Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Burkina Faso Intercountry Adoption Information
Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.
Do not travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism, crime, and kidnapping.
Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Burkina Faso. Terrorists may conduct attacks anywhere with little or no warning. Targets could include hotels, restaurants, police stations, customs offices, areas at or near mining sites, places of worship, military posts, and schools.
Kidnapping and hostage taking is a threat throughout the country. On May 10, 2019 a hostage rescue operation freed four international hostages that had been kidnapped in Burkina Faso and in neighboring Benin.
The Government of Burkina Faso has maintained a state of emergency in the entire East and Sahel regions, the provinces of Kossi and Sourou in the Boucle de Mouhoun region, the province of Kenedougou in the Hauts Bassins region, the province of Loroum in the North region, and the province of Koulpelogo in the Center-East region.
The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens throughout most of the country, as U.S. government personnel are restricted from travelling to regions outside the capital due to security concerns. The U.S. Embassy prohibits U.S. government personnel from personal travel to the Karpala, Balkiui and Rayongo (also known as Dayongo) neighborhoods of Ouagadougou’s Arrondissement 11 due to the potential for security operations.
Family members under the age of 21 cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in Burkina Faso.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Burkina Faso.
If you decide to travel to Burkina Faso:
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.
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.
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:
Note: The Ministry of Gender and Family gives priority to married prospective adoptive parents without biological children and may deny placement to couples who already have two or more.
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:
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.
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).
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 du Genre et de la Famille
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
Some of the fees specifically associated with adoption from Burkina Faso include:
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.
Only certified copies of these documents are acceptable to the Burkinabe authorities:
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
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:
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 OuagaIV@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[CCL(1] [CAR(2] [CCL(3] .
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso
Avenue Sembene Ousmane
Secteur 15, Ouaga 2000
01 BP 35, Ouagadougou 01
Tel:  25-49-53-00
Fax:  25-49-56-23
Burkina Faso Adoption Authority
Ministère du Genre et de la Famille 'Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale
La Direction de la Protection de l’Enfant
Immeuble Baoghin, Secteur 10
01 BP 515, Ouagadougou 01
Tel:  25 50 51 93 [CCL(1]
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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