STEP
March 22, 2020

Enroll in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)

COVID-19 Travel
August 6, 2020

For COVID-19 Travel Information click here

COVID-19 Alert
September 17, 2020

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Central African Republic

Central African Republic
Central African Republic
Do not travel to the Central African Republic due to COVID-19, Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

Do not travel to the Central African Republic due to COVID-19, Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the Central African Republic due to COVID-19.

The Central African Republic has lifted stay at home orders, partially resumed commercial air transportation options, and business operations have mostly returned to normal. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in the Central African Republic.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide, is common.

Large areas of the country are controlled by armed groups who regularly kidnap, injure, and/or kill civilians. In the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures may occur with little or no notice.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Central African Republic; U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside the Embassy compound. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in the Central African Republic.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Central African Republic (CAR):

  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress, if you are taken hostage or detained.
  • Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones can know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax)
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
  • Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
  • Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Central African Republic (CAR).
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Intercountry adoptions from Central African Republic to the United States are currently possible. Intercountry adoptions to Central African Republic from the United States may be possible.

Hague Convention Information

Central African Republic is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the requirement that adoption service providers be accredited or approved, and therefore, meet the accreditation standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also applies in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as the primary provider in every Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Central African Republic 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.

Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Central African Republic must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum Residency: Currently no minimum residency requirements.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: If married for at least five years, then the parents must be at least 30 years old. If married for less than five years or unmarried, then the minimum age is 35 years old.

Adopting parents must be 15 years older than the adopted child; however, if the adopting parent is adopting the child of his/her spouse, then the adopting parent need only be 10 years older than the adopted child.

  • Marriage: No restrictions (however, see age and age gap requirements above).

  • Minimum Income: No known minimum income requirement. However, applicants need to provide proof of the last three months’ income.

  • Other requirements: Adopting parents may find it useful to have proof of residence during the adjudication process.

Who Can Be Adopted

Under the INA 101(b)(1)(F), a child can be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from both parents, or in the case where there is a sole or surviving parent who is incapable of providing the proper care and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements of Central African Republic:

  • Eligibility for adoption:

§  Both the biological mother and father, if living, must consent to the adoption;

§  A child in the care of extended family must consent to the adoption;

§  A child who is declared abandoned by the court must have the consent of child’s guardian; OR

§  A child with unknown affiliation must first have a court declare the child abandoned, and then have the consent of the child’s guardian.

  • Age of Adoptive Child: Maximum age of adoption is 15 years old. Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age requirements and immigrated or will immigrate as an orphan based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.

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 rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

How to Adopt

Central African Republic’s Adoption Authority

Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Family and the Protection of the Child

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Central African Republic generally includes the following steps:

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-600A)

3. Apply to Central African Republic’s Authorities to Adopt, and to be Matched with a Child

4. Adopt the Child in Central African Republic

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan (Form I-600)

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

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Central African Republic, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your 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.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

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

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

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may 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. If you have already identified the child you wish to adopt, you may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition for the child and include all the required supporting documentation for the Form I-600A application (i.e., an approved home study) so USCIS can make a determination on your suitability and eligibility to adopt before revieiwing the child’s eligibility as an orphan. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. 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 Central African Republic’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, Central African Republic requires you to submit an adoption application to the adoption authority of Central African Republic to be found eligible to adopt in Central African Republic.

The competent adoption authority in Central African Republic will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, may provide you with a 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 ultimately adhere to the USCIS’ suitability determination (i.e., typically the Form I-600A approval notice) with respect to the number of children you are approved to adopt and the characteristics of the child(ren) ( such as age, gender, nationality, and/or special need, disability, and/or impairment) that you are approved to adopt. Learn more about Health Considerations.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Central African Republic’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 Central African Republic

The process for finalizing the adoption in Central African Republic generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: To review, investigate, and approve adoption applications.

  • Role of the Court: Review adoption authority’s decision and approve or reject application in a public hearing with final transfer of custody of, responsilbity for, and rights of the adopted child.

  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers: Compile the document file, including a notarized consent of adoption and the “Certificate of Non-Withdrawal” of parental consent after a three-month waiting period.

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. See 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.

Note: See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required.     

  • Adoption Application: No specific form is required; however, the above steps are required by the adoption authority.

  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Central African Republic may take approximately two years to complete.

  • Adoption Fees: The fee for the adoption application is $88 USD. Applicants will need to pay the court $22 USD for the final judgment. Notary services typically cost approximately $90 USD, but will vary depending on the documents being notarized. The fee for birth certificates varies by location. Passports cost approximately $88 USD to be issued, with supporting documents costing approximately $18 USD. The emigration exit fee is approximately $18 USD. Yellow fever immunization shots cost approximately $32 USD.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that they believe may be contrary to U.S. law or the law of Central African Republic with their 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 Central African Republic 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 UAA and IAA make 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 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. Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Central African Republic are listed above.

  • Documents Required: Court judgment finalizing adoptions, certificate of nationality, passport for adopted child, passport for adopting parent(s), marriage certificate of adopting parent (if applicable), and yellow fever immunization record. Adopting parents may find it useful to have proof of residence during the adjudication process.

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.

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption in Central African Republic, USCIS must determine if 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, on behalf of the child, and, unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.

If you have a valid Form I-600A approval, you may file your Form I-600 petition in the United States with the USCIS National Benefits Center or at the U.S.Embassy in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Yaoundé, Cameroon 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 filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, to verify the child’s orphan status. Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. 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.

Due to the security situation in Bangui, it may take considerable time for this determination, depending upon the circumstances of the case.

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

Once your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed, finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, 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 Central African Republic, you will first need to apply for a new or amended birth certificate for your child. It can be obtained at the local town hall.

Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

Central African Republic Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Central African Republic.

Passport for the Adopted Child:

1.    Get the Adoption Certificate from the Bangui Justice court.

2.    Take the Adoption Certificate to the Immigration Service for authentication and start the passport process.

Passport requirements:

  • Certificate of adoption,
  • Certificate of Nationality.
  • Two Passport Photos.
  • Passport Fee (50,000 F.CFA ) receipt (paid at the bank)

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600 , you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

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). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the 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.

Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé processes immigrant visas for non-U.S. citizens located in Central African Republic. Additional information concerning immigrant visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé can be found on the U.S. Embassy Yaoundé website.

Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé before making final travel arrangements. Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on the website.

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 if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Traveling Abroad

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 acquires U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for 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 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 Central African Republic

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 Central African Republic, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information (also see the website of the Embassy of Central African Republic in Washington, D.C.).

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 abroad 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 or Consulate in Central African Republic, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Central African Republic, 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

No post-adoption reporting is required by the Central African Republic.

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 adoptions.

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 Bangui, 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/A process.

The 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 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 Bangui, Central African Republic
Address: Avenue David Dacko
Tel: +236 21 61 20 00
Email: YaoundeACS@state.gov
Internet: cf.usembassy.gov

Central African Republic’s Adoption Authority

Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Family and the Protection of the Child

Eloi Sylvere Betindji,
Directeur Reinsertion Sociale
Tel: 00236 75 50 82 58 / 72 50 82 58
Email: elsbetindji@yahoo.fr

Cyprien Malenguelet
Directeur des Affaires Sociales
Tel: 00236 75 05 80 19
Email: Malengueletcyprien@gmail.com

Embassy of the Central African Republic
2704 Ontario Rd, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 483-7800
Internet: rcawashington.org

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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with the

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: December 3, 2019

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon
Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817
Yaounde, Cameroon
Telephone
+(237) 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023
Emergency
+(237) 22220-1500, ext. 4531
Fax

Central African Republic Map