Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Afghanistan Intercountry Adoption Information
Reissued with updates to health information.
Do not travel to Afghanistan due to armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.
Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe and the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high. Given the serious risks, U.S. citizens should not travel to Afghanistan to accompany eligible family members for relocation.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. Since that time, U.S. citizens have been unjustly detained. The U.S. government is not able to provide emergency citizen services in Afghanistan and our ability to assist detained U.S. citizens is extremely limited.
U.S. citizens in Afghanistan in need of routine consular services can contact any U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Afghanistan for assistance, although our ability to assist is extremely limited. To locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Afghanistan, click here. U.S. citizens who are in Afghanistan and are seeking U.S. government assistance to depart should email complete biographic details and contact information (email and phone number), as well as U.S. passport number, to AfghanistanACS@state.gov.
Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are prioritized for relocation out of Afghanistan if they have an approved U.S. immigrant visa petition and notification from the National Visa Center that their case is ready for an interview. Please note that U.S. citizens or LPR family members do not have to be physically present in Afghanistan for their qualifying family members to be prioritized. In fact, your presence in Afghanistan will not expedite your relative’s case. For further information on the immigrant visa application process, please refer to our website. The Department of State will continue to provide information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), Embassy Kabul’s web page, Travel.State.Gov, Facebook, and Twitter.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Afghanistan.
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:
Resources for U.S. citizens in Afghanistan:
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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