Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Algeria Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Exercise increased caution in Algeria due to terrorism and kidnapping.
Do not travel to:
Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Algeria. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning and have recently targeted the Algerian security forces. Most attacks take place in rural areas, but attacks are possible in urban areas despite a heavy and active police presence.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside Algiers province due to Algerian government restrictions on travel by U.S. government employees.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Algeria.
If you decide to travel to Algeria:
Eastern and southern borders — Level 4: Do Not Travel
Avoid travel to rural areas within 50 km (31 miles) of the border with Tunisia and within 250 km (155 miles) of the borders with Libya, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania due to terrorist and criminal activities, including kidnapping.
Visit our website for High-Risk Travelers.
Overland travel to the Sahara Desert — Level 4: Do Not Travel
Do not travel overland in the Sahara Desert due to terrorist and criminal activity, including kidnapping.
Visit our website for High-Risk Travelers.
Algeria 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 2012webpage 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.
Algerian family law is based on an interpretation of Islamic Shari'a law. Algerian courts appoint a legal guardian ("Kafil" - see Algerian statute No. 84/11, articles 116 through 125) for a child. Such legal guardianship (called a "kafala") is treated as the functional equivalent of adoption. If a child has a known parent, the guardian can only be selected from blood relatives of the child (i.e., the child's next of kin). Obviously, if a child's parents are unknown, that does not apply. The prospective adoptive parent can request that the child's name be changed when the biological father of the child is unknown. However, if the identity of the child's biological mother is known and the biological mother is living, a formal consent deed for the name change must be executed by the biological mother. The executed consent deed is then attached to the name change request file, and decided upon by the president of the relevant Algerian court at the referral of the prosecutor. Algeria is the only Muslim country which will authorize a name change for an orphan. Any prospective adoptive parent of an Algerian child should start the application for a kafala at the Algerian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Algeria, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to 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.
In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Algeria must meet the following requirements:
In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements of Algeria:
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).
Adopting a child from Algeria generally includes the following steps:
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
There are no adoption agencies operating in Algeria. Before taking steps to adopt a child from Algeria, 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:
For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Algeria, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Algeria 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 Algeria’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 Commission of the Ministry of National Solidarity in Algeria to be found eligible to adopt by Algeria.
If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the Commission of the Ministry of National Solidarity entity in Algeria will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral. 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 Algeria’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 Algeria, or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption
The process for finalizing the adoption, or obtaining legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Algeria generally includes the following:
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 Algeria, with your adoption service provider. Please also refer to information concerning the Hague Complaint Registry. Improper payments may have the appearance of buying a child, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in Algeria 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.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan
After you finalize the adoption/kafala, or gain legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Algeria, 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 Algiers, Algeria.
When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Algiers, Algeria 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 weeks 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, or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, 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:
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
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 Algeria
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 Algeria, 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 in Algeria 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).
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.
If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Algiers, 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.
U.S. Embassy in Algeria
Address: 5 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, 16000, Alger, Algerie
Tel: +213 021 98 20 00
Fax: +213 021 60 73 35
Algeria’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of National Solidarity
Address: Route Nationale No. 1 les vergers BP No. 31 Bir khadem, Alger, Algerie
Tel.: +213 021 44 99 46
+213 021 44 99 47
Fax: +213 021 44 97 26
Embassy of Algeria
Address: 2118 Kalorama Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 265-2800
Fax: (202) 667-2174
Consulate General of Algeria in New York
15 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 486-6930
Fax: (212) 486-6934
Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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