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TogoOfficial Name: Togo
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Hague Adoption Convention Country? Yes
Hague Convention Information
Togo is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Togo.
There are two types of adoptions in Togo: plenary (irrevocable) and simple (revocable). Only plenary adoptions are valid for immigration purposes. Since February 1, 2010, all new adoption cases in Togo must be completed under the Hague Adoption Convention process.
Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before February 1, 2010. Read about Transition Cases.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Togo, 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 Convention adoptee under U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
Who Can Adopt
In addition to the U.S. requirements, prospective adoptive parents need to meet Togo’s requirements to adopt a child from Togo:
- Residency: Prospective adoptive parent must live in Togo for at least one year before the adoption is finalized. Exemptions can be granted by the President of the High Court.
- Age of Adopting Parents: At least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be more than 30 years old. There must be at least an 18-year difference between the prospective adoptive parent and the adopted child.
- Marriage: Opposite sex married couples and unmarried individuals may adopt in Togo. Same-sex married couples cannot adopt in Togo.
- Income: Togo has no income requirements for intercountry adoptions. Prospective parents must prove that they can provide for the child. The Togolese Central Authority, the National Adoption Committee (CNAET), relies on the information provided by the U.S. home study on the prospective adoptive parent’s finances.
Who Can Be Adopted
Because Togo is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Togo must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Togo attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Togo's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.
In order to be eligible for adoption under Togolese law, a child must have been pronounced abandoned or relinquished by the Togolese Lower Court.
- Relinquishment Requirements:
- Both parents have decided to release the child because they are unable to care for him/her; or
- The child's parents rights have been terminated due to neglect; or both parents are deceased and the family consents to release the child to a third party. This would be considered an adoption by consent.
- In the case of relinquishment of a child, the Lower Court must make a legal ruling.
- Abandonment Requirements:
- In order to be considered legally abandoned, the legal parents must have willfully forsaken all parental rights, obligations and claims to the child; and/or
- The legal parents have not transferred parental rights to anyone and the child is not in their care; and
- After a field investigation, a judge or the president of the Togolese Lower Court will decree the child abandoned by a court decree.
- AGE REQUIREMENTS: Under local law, the adoptee must be unmarried and under 18. Because U.S. law limits the adoptions of children above 16, American citizens considering adopting an older child in Togo should contact the Embassy prior to initiating the process.
- Requirements for Children with Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Special needs or children with medical conditions can be adopted. Adoptive parents are given the opportunity to request specific criteria for the child they want to adopt when submitting their adoption application. Adoptive parents are informed of the child's condition in a detailed report when they are matched with the child. Once matched with a child, the PAP will have the opportunity to accept or reject the prospective child.
- WAITING PERIOD: There is no designated waiting period in an adoption case but prospective parents should be aware that it will likely take several years to finalize an adoption in Togo as the adoption process is new and details are still being worked out. Files are treated on a first come, first served basis and as the process is relatively new, many of the details
- Relinquishment Requirements:
How To Adopt
WARNING: Togo is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Togo before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
TOGO'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY
Ministère de l'Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale
Comité National d'Adoption d'Enfants au Togo (CNAET) - National Adoption Committee for Children in Togo.
Note: If you have an approved, unexpired Form I-600A or filed a Form I-600 filed before February 1, 2010, your adoption may be considered a transition case. For more information, read about Transition Cases.
Because Togo is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Togo must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
- Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Togo
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
- Adopt (or obtain legal custody) of child in Togo
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
- Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Togo is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
- Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Togo as part of your adoption dossier. Togo’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Togo’s law.
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Togo:
If both the United States and Togo determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Comité National d’Adoption des Enfants au Togo (CNAET) may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Togo. The CNAET will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Togo. Learn more about this critical decision.
- Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption:
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.
After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lome, Togo, that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Togo. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to Togo’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Togo where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Togo’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Togo before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
Note: The Togolese government will not issue a Togolese passport or identity card to your child after an adoption is finalized, and the United States cannot issue a U.S. passport until your child has entered the United States. Therefore, in order for your child to travel, you will need to apply for and receive a Togolese identity card and passport before the adoption process is completed.
In order for your child to travel once the adoption is complete, they will need travel documents. Please note: The Togolese government will not issue a Togolese passport or identity card to your child once an adoption is finalized, and the United States cannot issue a U.S. passport until your child has entered the United States. In order for your child to travel, you will need to apply for and receive a Togolese passport and identification card before the adoption process is completed.
- Togolese Identity Card
- A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate
- A certified copy of the child’s Togolese Nationality Certificate
- 2 passport photographs
- Blood-type certificate
- Emergency contact information
- 5,000 CFA (approximately $10)
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document. To apply for a passport, your child needs to have a Togolese identity card. To apply for the card, you will need to present:
Applications are accepted Monday through Friday from 7:30 at Commissariat Central. Once the Identity Card is issued, you may apply for a passport for the child.
- Togolese Passport
- A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate
- A certified copy of the child’s Togolese nationality certificate
- A copy of the Togolese Identity Card
- Emergency contact information
- 30,000 CFA (approximately $60)
- 2 photographs (white background)
- A photocopy of the child’s identity card
- School records
To apply for your child’s passport, you will need to present:
Applications can be dropped off between 7:30 a.m. and noon and 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at:
Direction Générale de la documentation Nationale
Service des Passeports
01 BP 4871
- Togolese Identity Card
Adopt (or obtain legal custody) of child in Togo:
Remember: Before you adopt (or obtain legal custody of) a child in Togo, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Togo.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or obtaining legal custody) in Togo generally includes the following:
- Role of Central Authority: The National Committee for Adoptions in Togo (CNAET) is the central adoption authority. After reviewing each case, the Committee forwards the file with a recommendation to the Court of Lomé. U.S. citizens considering adopting in Togo should contact the CNAET (see below).
- Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption service providers registered and authorized in Togo; adoption service providers based and operating from the United States may provide assistance to prospective adoption parents. While some lawyers and notaries may promise to facilitate adoptions or help families overcome legal ineligibilities preventing them from adopting in Togo, these individuals have no influence or role in the adoption process. Only the High Court and the CNAET are directly involved in the adoption process.
- Time Frame: Many adoptions can be completed within one year, but some can take up to five years.
- Adoption Application: You or your adoption service provider must file the adoption application with CNAET.
Note: CNAET will not accept simple or scanned copies of documents. All documents will have to be either originals or certified copies of the originals and should be accompanied by a French translation. You or your adoption service provider may choose to use a private translator or the CNAET translator. The current local cost for translation is CFA 10,000 ($20) per page and remains the same from one translator to another. A list of private translators is available on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Lomé. The CNAET translator’s fee should be paid in local currency via money transfer to the CNAET translator directly. Information about the translator is available from CNAET.
The adoption application must include:
- Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. Fees are non-refundable and are payable to the “Secretariat Permanent du CNAET” at the time of application. Total fees are estimated at FCFA 580,000 (approximately $1,160). This sum includes:
- Registration and file study - FCFA 540,000 (approximately $1,080); and
- Request letter from the prospective adoptive parent. A request in the form of a letter signed by the prospective adoptive parent(s) addressed in French only to the President of the court of Lomé.
- Certified copies of the PAP(s) birth certificate
- Police records/criminal background check
- Marriage certificate (for couples only). In case of an adoption by a couple, the couple should be legally married and not separated.
- Medical certificate. The medical report should include: the medical exams; the inclusion of any pathology findings if any; and the prospective adopting parent(s) medical ability to adopt.
- Proof of financial support
- Approved I-800A
- Social investigation report including the psychological report
- Photos of the prospective adoptive parent (s) home and living environment
- Three notarized letters of recommendation from friends or acquaintances
- Consent to adoption by a notary public or from the president of the local court
- Documents Required:
- Legal fees - FCFA 40,000 (approximately $80). This is paid after the court’s recommendation for an adoption decree.
- An approved I-800A from USCIS
- A copy of the home study report including social and psychological investigation reports as well as financial information
- A notarized Adoption Consent document expressing the consent of both parties (in the case of an adoption by consent)
- Copy of adoptive parents’ birth certificates and their family booklet (livret de famille);
- Pictures of adoptive parents, their house, the room to be occupied by the adopted child and the child’s photo in the case of adoption by consent
- Recommendation letter from friends and other known people (translated into French)
- Police clearance certificate
- Medical examination results for the Prospective Adoptive Parent from within the last three months
- PAP Address including email and telephone number
- Receipt of payment of the full application fee
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. Read more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.
- Note: Adoption versus legal guardianship: Togolese family law provides that the legal guardianship of a child or the delegation of parental authority can be granted in cases where the child is an orphan, or in instances where he/she is considered abandoned or needy with no family to provide basic care. The legal guardianship and the delegation of parental authority are temporary and may not lead to an adoption. The High Court, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Affairs, grants legal guardianship and the delegation of parental authority in the best interest of the child. However, the court does not authorize a child to be placed or taken out of the country in the absence of a full and final adoption. Therefore, obtaining legal guardianship of a child will not enable you to bring that child to the United States.
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
Now that your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
If you have finalized the adoption in Togo, you will firstneed to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.
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.
To receive a new birth certificate for your child, submit the adoption decree to the “etat-civil” of the city where the adoption took place. There will be a CFA 5,000 (approximately $10) fee. It takes about one week to receive a new birth certificate (Acte de Naissance).
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Togo. As noted above, an identity card and Togolese passport must be obtained before the adoption is complete. See instructions above.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Lome, Togo. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. 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 if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
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.
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 Your Visa
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 Togo, 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 Togo, 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).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
For the first three years after an adoption, the CNAET requires the adoption agency to submit an annual report concerning the child’s well-being. Thereafter, until the child reaches 18 years, reports are due based on the following schedule: after the sixth year after adoption (three years after the third report), the 11th year after adoption (four years after the fourth report), and the 16th year after adoption (five years after the fifth report). The adoption agency should transmit the reports directly to the CNAET; alternatively, the CNAET will address the request through the U.S. Central Authority.
We urge you to comply with Togo’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 history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen 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 Togo
Address: 4332 Blvd. Eyadema
Tel: (228) 22 61 54 70.79
Fax: (228) 22 61 55 01
Consular Fax: (228) 261 54 99
Togo’s Adoption Authority
Comite National d’Adoption des Enfants au Togo (CNAET)
Tel. (228) 22 20 47 03
Tel: (228) 22 39 98 90
Fax: (228) 22 20 47 03
Embassy of Togo
Address: Embassy of the Republic of Togo, 2208 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008;
Tel: (202) 234-4212
Fax: (202) 232-3190
Togo also has consulates in: New York, NY, and Chatsworth, CA.
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)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)