Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Cameroon Intercountry Adoption Information
Exercise increased caution in Cameroon due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do Not Travel to:
Violent crime, such as armed robbery and carjacking, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Adamawa (to the north or east of Ngaoundere), East (east of Bertoua), North, Far North, Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon due to current official travel restrictions.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Cameroon:
North, Far North, Northwest and Southwest Regions, and Parts of East and Adamawa Regions
In the North and Far North Regions, as well as parts of East and Adamawa Regions, terrorists may attack with no warning, targeting local facilities and places frequented by Westerners. In Adamawa Region, this threat specifically includes any area to the north or east of Ngaoundere. Kidnapping by terrorists and/or kidnapping for ransom are serious concerns in Cameroon, especially in areas bordering northern Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR).
In Northwest and Southwest Regions, an Anglophone separatist movement has led to increased levels of violence. Armed clashes with the government and other acts of violence have occurred.
Violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault, and carjacking, is common within 60 miles of the border with Nigeria’s Adamawa State in the North and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon, the border area with Chad, and the border areas with the CAR.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Cameroon is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Cameroon did not change.
Fraud Warning: Recently many Americans have become victims of Cameroonian scam artists offering adoption services through the Internet. Americans should be very cautious about sending money or traveling to Cameroon to adopt a child from an orphanage they have only heard about through e-mails. Prospective adoptive parents MUST travel to Cameroon and participate in person in the legal procedures that govern Cameroonian adoptions. In order to protect themselves and the children from the possibility of fraud or other serious problems, prospective adoptive parents are advised to consider first the list of accredited orphanages available at the Ministry of Social Affairs. Should prospective adoptive parents wish to hire a Cameroonian attorney to assist with the adoption, they can obtain a list of attorneys from the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Cameroon, 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.
To bring an adopted child to United States from Cameroon, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. government. The U.S. government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Cameroon also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
PAPs must submit a medical certificate from either a U.S. or local doctor showing that they are medically fit.
Evidence of consent of the birth parent(s) (if they are alive). The consent must be witnessed either in court, by a diplomatic consulate or by a public notary.
Evidence of the consent of the adoptee if s/he is 16 or older. The consent must be witnessed either in court, by a diplomatic consulate or by a public notary.
Prospective adoptive parents must come to Cameroon for an extended period of time and participate (in person) in the elaborate legal procedures
Cameroon has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Cameroon unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.
In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her immediately to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.
Ministry of Social Affairs and the High Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) having jurisdiction over the place of residence of the child to be adopted.
The process for adopting a child from Cameroon generally includes the following steps:
The first step in adopting a child is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.
Cameroon does not have adoption agencies. In general, any orphanage may release an orphan for adoption. However, in order to help protect themselves and the children from the possibility of fraud or other serious problems, prospective adoptive parents are advised to consider the list of accredited orphanages available at the Ministry of Social Affairs. Parents wishing to hire a Cameroonian attorney to assist with the adoption can obtain a list of attorneys from the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde. Due to repeated scams involving the impersonation of legitimate lawyers or law offices, the Embassy has removed this information from its website. This information can be obtained by e-mailing the American Citizen Services Unit at YaoundeACS@state.gov.
To bring an adopted child from Cameroon to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Cameroon as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Cameroon will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Cameroon's requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.
A social worker will be assigned to follow up the case and assist the prospective adoptive parents with identifying a child for adoption and monitoring the family during the foster care period. The local lawyer, if hired by the prospective adoptive parents, must also be involved in the process. The social worker's final report determines whether prospective adoptive parents can proceed with the case to the High Court.
The adoptive parents may choose either to be present or to be represented by a lawyer during the hearing at the High Court.
Under Cameroonian law, the High Court must determine that the following four criteria have been met before it can issue an adoption decree.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Cameroon generally includes the following:
NOTE : Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Cameroon, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child Qualifies as an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law.
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire U.S. citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States on an IR-3 immigrant visa for the purpose of permanent legal residence.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows a child who enters the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa to acquire U.S. citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
Note: Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.
U.S. citizens are required 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 United States 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.
In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. Where required, a visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Cameroon, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.
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.
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Cameroon, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Cameroon require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Cameroon does not require post-adoption reporting at this time.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Embassy in Cameroon
Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817
Tel: (237) 2220-15-00
Cameroonian Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social Affairs/High Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance)
SubDepartment of Child Protection situationed at
Sous Direction de la Sauvegarde de L'Enfant-SDSE
Embassy of the Republic of Cameroon
2349 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 265-8790
Fax: (202) 387-3826
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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