Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Egypt Intercountry Adoption Information
Exercise increased caution in Egypt due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Egypt. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, and have targeted diplomatic facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, western businesses, restaurants, resorts, and local government facilities. Terrorists have conducted attacks in urban areas, including in Cairo, despite the heavy security presence. Terrorists have targeted religious sites, to include mosques, churches, monasteries, and buses traveling to these locations.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Egypt:
The Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks on security forces and civilians.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula as U.S. government employees are not authorized to travel to these areas (with the exception of the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; travel to Sharm El-Sheikh is only permitted by air).
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with minor edits.
Egypt 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 Egypt did not change.
Laws in Egypt regarding adoption are unclear and may vary according to a prospective adoptive parent's religious background. Islamic Shari'a law does not allow for full adoption of a child, as generally understood in the United States. (Please refer to our flyer on Islamic Family Law for more information on this issue.) U.S. citizens wishing to adopt a non-Muslim child may wish to seek legal advice from a local Egyptian attorney.
Fostering, which assumes no blood relationship, is sometimes permitted in Egypt through the Ministry of Social Affairs. Most commonly, a foster parent will agree to partially or fully support a child who remains in an orphanage. On occasion, however, a foster parent will enter into a contract with the orphanage, and will be permitted to raise the child at home. To begin this process, the foster family submits a request to the Ministry of Social Services. If the Ministry of Social Affairs approves the request, it will grant permission to allow an orphanage to release a child to be fostered at the home of the foster family.
Egypt has both Muslim and Christian orphanages, though not all orphanages release orphans to be fostered at one's home. Prospective guardians may only foster children of their same religion.
The Egyptian government assigns names to all orphans of unknown parentage. In some circumstances, an orphan may be issued a birth certificate that also contains fictitious names for the mother and father. Christians may request that the child's name be changed during the fostering process.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Egypt, 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 Stated from Egypt, 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 prospective adoptive parents, Egypt also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
Egypt has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for fostering and or guardian. You cannot adopt a child in Egypt 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 back to the United States.
Learn more about these U.S. requirements.
Egypt's Adoption Authority:
Obtaining permission to foster an Egyptian child is a difficult process. Prospective foster parents are required to undergo a pre-qualification process through the Ministry of Social Affairs. This is similar to the U.S. screening process for foster parents and includes, among other things, regular visits by a social worker to determine whether prospective parents are able to care for the child properly. The number of visits is determined by the social worker.
The process for fostering a child from Egypt generally includes the following steps:
Not all orphanages release orphans to be fostered at one's home. Adoptive parents are encouraged to seek the advice of the Ministry of Social Affairs about orphanages which release orphans to be fostered in the foster family's home.
Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible to adopt (foster), and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central fostering authority in Egypt 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 fostered according to Egypt'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.
Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Egypt
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Egypt generally includes the following:
A social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs will visit the parents to make sure that the foster family will be able to provide all types of support to the child. Once all documents are complete, they will be sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs Committee for adjudication. If all conditions are met, the Ministry of Social Affairs will issue an approval or denial. Foster parents are notified and then are free to visit an orphanage and choose a child.
The foster family will sign a contract with the orphanage showing that the orphanage is officially releasing the child to the foster family and that the foster family will allow a social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs to visit the child on a regular basis to determine whether the foster parents are able to care for the child properly. (If the parents are planning to move the child permanently to the U.S., they should discuss this in detail with the Ministry of Social Affairs in advance.)
ADOPTION APPLICATION: All prospective parents are required to apply to the Ministry of Social Affairs to qualify to become foster parents. A social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs will visit the parents to make sure that the foster family will be capable to provide all types of support to an infant. Once all documents are complete, they will be sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs Committee for adjudication. If all conditions are met, Ministry of Social Affairs will issue an approval or denial. Foster parents are notified and then are free to visit an orphanage to choose a child.
The foster family will sign a contract with the orphanage showing that the orphanage is officially releasing the child to the foster family and that the foster family will allow a social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs to visit the infant on a regular basis to determine whether the foster parents are able to care for the child properly. (This issue should be discussed in detail with the Ministry of Social Affairs in advance, if the parents are planning to move the child permanently to the U.S.). Christians wishing to foster in Egypt should seek legal counsel from an Egyptian attorney in order to receive the most updated information regarding the proper procedures and documentation for fostering or acquiring custody of an Egyptian orphan.
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 more on the Judicial Assistance section of our website
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
After you finalize the fostering process (or gain legal custody) in Egypt, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Please note: Sharia's law does not allow for an orphan to take the family name of a non-biological parent. Christians may request that the child's name be changed during the fostering process. However, we strongly advise the prospective foster parents to seek legal advice from an Egyptian Attorney before trying to change the child's name in Egypt. Foster families can obtain a birth certificate for the child from the Egyptian Passport Office.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Egypt. Once prospective parents have satisfied the requirements of Egyptian law and are awarded legal custody with the right to remove the child from Egypt for immigration from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the prospective parent may apply for an Egyptian passport for the child from the Egyptian Passport Authority.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
*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.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Egypt. 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.
In addition to a U.S. passport, you 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 attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Egypt, 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 Egypt registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Egypt require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
The Ministry of Social Affairs conducts regularly scheduled visits after the fostering of the child to determine whether the foster parents are able to care for the child properly. However, if parents are planning to travel to the United States, they should discuss the possibility of waiving the visit requirements.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Egypt and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.
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 Egypt
Address: Consular Section, IV Unit
Embassy of the United States of America
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Tel: +(202) 2797-2200 or +(202) 2797-2201
Fax: +(202) 2797-2472
Email: ConsularCairoIV@state.gov or ConsularCairoACS@state.gov
Egypt's Adoption Authority
Address: Ministry of Social Affairs
Main office: 19, AlMarghani Street, Agouza
Tel: +202-3761-8183 / +202-3337-5404
Embassy of Egypt
Address: 3521 International Ct. N.W. Washington DC 20008
Fax: 202.244.4319 / 202.244.5131
*EGYPT also has consulates in: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston.
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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