Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Afghanistan Intercountry Adoption Information
Do not travel to Afghanistan due to civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and COVID-19.
Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe. The Department of State assesses the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. While the U.S. government has withdrawn its personnel from Kabul, we will continue to assist U.S. citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar.
Individuals seeking information on current consular support should review the Embassy website for instructions. Consular services remain available outside Afghanistan. To locate the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate click here. The Department of State will continue to provide information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), Embassy Kabul’s web page, Travel.State.Gov, and Facebook, and Twitter.
The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. citizens still in Afghanistan should:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not issued a Travel Health Notice for Afghanistan due to COVID-19, indicating an unknown level of COVID-19 in the country.
Resources for U.S. citizens in Afghanistan:
Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information
Afghanistan 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). However, under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the requirement that adoption service providers be accredited or approved, and therefore meet the accreditation standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also applies in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as the primary provider in every Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. 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 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware 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 the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
Please visit the Department of State’s country page for more information on travelling to Afghanistan.
The Department of State occasionally receives inquiries from U.S. citizens concerned about the plight of children in Afghanistan and the possibility of adopting them. We share this concern for children in conflict areas and understand that some U.S. citizens want to respond by offering to open their homes and adopt these children in need.
It can be extremely difficult in such circumstances to determine whether children who appear to be orphans truly are eligible for adoption. Children may be temporarily separated from their parents or other family members during a conflict or natural disaster, and their parents or relatives may be looking for them. It is not uncommon in a hostile situation for parents to send their children out of the area, or for families to become separated during an evacuation or natural disaster. Even when it can be demonstrated that children are indeed orphaned or abandoned, they often will be cared for by other relatives.
During times of crisis, it can also be exceptionally difficult to fulfill the legal requirements for adoption of both the United States and the child's country of origin. This is especially true when civil authority breaks down. It can also be very difficult to gather documents necessary to fulfill the legal requirements of U.S. immigration law. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to consult with experienced immigration attorneys and to take extra caution when considering adopting or caring for a child under these circumstances.
There are still ways in which U.S. citizens can help the children of Afghanistan, such as by making a contribution to an established non-governmental organization that is well placed to respond to Afghanistan’s most urgent needs, including those related to the children of Afghanistan.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1- 913-275-5480 (local);
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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