain the passport.
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. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique does not conduct immigrant visa interviews or make decisions in immigrant visa cases. All immigrant visa applications for citizens of Mozambique, including adopted children, are adjudicated by the Consular Section at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa.
APPLYING FOR A VISA AT THE U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: All U.S. immigrant visas for citizens of Mozambique are processed by the Consular Section at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before traveling, please review the Consular Information Sheet for South Africa and be sure to comply with the Government of South Africa’s entry requirements, which stipulate that travelers to South Africa must have at least two blank pages in their foreign passport upon entry.
Once the Consular Section is in receipt of a family’s approved Form I-600 petition, the Consular Section will contact the family concerning their next steps. Immigrant visa applicants must complete a series of forms—details of which will be provided to the prospective adoptive parents by the U.S, Consulate General in Johannesburg—before the immigrant visa interview may take place. Once the family is documentarily ready for the immigrant visa interview, they must call the Consular Section to schedule an appointment. A consular officer conducts the interview and, if the visa application is approved, issues the visa. A consular officer must see the adopted child before the immigrant visa may be issued. All adoption cases must include full judicial documentation that constitutes irrevocable release of the child for immigration and adoption, as well as permission to depart the country by the court that granted the adoption.
Consulate General of the United States of America
P.O. Box 787197, Sandton, 2146
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 Sandton Drive, Sandhurst (opposite Sandton City Mall)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: (27 11) 290-3000
Fax: (27 11) (011) 884-0396
Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 working hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should not make final travel arrangements before they receive the visa.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. 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 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 Mozambique
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Mozambique and South Africa, 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 of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual 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. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Mozambique or South Africa, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
The Government of Mozambique requires post-adoption monitoring until the child reaches 21 years of age. This requirement may be waived by the Juvenile court. However, the courts may not grant an adoption if the child will be immediately taken out of Mozambique.
We strongly urge you to comply with Mozambique’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with American parents.
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.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Mozambique
Avenida Kenneth Kaunda 193
Tel: (258) 21 49 2797
Fax: (258) 21 49 0448
Mozambique’s Adoption Authority
Adoption information may be requested from this office by postal mail, international courier or phone using the following contact information
Direcção Nacional de Acção Social
Departamento da Crianca (Social Services National Directorate, Children’s Department)
Av. Ahmed Sékou Touré 908,
Tel: +258 21 350300/301 064
Ms. Francisca Sales is the Director of the Social Services National Directorate at the federal level.
Embassy of Mozambique
Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique
1525 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 293-7146
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)