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Tanzania

Official Name: Tanzania Last Updated: September 10, 2015

Alerts & Notices

No Current Alerts or Notices

Hague Adoption Convention Country? No

Are Intercountry Adoptions between Tanzania and the United States possible? Both adoptions to the United States from Tanzania and from the United States to Tanzania are possible.

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  • Hague Convention Information

    Tanzania is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(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).

    Tanzanian adoption law is outlined in Part VI of Tanzania’s 2009 Law of the Child

    Prospective adoptive parents are cautioned that:

    • Adoptions are not allowed in Zanzibar.
    • Families must either be Tanzanian citizens or resident in Tanzania for three years before seeking to adopt.

    Review the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for information on international adoptions, or immigration through adoption, namely the “orphan” process.

    U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

    To bring an adopted child to the United States from Tanzania, 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. immigration 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 Tanzania:

    • Residency:  Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be Tanzanian residents for at least three consecutive years to adopt a child from Tanzania unless they are Tanzanian citizens.  The Tanzanian Department of Social Welfare considers a person to be resident if that person holds a Resident Permit (Class A, B or C), a Dependent's Pass, or an Exemption Permit, and lives in Tanzania.  This residency requirement may be waived in cases where the applicant is a Tanzanian citizen or the High Court of Tanzania determines an adoption by non-Tanzanians to be “in the best interests of the child” (Tanzania Law of the Child, Article 74, Section 2).
    • Age of Adopting Parents:  A prospective adoptive parent, or in the case of a joint application, one of the prospective adoptive parents, must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child to be adopted.  If the prospective adoptive parent is a relative of the child, he or she must be at least 25 years old, but there is no requirement regarding the minimum age difference between the prospective adoptive parent and the prospective adoptee.
    • Marriage:  Married heterosexual couples may adopt from Tanzania.  If one spouse applies for an adoption order, the other spouse must consent.  Single women who are Tanzanian citizens may adopt.  A single man with Tanzanian citizenship may only adopt a child if the child is his biological son (or biological daughter if the court is satisfied that special circumstances warrant the order). 
    • Income:  None specified
    • Other:  Laws permitting adoption in Tanzania apply only to the mainland.  Adoptions are not permitted in Zanzibar.
  • Who Can Be Adopted

    In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Tanzania has specific requirements for a child to meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

    • Relinquishment:  The District Social Welfare Officer will work with the Police Department to confirm whether a relinquished child has any living relatives.  In circumstances where family members are located, formal written consent from the family must be obtained before the child is released for adoption.
    • Abandonment:  In circumstances where no living relatives can be located, the Police Department will issue a Certificate of Abandonment.  The certificate is needed for the adoption to be completed.
    • Age of Adoptive Child:  None specified.  However, children age 14 or older must consent to the adoption, if capable of providing consent.
    • Sibling Adoptions:  None specified.
    • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  None specified.
    • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  Adoptions generally take a minimum of six months after the match, to include three months of foster care, followed by a three month period between custody and the adoption hearing in the High Court.

    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, 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 their child(ren)’s adoption.

  • How To Adopt

    Tanzania’s Adoption Authority
    Department of Social Welfare

    The Process

    The process for adopting a child from Tanzania generally includes the following steps:

    1. Choose an adoption service provider
    2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
    3. Be matched with a child
    4. Adopt the child in Tanzania
    5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
    6. Bring your child home

    1.  Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The recommended first step in adopting a child from Tanzania 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.

    You will also need to work with a local Tanzanian attorney.  Consult the Law Society of Tanganyika or the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam’s website for a list of attorneys.

    2.  Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    In order to adopt a child from Tanzania, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Tanzania and U.S. immigration law.  To apply to adopt from Tanzania, you will need to:

    • Contact the District Social Welfare Officer to obtain the application form to foster a child.  If the office is not in your district, then reach out to the Regional Social Welfare Office.
    • Complete the foster care application form.  Provide contact details of at least three references who have known you for at least three years and one family reference.  If you cannot provide local references, then provide references from the United States.  The District Social Welfare Officer will coordinate with International Social Services to interview references outside of Tanzania. 
    • Arrange with the District Social Welfare Office to begin the home study process.  This consists of at least four interviews by the District Social Welfare Officer, including at least one visit to the family's home. 
    • The District Social Welfare Office forwards the custody application, home study, and other paperwork to the Commissioner for Social Welfare for review and approval.

    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.

    3.  Be Matched with a Child

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority or other authorized entity in Tanzania 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 matching process generally involves the following steps:

    • When the foster application is approved, the prospective adoptive parents and the District Social Welfare Officer work together to identify a child who is eligible for adoption and suitable to be matched with the prospective adoptive parents.
    • The District Social Welfare Officer will contact the Police Department to determine whether the child has any living relatives.  If so, the relatives must consent to the adoption.  If there are no living relatives, the Police Department will produce a certificate of abandonment.
    • The District Social Welfare Officer places the child with the prospective adoptive parents to foster for at least three months.  The District Social Welfare Officer will visit the child and family on a regular basis during the fostering period.
    • After completing the three month foster care period, the prospective adoptive parents meet with the District Social Welfare Officer to discuss whether they wish to adopt the child.  The officer makes a recommendation and submits the file to the Commissioner of Social Welfare to review.

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

    4.  Adopt the Child in Tanzania

    The process for finalizing the adoption in Tanzania generally includes the following:

    • Role of Adoption Authority:  The District Social Welfare Officer, who is supervised by the Commissioner of Social Welfare, evaluates prospective adoptive parents to help determine suitability and eligibility to adopt under Tanzanian law, takes certain steps when a child is relinquished to government authorities, oversees the fostering and pre-adoption period as the child’s guardian ad litem, and makes recommendations regarding the suitability of specific child placements.
    • Role of the Court:  The Tanzanian High Court approves the legal adoption of a child.  If the child has been in your continuous care for the immediate six months prior and you meet the other requirements for the High Court to approve the adoption, the court will decide whether to issue an adoption order.
    • Role of Adoption Agencies:  U.S. adoption service providers can help with the adoption process.  However, you will still need to hire a local attorney to file the adoption case with the High Court.
    • Adoption Application:  You will need to apply to the District Social Welfare Officer to be found suitable and eligible to adopt, and your local attorney will apply to the High Court for the adoption, after the match is officially approved by the Office of Social Welfare.
    • Time Frame:  Upwards of six months, not including the three year residency requirement for non-Tanzanian citizens.
    • Adoption Fees:  Neither the courts nor the Office of Social Welfare charge for adoption services.  Attorney fees may range from U.S. $500 – $2,000.  Civil documents, such as birth certificates and passports, can range from U.S. $10 – $30 for each document.
    • Documents Required:  Prospective adoptive parents must provide proof of citizenship and identity, civil status, Tanzanian residency, financial means, home study, and an application for adoption.

    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.

    5.  Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

    After you finalize the adoption in Tanzania, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.  You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

    Note:  Special procedures may be available for U.S. prospective adoptive parents who reside abroad and intend to continue residing abroad after finalizing the adoption.  Please see our page on U.S. Citizens Adopting Abroad for more information.

    6.  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:

    Birth Certificate

    If you have finalized the adoption in Tanzania, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child.   Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

    Your attorney will take the adoption order to the civil registry (RITA) and request an adoption certificate listing your name(s) as the parent(s) of the child.

    Tanzanian Passport

    Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so s/he will need a travel document or passport from Tanzania. 

    You or your attorney may apply for a passport at Immigration by presenting the adoption certificate and any other documents they require for processing, such as your identification.

    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 Dar es Salaam.  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.

    Contact the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam by sending an email to DRSIV@state.gov.  Consular staff will respond to you within one to two business days.

    Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes three to five business days.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam before making final travel arrangements, if travelling to the city.

    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.

    Do you ordinarily reside overseas?  If you intend to continue living overseas with your child instead of returning to the United States to reside permanently with your child, please review the instructions on USCIS form N-600K to determine whether you qualify to apply for expeditious naturalization of your child instead of pursuing the immigrant visa process.  If your application is approved, you may apply for a visitor’s visa at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam for your child to complete the naturalization procedure in the United States and to return to your home overseas.

    *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.

  • Traveling Abroad

    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 Tanzania

    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 Tanzania, 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 Tanzania, 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).

    AFTER ADOPTION

    Tanzanian law requires foreign adoptive parents to notify the Commissioner of the Office of Social Welfare of their intent to remove an adopted child from Tanzania on a permanent basis after the adoption.  The penalties for not doing so include sizeable fines (U.S. $6,000 – $30,000) and/or imprisonment (for six months to two years).

    If a family has custody of the child and only an interim adoption order, then the family must seek the consent of the High Court before removing the child from Tanzania.

    Prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to seek the counsel of a local attorney and/or adoption service provider regarding compliance with Tanzania’s post-adoption reporting requirements.  Your cooperation will contribute to the country’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

    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.

    Here are some places to start your support group search:

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

  • Contact Information


    U.S. Embassy in Tanzania

    686 Old Bagamoyo Road, Msasani
    P.O. Box 9123
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Tel:  +255-22-229-4122
    Fax:  +255-22-229-4721
    Email:  DRSIV@state.gov
    Internet:  tanzania.usembassy.gov

    Tanzania Adoption Authority
    Office of Social Welfare
    4th Floor NSSF Building
    Corner of Morogoro and Bibi Titi Mohamed Road
    P.O. Box 1949
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Tel: +255-22-213-5572

    Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania
    1232 - 22nd Street NW, Washington D.C 20037
    Tel:  202-884-1085
    Fax:  202-797-7408
    Email:  ubalozi@tanzaniaembassy-us.org
    Internet:  TanzaniaEmbassy-US.org

    Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) (Adoption Certificates)
    Kipalapala Street
    P.O. Box  9182
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Fax:  +255-22-215-3069
    Email:  info@rita.go.tz
    Internet:  www.rita.go.tz/

    Immigration Services (Tanzanian Passports)
    Liliondo Street, Kurasini
    P.O. Box 512
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Tel:  +255-22-285-0575 or -0576
    Fax:  +255-22-285-0598 or -0584
    Email:  pcis@immigration.go.tz; admin@immigration.go.tz
    Internet:  www.immigration.go.tz

    Office of Children’s Issues
    U.S. Department of State
    CA/OCS/CI, SA-17A, 9th Floor
    Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
    Tel:  1-888-407-4747
    Email:  AskCI@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 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

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  • Hague Convention Information

    Tanzania 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.

    Tanzanian adoption law is outlined in Part VI of Tanzania’s 2009 Law of the Child. 

    Prospective adoptive parents are cautioned that:

    • Adoptions are not allowed in Zanzibar.
    • Families must either be Tanzanian citizens or resident in Tanzania for three years before seeking to adopt.

  • U.S. Immigration Requirements For Intercountry Adoptions

    To bring an adopted child to the United States from Tanzania, 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 Tanzania must meet the following requirements:

    Residency: Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be Tanzanian residents for at least three consecutive years to adopt a child from Tanzania unless they are Tanzanian citizens. The Tanzanian Department of Social Welfare considers a person to be resident if that person holds a Resident Permit (Class A, B or C), a Dependent's Pass, or an Exemption Permit, and lives in Tanzania. This residency requirement may be waived in cases where the applicant is a Tanzanian citizen or the High Court of Tanzania determines an adoption by non-Tanzanians to be “in the best interests of the child” (Tanzania Law of the Child, Article 74, Section 2).

    Age of Adopting Parents: A prospective adoptive parent, or in the case of a joint application, one of the prospective adoptive parents, must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child to be adopted. If the prospective adoptive parent is a relative of the child, he or she must be at least 25 years old, but there is no requirement regarding the minimum age difference between the prospective adoptive parent and the prospective adoptee.

    Marriage: Married heterosexual couples may adopt from Tanzania. If one spouse applies for an adoption order, the other spouse must consent. Single women who are Tanzanian citizens may adopt. A single man with Tanzanian citizenship may only adopt a child if the child is his biological son (or biological daughter if the court is satisfied that special circumstances warrant the order). 

    Income: None.

    Other: Laws permitting adoption in Tanzania apply only to the mainland. Adoptions are not permitted in Zanzibar.

  • Who Can Be Adopted

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

    Relinquishment: The District Social Welfare Officer will work with the Police Department to confirm whether a relinquished child has any living relatives. In circumstances where family members are located, formal written consent from the family must be obtained before the child is released for adoption.

    Abandonment: In circumstances where no living relatives can be located, the Police Department will issue a Certificate of Abandonment. The certificate is needed for the adoption to be completed.

    Age of Adoptive Child: None specified. However, children age 14 or older must consent to the adoption, if capable of providing consent. 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: Adoptions generally take a minimum of six months after the match, to include three months of foster care, followed by a three month period between custody and the adoption hearing in the High Court.

    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

    Tanzania’s Adoption Authority

    Department of Social Welfare 

    The Process

    The process for adopting a child from Tanzania 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 Tanzania’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

    4. Adopt the Child in Tanzania

    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 Tanzania, 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.

    You will also need to work with a local Tanzanian attorney. Consult the Law Society of Tanganyika or the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam’s website for a list of attorneys.

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

    In order to adopt a child from Tanzania, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Tanzania 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 Tanzania’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 Department of Social Welfare of Tanzania to be found eligible to adopt by Tanzania.

    To apply to adopt from Tanzania, you will need to:

    • Contact the District Social Welfare Officer to obtain the application form to foster a child. If the office is not in your district, then reach out to the Regional Social Welfare Office.
    • Complete the foster care application form. Provide contact details of at least three references who have known you for at least three years and one family reference. If you cannot provide local references, then provide references from the United States. The District Social Welfare Officer will coordinate with International Social Services to interview references outside of Tanzania. 
    • Arrange with the District Social Welfare Office to begin the home study process. This consists of at least four interviews by the District Social Welfare Officer, including at least one visit to the family's home. 
    • The District Social Welfare Office forwards the custody application, home study, and other paperwork to the Commissioner for Social Welfare for review and approval.

    If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Tanzania will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral.

    The matching process generally involves the following steps:

    • When the foster application is approved, the prospective adoptive parents and the District Social Welfare Officer work together to identify a child who is eligible for adoption and suitable to be matched with the prospective adoptive parents.
    • The District Social Welfare Officer will contact the Police Department to determine whether the child has any living relatives. If so, the relatives must consent to the adoption. If there are no living relatives, the Police Department will produce a certificate of abandonment.
    • The District Social Welfare Officer places the child with the prospective adoptive parents to foster for at least three months. The District Social Welfare Officer will visit the child and family on a regular basis during the fostering period.
    • After completing the three month foster care period, the prospective adoptive parents meet with the District Social Welfare Officer to discuss whether they wish to adopt the child. The officer makes a recommendation and submits the file to the Commissioner of Social Welfare to review.

    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 Tanzania’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.

    4. Adopt the Child in Tanzania

    The process for finalizing the adoption in Tanzania generally includes the following:

    Role of Adoption Authority: The District Social Welfare Officer, who is supervised by the Commissioner of Social Welfare, evaluates prospective adoptive parents to help determine suitability and eligibility to adopt under Tanzanian law, takes certain steps when a child is relinquished to government authorities, oversees the fostering and pre-adoption period as the child’s guardian ad litem, and makes recommendations regarding the suitability of specific child placements.

    Role of the Court: The Tanzanian High Court approves the legal adoption of a child. If the child has been in your continuous care for the immediate six months prior and you meet the other requirements for the High Court to approve the adoption, the court will decide whether to issue an adoption order.

    Role of Adoption Agencies: 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.

    Though U.S. adoption service providers are the primary providers in intercountry adoption cases, you will still need to hire a local attorney to file the adoption case with the High Court.

    Adoption Application: You will need to apply to the District Social Welfare Officer to be found suitable and eligible to adopt, and your local attorney will apply to the High Court for the adoption, after the match is officially approved by the Office of Social Welfare.

    Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Tanzania take approximately more than six months to complete from the time a dossier accepted by the adoption authority to the time the final adoption is issued. This does not include the three year residency requirement for non-Tanzanian citizens.

    Adoption Fees: Neither the courts nor the Office of Social Welfare charge for adoption services. Attorney fees may range from U.S. $500 – $2,000. Civil documents, such as birth certificates and passports, can range from U.S. $10 – $30 for each document.

    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 Tanzania, 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 Tanzania 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 provide proof of citizenship and identity, civil status, Tanzanian residency, financial means, home study, and an application for adoption.

    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 Tanzania, 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 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

    When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, [the consular section in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 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.

    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 Tanzania, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

    If you have been granted legal custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

    Your attorney will take the adoption order to the civil registry (RITA) and request an adoption certificate listing your name(s) as the parent(s) of the child.

    Tanzania Passport: Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Tanzania.

    You or your attorney may apply for a passport at Immigration by presenting the adoption certificate and any other documents they require for processing, such as your identification.

    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 Dar es Salaam. 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 three to five business days. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam before making final travel arrangements, if travelling to the city.

    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 Tanzania: 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 Tanzania, 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 Tanzania, 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: Tanzanian law requires foreign adoptive parents to notify the Commissioner of the Office of Social Welfare of their intent to remove an adopted child from Tanzania on a permanent basis after the adoption. The penalties for not doing so include sizeable fines (U.S. $6,000 – $30,000) and/or imprisonment (for six months to two years).

    If a family has custody of the child and only an interim adoption order, then the family must seek the consent of the High Court before removing the child from Tanzania.

    Prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to seek the counsel of a local attorney and/or adoption service provider regarding compliance with Tanzania’s post-adoption reporting requirements. Your cooperation will contribute to the country’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

    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 Dar es Salaam, 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 Tanzania
    686 Old Bagamoyo Road, Msasani
    P.O. Box 9123
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Tel: +255-22-229-4122
    Fax: +255-22-229-4721
    Email: DRSIV@state.gov
    Internet: tanzania.usembassy.gov

    Tanzania’s Adoption Authority
    Office of Social Welfare
    4th Floor NSSF Building
    Corner of Morogoro and Bibi Titi Mohamed Road
    P.O. Box 1949
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Tel: +255-22-213-5572

    Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) (Adoption Certificates)
    Kipalapala Street
    P.O. Box 9182
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Fax: +255-22-215-3069
    Email: info@rita.go.tz 
    Internet: rita.go.tz/

    Immigration Services (Tanzanian Passports)
    Liliondo Street, Kurasini
    P.O. Box 512
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Tel: +255-22-285-0575 or -0576
    Fax: +255-22-285-0598 or -0584
    Email: pcis@immigration.go.tz; admin@immigration.go.tz 
    Internet: immigration.go.tz

    Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania
    1232 - 22nd Street NW, Washington D.C 20037
    Tel: 202-884-1085
    Fax: 202-797-7408
    Email: ubalozi@tanzaniaembassy-us.org 
    Internet: TanzaniaEmbassy-US.org

    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