Intercountry Adoption

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Country Information

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Reconsider travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The northern Sahel border region shared with Mali and Niger due to crime and terrorism.
  • The provinces of Kmoandjari, Tapoa, Kompienga, and Gourma in East Region due to crime and terrorism.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Burkina Faso. Terrorists may conduct attacks anywhere with no warning. Targets may include hotels, restaurants, police stations, customs offices, military posts, and schools.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in remote and rural areas of the country. Due to the risk of attacks throughout the Sahel and East regions, the U.S. Embassy restricts official government travel to Dori and Djibo, the road that connects these cities, and all areas north of that road, as well as to the provinces of Kmoandjari, Tapoa, Kompienga, and Gourma.

Read the Safety and Security section on the Country Information page

If you decide to travel to Burkina Faso:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violence, including limiting trips to locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. 
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and local events.

The Northern Sahel Border Region

In the northern Sahel border region which borders Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, organized criminal groups and terrorists continue plotting kidnappings of Westerners.

Due to the risk of attacks throughout the Sahel region, the U.S. Embassy prohibits personal travel restricts official government travel to Dori and Djibo, the road that connects these cities, and all areas north of that road.

The East Border Region

In the Komondjari, Topa, Kompienga and Gourma provinces adjacent to Niger, Benin, and Togo, terrorist and criminal groups have attacked security and military vehicles with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), destroyed hunting and security force outposts, stolen equipment and vehicles,  destroyed schools, and killed civilians.

The U.S. Embassy prohibits personal travel and restricts official government travel to these provinces.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Intercountry adoptions to the United States from Burkina Faso and from the United States to Burkina Faso are possible.

Hague Convention Information

Burkina Faso is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption 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 Burkina Faso.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Burkina Faso, you must meet eligibility and suitability 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 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 being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Burkina Faso must meet the following requirements imposed by Burkina Faso:

  • Minimum Residency:  There is no residency requirement for prospective adoptive parents residing outside of Burkina Faso.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  A prospective adoptive parent must be between 30-55 years old and at least 15 years older than the child sought for adoption. If the prospective adoptee is the biological child of one of the spouses, the age difference between the child and the spouse must be at least 10 years.
  • Marriage:  Couples must be legally married for at least five years to be eligible to adopt. Although not specified in law, the Central Authority of Burkina Faso (the Ministry of Women and Families) does not generally place children with same-sex or single prospective adoptive parents.

Note: The Ministry of Women and Families gives priority to married prospective adoptive parents without biological children and may deny placement to couples who already have two or more.

  • Minimum Income:  Prospective adoptive parents are required to have sufficient funds to be able to take care of their adoptive child.  Proof of income must be submitted with the initial application.
  • Other requirements:  There is a fifteen day mandatory stay in Burkina Faso which includes a 4 day mandatory bonding period with the child at the institution where the child is living, after which the adoptive parent(s) must appear at the Central Authority to finalize paperwork.

Who Can Be Adopted

Burkina Faso is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, therefore children from Burkina Faso must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Burkina Faso have determined that placement of the child within Burkina Faso has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements imposed by Burkina Faso:

ELIGIBILITY FOR ADOPTION:

  • Relinquishment:  If the child’s birth parents are known, the birth parents or legal guardians must execute a consent act, or a court must issue a family council report.

Consent Act:  Birth parents willing to relinquish their rights must submit a request with the court. They must sign a consent act giving their consent for the child to be adopted. In most cases, the child is already in foster care or in a shelter for distressed children (Centre d’accueil des enfants en detresse).

Family Council Report:  A family council report is issued in cases where a birth parent is unfit to make decisions regarding his/her child or when the birth parents are deceased.  At least four family members make up the family council.  They must go before a judge in a civil court or before the head of the administrative district where they reside to sign a document stating that they give their consent for the child to be adopted.

  • Abandonment:  Under local law, children can be considered abandoned when they are taken into care by a private or public institution (nursery or a shelter for distressed children), and their parents have had no contact with the child(ren) for more than a year.  A Declaration of Abandonment is confirmed through a home study completed by the local social action office and a final document granting parental authority is issued in court.  In such cases, parental authority is given to the institution or the person/family that is fostering the child.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  Under local law, children can be adopted up to age 18.  If the adoptive child is aged 15 or older, however, he/she must give his/her personal consent before the adoption can take place.  Important Note:  U.S. citizens considering adopting a child aged 16 or older should contact the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou prior to initiating the adoption process; U.S. law generally requires a child to be under the age of 16 at the time the petition is filed to qualify for a U.S. immigrant visa, unless the child is the natural sibling of another child who was adopted by the same parents while under the age of 18.
  • Sibling Adoptions:  Sibling adoptions are encouraged.  In the case of twins, they will be placed with the same adoptive family.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  The Office of Placements and Adoptions gives priority to parents who are specifically willing and ready to adopt children with special needs. On the initial application form addressed to the Office of Placements and Adoptions, prospective adoptive parents must specify whether they seek to adopt a child with special needs such as a blind or physically handicapped child, a child suffering from a chronic disease or a child aged 6 years and above.
  • Waiting Period:  It usually takes 12 to 18 months to finalize an adoption from the time the application is received by the Central Authority to the time the final decree is issued.  The local social action offices maintain lists of adoptable children from shelters for distressed children or foster families under their jurisdiction.  Background studies are conducted on potentially adoptable children and submitted to the Central Authority only when there is no possibility for them to be adopted locally. The Central Authority reviews the adoption applications and matches these cases with prospective adoptive parents. The timing for each child can vary widely.
  • Foster Care:  Adopted children are often placed with host families but can also remain in the public or private institution in which they were placed (nursery or shelter for distressed children).  Children can be placed in foster families from the time the Central Authority issues the Article 16 Report and has received the prospective adoptive parents’ agreement to proceed with the adoption. The Article 16 Report specifies that medical and maintenance fees for the child will be covered by the prospective adoptive parents.  Prospective adoptive parents, or their adoption service provider, may contact the Office of Placements and Adoptions for more information about the child.

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 possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have not relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

How to Adopt

WARNING: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Burkina Faso before: 1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of Burkina Faso has determined the child is eligible for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Burkina Faso’s Central Adoption Authority

Ministère de la Femme, de la Solidarite Nationale et de la Famille (The Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Families). 

The Process

Since Burkina Faso is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Burkina Faso must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may cause significant delays or result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

1.    Choose a U.S. accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider

2.    Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)

3.    Apply to Burkina Faso’s Authorities to Adopt, and Be Matched with a Child

4.    Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)

5.    Adopt the Child in Burkina Faso (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption)

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 to Act as Your Primary Provider (That Has Been Authorized by Burkina Faso’s Central Authority to Operate in Burkina Faso)

The first step in adopting a child from Burkina Faso is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide intercountry adoption services to U.S. citizens and that has been authorized by the Government of Burkina Faso. A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for any supervised providers, and otherwise complying with the requirements regarding the provision of adoption services using other providers (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

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

In order to adopt a child from Burkina Faso, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Burkina Faso and U.S. immigration law.

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3. Apply to Burkina Faso’s Authorities to Adopt, and be Matched with a Child

Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority

After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Burkina Faso as part of your adoption application. Burkina Faso’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Burkina Faso’s law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority

If both the United States and Burkina Faso determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Burkina Faso’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is eligible for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Burkina Faso may provide you with a referral. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child. The adoption authority in Burkina Faso will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral. We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child. You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Burkina Faso. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility

After you accept the Central Authority’s match with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.

Submit an Immigrant Visa Application

After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Burkina Faso.

You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (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. 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. A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.

The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Burkina Faso’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Burkina Faso if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Burkina Faso’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Warning: Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Burkina Faso before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your 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.

5. Adopt the Child in Burkina Faso (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption

Remember: Before you adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Burkina Faso, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or a grant of legal custody by Burkina Faso for the purposes of emigration and adoption.

The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Burkina Faso generally includes the following:

  • Role of Central Authority: The Central Authority adjudicates all adoption applications and identifies eligible children. When the prospective adoptive parents agree to a proposed match, the Central Authority prepares a document formalizing the agreement to pursue the adoption known as the Article 16 Report. If the birth parents of the child are known, a consent act must be included in the file. Alternatively, a family council report or an act of abandonment will be included when applicable. The Article 16 Report is given to the local representative of the accredited agency to forward to the prospective adoptive parents. The Article 16 Report must be issued and accepted by the U.S. government before the adoption court hearing or the adoption will not be recognized by the authorities of Burkina Faso. After the adoption procedure is finalized in court and all necessary adoption documents have been issued by the Central Authority, at least one adoptive parent must travel to Burkina Faso to meet and stay with the child. There is a fifteen day mandatory stay in Burkina Faso which includes a 4 day mandatory bonding period with the child at the institution where the child is living, after which the adoptive parent(s) must appear at the Central Authority to finalize paperwork. In certain cases, the Central Authority may determine that an extended bonded period is required.
  • Role of the Court: After making a commitment to adopt the child, the prospective adoptive parents may hire a lawyer in Burkina Faso to complete the adoption procedure in court. The Central Authority forwards the completed file to the tribunal where the child resides or to the main tribunal in Ouagadougou. Once the file is received, the court contacts a notary to establish an act of adoption. This act of adoption is sent to the institution that is responsible for the welfare of the child to sign and then forwarded to the Central Authority for final signature. There is a three-month waiting period after the Act is signed before the court announces the final adoption. One month after the adoption is final, copies of the judgment and the certificate of non-appeal are sent to the Central Authority, which issues the “Certificat de Conformité” and the authorization to leave the country. The Central Authority is unable to issue the “Certificat de Conformité” and the authorization to leave the country unless all adoption requirements have been met. These two documents (Article 23 letters) can only be given to the adoptive parents when they get to Burkina Faso.
  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers: Accredited adoption agencies may have fully accredited representatives in Burkina Faso who act on behalf of prospective adoptive parents. They liaise with the local adoption authorities, the lawyer (when there is one), and the court on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents. The adoption agency will also liaise with the Embassy to collect the Article 5 Letter, and start the visa application process pending receipt of the final court decision and other official travel documents from the Central Authority. They are also in contact with the children’s shelter, nursery, or family hosting the adoptive child.

Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, 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 intercountry adoption 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.
     
  • Adoption Application: Prospective adoptive parents should understand that there are two kinds of adoptions available in Burkina Faso. For U.S. immigration purposes, the “full” adoption option is the only one that can confer immigrant status to an adopted child. A “simple” adoption – one which gives a birth parent the right to revoke the adoption at any time – does not meet the requirements of a legal adoption for immigration purposes under U.S. immigration law.

U.S. citizens may submit adoption applications in Burkina Faso through accredited adoption agencies authorized to work in Burkina Faso and who supervise a representative in Burkina Faso acting on their behalf.

Applications are evaluated based on:

  • The family’s ability to provide financial support;
  • The findings of a social and psychological report on the prospective adoptive parents;
  • The family’s motivations and their attitude towards adoption;
  • The marital status, age, and state of health of the adoptive parents;
  • The welfare of existing children in the adoptive family;
  • The size of the family; Note: preference is given to families with no children.

 

  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Burkina Faso may take approximately 12 months to complete. It takes six months or more for the case to be finalized in court. Finalization includes the final adoption decree, the issuance of child’s new birth certificate, the issuance of the “Certificat de Conformité,” and the authorization for the child to leave the country. Generally, the child is placed in the prospective adoptive parents’ care once matched. If the adoptive parents are not present in Burkina Faso, the child is placed with a host family or a shelter for distressed children.

Adoption cases may take longer when not properly followed up with the court. The Central Authority maintains a list of local lawyers, and encourages adoptive parents to find legal representation.

After the adoption procedure is finalized in court, at least one adoptive parent must travel to Burkina Faso to collect the child. The adoptive parent(s) should plan to be in Burkina Faso for at least 10 to 15 business days to finalize the adoption process. This includes the mandatory bonding time, completion of paperwork at the Central Authority, and the visa process, which may take up to three business days.  

  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that the prospective adoptive parent(s) signs at the beginning of the adoption process, the accredited agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

Some of the fees specifically associated with adoption from Burkina Faso include:

  • Medical exam: compulsory medical tests for the child include hepatitis A and B, HIV, blood and sickle cell detection. All medical exam expenses are born by the prospective adoptive parents.
  • Food allowance: 100,000 CFA (approximately 200 USD) per month per child. This amount is payable from the time the adoptive family commits themselves to adopting the child. Payment is made through the ASP to the financial department of the private or public institution hosting the child.
  • Once matched, prospective adoptive parents are responsible for all medical and maintenance fees, including the cost of transportation and hospitalization of the child.
  • Prospective adoptive parents must also cover the expenses of lawyers’ and notary services.
  • Fees for home study conducted on the child: 150,000 CFA (approximately 300 USD).
  • Initial filing fee: 26,500 CFA (approximately 65 USD) per file. The payment receipt must be included when submitting adoption application.
  • Case processing fees by the Central Authority once the child is identified: 100,000 CFA (approximately 200 USD).
  • Stamps: 5,000 CFA (approximately 10 USD) for each application.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Burkina Faso, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. Improper payments violate applicable law or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Burkina Faso at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent central authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

  • Documents Required

Only certified copies of these documents are acceptable to the Burkinabe authorities:

  • Two letters stamped with 5,000 CFA revenue stamps (available at the local mayor’s office), one addressed to the Chief Judge of the court in Ouagadougou and the other to the Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Family explaining in detail the motivation for adopting, and specifying the profile of the child they would like to adopt.
  • A marriage certificate for the couple showing that they have been married for more than five years;
  • A copy of the family book (official record of spouse, children) when/if available;
  • Proof of residence;
  • Proof of income;
  • Birth certificate for each prospective adoptive parent;
  • A copy of an approved Form I-800A from USCIS;
  • Medical documents certifying that both prospective adoptive parents are physically and psychologically healthy;
  • A home study report done by a social services agency of the adoptive parents habitual residence;
  • A certificate of nationality (when it applies);
  • A statement that the prospective adoptive parents have received more than 10 hours of training as specified by Department of State regulations at 22 CFR 96.48 (this document is normally prepared by the adoption service provider);
  • Police clearance certificates for both prospective adoptive parents; and,
  • A copy of the first two pages of both prospective adoptive parents’ passports

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.

Note: Burkina Faso requires that every document submitted in relation with an adoption application be translated into French and authenticated.

6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once 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, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have finalized the adoption in Burkina Faso, 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 Unites States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

The lawyer or adoption service provider (in cases where no lawyer has been hired) will obtain a copy of the adoption decree to request the issuance of a new birth certificate. In Burkina Faso, birth certificates are issued by the local mayor's office (the "Mairie") and cost 300 CFA (75 cents) per document. The new birth certificate will bear the child’s new name (as amended by adoptive parents).

Burkina Faso Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Burkina Faso. Passports are issued by the Ministry of Security's Division de la Migration upon presentation of the child's birth certificate with name changes, and the adoption decree. The passport costs 50,000 CFA (approximately 100 USD) and is issued in approximately three to seven business days.

 

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou. After the adoption (or custody for purposes of emigration and adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for a final review of the case, and the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou by email at consularouaga@state.gov to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the Form I-800 provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

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). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 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. You 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 confirmation page to the visa interview. Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission 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 admission into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s admission into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s admission 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.

The adoptive parents must submit post-adoption reports on the child once a year during the first two years following adoption and once every three years until the child turns 18. The prospective adoptive parents (directly or through the ASP) submit the reports to the Head Office of Placements, Adoptions and sponsorship located at the Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Family.

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 Burkina Faso

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 Burkina Faso, 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 Burkina Faso 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

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

When the adoption process is completed and the child joins the adoptive family, the Government of Burkina Faso requires the prospective adoptive parents to work with a social worker licensed in the child’s new place of residence to complete follow-up reports on the child’s integration.

We urge you to comply with Burkina Faso’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Burkina Faso’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive 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. You may wish to 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.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Ouagadougou, 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-800/A petition process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in 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 Complaint Registry.

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

When the adoption process is completed and the child joins the adoptive family, the Government of Burkina Faso requires the prospective adoptive parents to work with a social worker licensed in the child’s new place of residence to complete follow-up reports on the child’s integration.

We urge you to comply with Burkina Faso’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Burkina Faso’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive 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. You may wish to 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.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Ouagadougou, 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-800/A petition process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in 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 Complaint Registry.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso  
Avenue Sembene Ousmane
Secteur 15, Ouaga 2000
01 BP 35, Ouagadougou 01
Tel: [226] 50-49-53-00
Fax: [226] 50-49-56-23
Email: consularouaga@state.gov
Internet:  bf.usembassy.gov/embassy/ouagadougou/

Burkina Faso Adoption Authority
Ministère de l'Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale
La Direction des Placements et des Adoptions
Immeuble Baoghin, Secteur 10
01 BP 515, Ouagadougou 01
Burkina Faso
Tel: [226] 50 30 68 80 (Switchboard)/ [226] 50 31 00 55 (Direct line)
Fax: [226] 50 31 67 37

Embassy of Burkina Faso    
2340 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 332-5577
Fax: (202) 667 1882
Email: ambawdc@verizon.net
Internet:  burkina-usa.org

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: Adoption@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

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
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

Last Updated: September 11, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou
Secteur 53, Ouaga 2000
Avenue Sembène Ousmane, Rue 15.873
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Telephone
+(226) 25-49-53-00
Emergency
+(226) 25-49-53-00
Fax
(226) 25-49-56-23

Burkina Faso Map