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Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Eritrea

Country Information

Eritrea
State of Eritrea

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea. The Government of Eritrea restricts the travel of all foreign nationals in the country, including U.S. diplomats. These restrictions make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea. The Government of Eritrea restricts the travel of all foreign nationals in the country, including U.S. diplomats. These restrictions make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens outside the city of Asmara.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated February 22, 2017.

U.S. citizens are strongly advised to avoid travel near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border and the Southern Red Sea Region because of the presence of large numbers of Eritrean and Ethiopian troops along the contested border area, and because of the military tensions between the two countries. In June 2016, fighting in this region resulted in numerous deaths. U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to the contested Eritrea-Djibouti border region, where military troops patrol and tensions are high.

For further information:

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Embassy Messages

Asmara

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Declare amounts over $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Declare amounts over $10,000

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Telephone: (291) 1-120-004
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(291)1-120-004
Fax:  +(291) 1-124-255 and +(291) 1-127-584
Email: ConsularAsmara@state.gov

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Destination Description

See our Fact Sheet on Eritrea for additional information on U.S.-Eritrea relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport
  • Visa: Obtain your visa before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Eritrea website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Eritrean Embassy or Consulate.
  • Vaccination certificate: For travelers 9 months and older coming from countries with risk of Yellow Fever.

Electronic items: All electronic items (laptops, mobile phones, cameras etc) should be declared upon arrival. Failure to do so may result in their confiscation by customs officials when you depart.

Receipts: Visitors must save all receipts for purchases and foreign exchange and present these upon departure. Failure to report foreign currency or electronics, or meet customs requirements usually results in confiscation, fine and imprisonment.

Exit Visas: U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals who enter the country on an Eritrean passport or national ID card must obtain an exit visa prior to departure. All long-term residents must also obtain an exit visa.

  • Exit visas, for any traveler, may be denied. 
  • U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals who left the country after 1993 may not be allowed to depart Eritrea after visiting.
  • The Eritrean government requires that U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals pay a 2 percent income tax on overseas earnings.
  • The exit visa application process can significantly delay travel plans.

Departure Tax: There is a $20 airport departure tax normally included in airline ticket prices. 

HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Eritrea.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.  

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Safety and Security

See the Department of State Travel Warning for Eritrea.

Eritrea experiences persistent food, water, and fuel shortages.

Travel Permits: All foreign nationals, including U.S. Embassy officials, are required to obtain permits to travel outside of Asmara. Applications for travel permits are available at the two Ministry of Tourism offices located on Harnet Avenue and Airport Road. If you encounter difficulties while outside of the Asmara area, the Embassy’s ability to provide consular services may be limited.

Avoid travel to all border regions due to ongoing instability, crime, kidnapping, and unmarked minefields throughout the country. Borders may close without notice.

Avoid remote Eritrean islands, some of which may have military facilities.

Safety Precautions:

  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings.
  • Monitor local and international news from reliable sources and consular messages.

Landmines: Landmines continue to occasionally cause death and injury. Exercise caution in remote areas or off main roads. Avoid walking and hiking in the countryside. Use caution particularly around:

  • north and west of Keren
  • Massawa
  • Ghinda
  • Agordat
  • Barentu
  • south of Tessenae
  • Nakfa
  • AdiKeih
  • Arezza
  • Dekemhare
  • 25 mile-wide region (40 km) between the Setit and Mereb Rivers west of the Eritrean-Ethiopian border

Crime: Crime in Eritrea is increasing. While most reported criminal incidents in Asmara involve crimes of opportunity, car and home burglaries and sexual assaults are on the rise.

  • Avoid walking alone. 
  • Do not display cash and valuable personal property.
  • Dress conservatively.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible. Report crimes to the local police at (291)-1-127-799 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (291)1-120-004.

In Asmara and throughout Eritrea, in an emergency, dial
(291)1-127-799 for the police
(291)1-202-099 for the fire department
(291)1-202-914 / 201-917 / 201-606 for medical emergencies

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in case of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a lost or stolen passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs, result in long prison sentences and heavy fines. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Do not attempt to take advantage of street or black market exchange in foreign currency.

U.S.-Eritrean Dual Nationals: Eritrea does not recognize dual nationality. Dual U.S. - Eritrean citizens are considered Eritrean nationals by the Eritrean authorities. This limits our ability to provide consular services.

You may be subject to certain obligations, including taxes and conscription into national service.  You need proof of payment of the 2 percent income tax to obtain any civil documents (e.g. birth certificates, educational transcripts, property ownership records, court records). Inquire at an Eritrean embassy or consulate regarding your status before you travel.

Military Service for Dual U.S. – Eritrean citizens:
The National Service Proclamation of October 1995 states that any national between the age of 18 and 50 shall have a duty to participate in National Service.

Photography:  Visitors are advised to exercise caution when taking photographs in Eritrea. Often there are no signs/posts stating “no photography,” but individuals found taking photos of military or government installations can face a warning, harassment, confiscation, arrest, detention, or interrogation. Do not take photos of Eritreans without permission.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Eritrean law enforcement officials routinely block access to foreign nationals in detention. The U.S. Embassy therefore may not receive notification or be allowed access to you if you are detained. See our webpage for further information.

Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, yet landlines are available in most homes and are more reliable than cellular service. It is very difficult for a tourist to obtain a SIM card for cellular service. There is no data service or roaming available.

Currency: The Eritrean Nakfa (ERN) is the official currency. The economy is cash-based and there are no ATMs. Credit cards are not accepted, except by a few airline offices. It is illegal to use foreign currency to make purchases except at a few official hotels where foreigners are required to pay in U.S. dollars or Euros. Most will accept U.S. bills printed only from 2003 or later.

It is illegal to exchange money anywhere other than at a state foreign currency exchange Himbol branch. You must declare all foreign currency brought into Eritrea in excess of $10,000 (or the equivalent) and on departure, you must prove that any missing foreign currency was exchanged at a branch of the Himbol or provide receipts of the items you purchased.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is punishable by 10 days to three years incarceration. Antidiscrimination laws relating to LGBTI persons do not exist, and those complicit in abuses are not investigated and punished. There are no known LGBTI organizations in the country. Hotels do not allow two females or two males to share one room unless it has separate beds.  

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. Within Asmara, sidewalks are plentiful, although most are in bad condition and do not have cutouts. Few buildings have elevators.  Due to frequent power outages, these elevators may not be functioning.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Domestic violence, punishable as assault and battery, is commonplace but such cases rarely are reported or brought to trial. No information is available on the prevalence of rape.  

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Consult the CDC website for Eritrea prior to travel.

Medical facilities and physicians are limited. Medicines are in short supply. Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Bring preventative and over-the counter medicines with you.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.American citizens who entered Eritrea on an Eritrean visa (those that do not hold an Eritrean national ID) must pay for medical services in U.S. dollars. If you will be an inpatient, a down payment is required.

Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: See the CDC website for recommended vaccinations.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Stay on main roads away from border areas. Rural roads and off-road driving can be dangerous. There are minefields in certain areas of the country. Detonations have occurred on relatively well-traveled roads in and near the Gash Barka region of western Eritrea. The roads between Asmara, Massawa, Mendefera, Dekemhare, Barentu, and Keren are paved but roads to small villages are not. Mountain roads, which are narrow and winding with crumbling edges, do not generally have guardrails or signs. Road debris is common during the rainy season from October to May. The Filfil Road from Asmara to Massawa has a large amount of mountain debris and has washed away in parts. Traffic safety is also hazardous due to excessive speed, slow motorized carts, pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, fog, and poor lighting.

Traffic Laws: If you wish to drive in Eritrea, you must obtain an Eritrea driver’s license; you may not use your U.S. or international driver’s license. The police may stop drivers randomly to inspect driver’s licenses.

Accidents: If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should contact the local police immediately. Leave your car in place until the local police arrive to take a report. If a crowd forms and becomes hostile, contact the U.S. Embassy.

Public Transportation: Buses and taxis, both of which run on pre-established routes, are inexpensive.

Buses: Extreme over-crowding makes them unsafe and pickpocketing is common.

Taxis: Requests for any deviation from the route can result in significantly higher fares. You may ask a driver in advance not to take other passengers if you pay a higher fare.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety and Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Eritrea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Eritrea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Pirates operate on the Red Sea, and recreational vessels should avoid the region. Commercial vessels without explicit agreements with Eritrean authorities should avoid Eritrean territorial waters. The Eritrean government has seized ships which do not hold such agreements. These seizures have resulted in lengthy detentions of international crew members. Commercial/tourist ships are not allowed to dock at some Eritrean ports, even to refuel. Consult the International Maritime Bureau's Live Piracy Report for information on maritime advisories.

Further information can be found on the following websites: 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Telephone: (291) 1-120-004
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(291)1-120-004
Fax:  +(291) 1-124-255 and +(291) 1-127-584
Email: ConsularAsmara@state.gov

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Both adoptions to the United States from Eritrea and from the United States to Eritrea are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Eritrea is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention or “orphan” cases. The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider acts as a primary provider in every case, and that adoption service providers providing adoption services on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information. 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 USCIS website on the impact on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications under the UAA, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

The Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea addresses various elements of adoption, but there is no single adoption law. There may be regulations within the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare that are unpublished but still apply to Intercountry adoptions. As a result, the adoption process may lack uniformity or consistency. Regulations change often and without notice to the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea or other foreign entities. Enforcement of laws and regulations is irregular. The Department of State recommends prospective adoptive parents verify requirements with legal counsel experienced in adoption law in Eritrea or directly with the Eritrean authorities.  In the U.S. Embassy's experience, all adoptions by U.S. citizens have been by Eritrean-American dual nationals, because Eritrean law requires at least one parent to be of Eritrean heritage. Most adoption cases involve older teen-aged children where one parent has died and one parent has abandoned the child. It is usually difficult to prove that the child meets the U.S. immigration requirements for "orphan."

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Eritrea, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can 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.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Eritrea must meet the following requirements:

  • Residency: A 2011 Eritrean proclamation stipulates that at least one adoptive parent must be of Eritrean heritage and have completed national service in order to adopt an Eritrean child. 
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Under the Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea (TCCE) any person of legal age, 18 years in Eritrea, may adopt.
  •  Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may be single or married. Eritrea is an extremely conservative country, and same-sex couples would likely not be allowed to adopt there. 
  • Income: The TCCE does not specify a minimum required income to adopt, but the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare may require adopting parents to show they have sufficient income to maintain and support the child without difficulty.
  • Other: Requirements not listed in the TCCE, but possibly sought by the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare could include: the ability to show they can care to the child and proof of the adopting parents’ physical and mental health.
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Who Can Be Adopted

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

  • Relinquishment: None Specified 
  • Abandonment: None Specified
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The TCCE does not specify an age limit for the adoptive child. Children 15 years or older must give consent to the adoption contract. 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 has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).
  • Sibling Adoptions: The TCCE does not exclude adoption of sibling groups.  
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None Specified
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is no such requirement under the law.

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 this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Eritrea’s Adoption Authority

Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Eritrea generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Eritrea’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Eritrea (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption).
  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

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Eritrea, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. As of July 14, 2014, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA, unless an exception applies. The primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (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.

There are no authorized adoption agencies in Eritrea. However, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare facilitates and oversees both domestic and intercountry adoptions.

If there is a request regarding an intercountry adoption, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare assists with the processing and obtaining documentation regarding the adoption. In the event prospective adoptive parents wish to consult an attorney, a list of attorneys can be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Asmara website. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Department of State can vouch for qualifications of attorneys on this list.

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

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

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also 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 before you identify a child to adopt. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. Regardless of which approach you take, the home study must meet the same requirements. As of July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, the home study must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311 and 22 CFR Part 96.47.

3.  Apply to Eritrea’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. law, you must also submit an adoption application to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare of Eritrea to be found eligible to adopt by Eritrea.

If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Eritrea will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child, and must conform to the recommendations in the home study for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Eritrea’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 Eritrea or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption

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

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare facilitates and oversees both domestic and intercountry adoptions involving children in Eritrea.  The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare signs the adoption contract as the guardian for the children, and verifies that prospective adoptive parents satisfy the conditions for adoption.
  • Role of the Court: All adoptions must be finalized through the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare and/or by the High Court. For adoptions of children under the custody of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, the adoption must have approval of both the Ministry and the High Court. Adoptions of children not under Ministry custody can be processed solely through the High Court. Prospective adoptive parents must first work with local clerks of the municipal government of the area where the child resides to obtain a statement that transfers custody from the biological parent(s) or relative (if available) or the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare to the prospective adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents submit the request for transfer of custody and the application to adopt to the High Court. The court is required to hear the testimony of children age 10 and above, though only children 15 and above must consent for the adoption to be approved. The court may not approve the adoption if the parties do not show good reasons for the adoption and cannot demonstrate how it is advantageous to the child. It is the in judge’s discretion whether the adoption meets these criteria. The adoption goes into effect as of the date the High Court's judge signs the petition.  
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no authorized adoption agencies in Eritrea. Starting July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, 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 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: Most children in orphanages are “abandoned” children, meaning they have no living parents or relatives to care for them. The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare has custody of abandoned children and the authority to place these children with prospective adoptive parents. In these cases, the application is made to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. However, some children residing in orphanages also have surviving parent(s) and/or distant relatives. For such children, as well as for adoptions conducted directly between the birth relatives and the prospective adoptive parents, the application can be made to any court before proceeding to the High Court for final approval of the adoption contract.  Before adopting a child, prospective adoptive parents should consider speaking with an attorney to ensure the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. 

For the child to exit Eritrea, an exit visa is required. Eritrean Immigration will place an exit visa in the child's Eritrean passport. The fee for this service is about $7.

If the child will transit through Frankfurt, Germany, or Amsterdam, Netherlands, en route to the United States, a Schengen States transit visa is required. Adoptive parents can apply for a Schengen States transit visa at the Italian Embassy in Asmara (about $45). If the child remains in the Frankfurt airport, and does not pass through immigration controls, the child doesn't need a transit visa. An adopted Eritrean child transiting the Amsterdam airport will still need a transit visa.

  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Eritrea have no set time frame to complete from the time a dossier accepted by the adoption authority to the time the final adoption or custody order is issued.
  • Adoption Fees:  Under Eritrean law prospective adoptive parents are required to retain an attorney for adoption proceedings. Adoption fees paid to the attorney vary.  There is no specific fee for filing an adoption application with the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. In private contracts, the parties may be required to pay service fee to the person who prepared the contract, which normally does not exceed $70. This amount may be larger if the contract is drafted by a lawyer. The court fee is nominal, at present $2. The fee to obtain the birth certificate may not exceed $7. If the adoptive child is younger than 18, the passport fee is $200. If the child is 18 or older, the fee is $270.
  • Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by themselves directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Eritrea, with your adoption service provider. Please also refer to information concerning the Hague Complaint Registry. Improper payments may have the appearance of buying achild, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in Eritrea at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business.  Further, the UAA and IAA make it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing Central Authority functions. 
  • Documents Required:
    • A written statement from the prospective adoptive parents explaining why an Eritrean child is preferred;
    • Original birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent(s),
    • Original marriage license/certificate, if applicable. Note – If originals are not available, certified copies must be authenticated in the United States;
    • An original Eritrean police clearance for each of the prospective adoptive parent(s) including those residing outside Eritrea;
    • A medical certificate/clearance for each of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
    • An original home study prepared by a qualified social worker, which specifies the following:
      • Personal and family status;
      • Character and personal qualities
      • Educational background;
      • Duration and stability of marriage;
      • Financial and medical situations;
      • Present address and U.S. address;
      • Condition of home in country of residence;
      • Address and names of family of origin (i.e., parents); and
      • The agency’s recommendation regarding the prospective adopting parent(s) suitability as an adoptive parent with an original translation into Tigrigna. Note: The agency that conducts the home study and issues the recommendation must have approval to do so in the parents’ state of residence. If adoptive parents establish residency in Eritrea, they may submit an Eritrean home study instead;
    • Evidence of economic status, which must include a letter from prospective adoptive parents' employer showing salary, date of employment, position in the organization and a bank statement. Proof of life insurance and health insurance, and other proof of income or assets may also be submitted;
    • Three letters of reference from friends, relatives, church, or other sources qualified to assess prospective adoptive parents' character, the stability of their marriage, and their ability to parent;
    • Two passport-size photographs of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
    • If the prospective adoptive parent(s) do not come to Eritrea together to oversee this entire process, then they must execute a power of attorney for their adoption agency. If only one parent will travel to Eritrea, the other parent must execute a power of attorney for him/her. That power of attorney must be authenticated by the Eritrean Embassy in Washington, D.C. This applies to all prospective adopting parents living in the U.S. - Eritrean nationals and non-Eritreans alike.
    • “Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency" signed by the adoption agency handling the adoption, or, for private adopters, from the organization that provided the home study, or by the parents' employer, in which the parent(s) agree to allow follow-up visits by a U.S. social worker, and to submit regular progress report to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare on the child's (or children's) adjustment to/development in the adoptive home. These visits should be scheduled three months, six months, and one year after the adoption and annually thereafter until the child reaches 18. This form must be forwarded together with the psychosocial study/home study and an original translation into Tigrigna, by either the parents or the adoption agency; and
    • Verification by the adoption agency or home study organization on the child's qualification for naturalization under the laws of the parents' country of residence with an original translation into Tigrigna.

 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 for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption [or gain legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption] in Eritrea, USCIS must determine whether 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. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies or if your case is UAA grandfathered. For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider in your case and the adjudicating officer may ask for the name and contact information of the primary provider if not provided in your Form I-600 petition. This information is required and, without it, your Form I-600 petition cannot be approved. 

If you have an approved, valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS or in person at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Nairobi, Kenya 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 adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.

For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition.  Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the orphan adoption process. It can take months to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case.  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.

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

Now that 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] and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Eritrea, 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 United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. Adoptive parents may apply for a birth certificate in Eritrea by submitting a request to the Municipality of the child’s residence.

If the request is made within 90 days of the child’s birth, the Municipality will issue the birth certificate automatically.

If the request is made after 90 days, the family must go to the zonal administration of their district with the support of three witnesses to request approval for the issuance of a birth certificate. After approval, the Administration will give applicants a sealed envelope with the biographic information to be delivered to the municipality. Based on the data, the municipality will issue the birth certificate.

Eritrea Passport

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

At least one adoptive parent must be of Eritrean origin and hold an Eritrean identity card. If neither adoptive parent meets this requirement, even if a legal adoption has been completed, the local administrative zone will not issue a passport to the child. The biological parents will need to apply for the passport, or in the cases of abandoned and orphaned children, the U.S. Consular Officer processing the Immigrant Visa must request authorization for a passport waiver or travel letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (as all visa operations are closed in Eritrea). This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer 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. 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. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. 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.

You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya website. The consular section can also be reached at (254) (020)-3753705 or (020)-363-6492.

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.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

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

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

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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 has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any 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 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 Eritrea

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 Eritrea, 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 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 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 Eritrea to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

See above description of Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency in the Documents Required section for post-adoption reporting requirements.

We urge you to comply with Eritrea’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 Eritrea’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. 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. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Complaints

If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Asmara, 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 petition process.

The Hague 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 have been out of substantial 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 Hague Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Eritrea
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Tel:  (291)(1)12-00-04
Fax:  (291)(1)12-75-84
Email:  ConsularAsmara@state.gov
Internet:  er.usembassy.gov


Eritrea’s Adoption Authority

Ministry of Labor and Welfare
P. O. Box 5252
Asmara, Eritrea
Tel:  (291)(1)15-18-46


Embassy of Eritrea
1708 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel:  (202) 319-1991
Fax:  (202) 319-1304
Email:  girma@embassyeritrea.org
Internet:  embassyeritrea.org


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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or I-600 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 24 Months
A-2 None Multiple 24 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D N/A N/A N/A
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None Two 3 Months
D None Two 3 Months
E-1 2 N/A N/A N/A
E-2 2 N/A N/A N/A
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 24 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None One 3 Months 3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None One 3 Months
J-1 4 None One 3 Months
J-2 4 None One 3 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Two 3 Months
M-2 None Two 3 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available

Official birth certificates are available from Asmara and other Eritrean municipalities.  Most municipalities issue documents that are computerized, assigned identification numbers, and authenticated by local authorities; however documents from remote municipalities may be hand written.  There are two types of birth certificates:  1. without a photo, and 2. with a photo, but does not list the mother’s name.  It is very common, especially for older individuals and those living in rural areas, to not have a birth certificate.  However, it is relatively easy to obtain one.  It is common for birth certificates to be issued long after the individual’s birth.

Persons applying for birth certificates should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present hospital birth records, baptismal certificate, and/or notarized statement by witnesses familiar with the birth.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.Death/Burial

Requests for copies of previously issued birth certificates should be addressed to the Office of Civil Status, Municipality of Asmara or to the equivalent office of any other municipality offices in which the birth was registered.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney

Possible inconsistencies: When applying for a national ID, the Immigration department may ask for a newly re-issued, computerized birth certificate.  Some people may have birth certificates issued very recently.  Since many older individuals were never issued a birth certificate, there may be issues with Dates of Birth.  The Eritrean National ID only lists a year of birth, and it is easy for a person to go to the municipality with three witnesses and obtain a birth certificate with any date of birth they state.  

 

Death/Burial

Available

Local Eritrean hospitals will issue a Death Certificate Form for individuals who died in the hospital.  This From lists a specific cause of death and may be hand written.  A hospital may issue a Dead Body Certificate for individuals who arrived at the hospital already deceased.  An official Certificate of Death is issued by the local municipality, however the cause of the death listed may be very general (i.e. sickness).  The Certificates of Death are computerized, assigned registration numbers, and authenticated by local authorities.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available

Officially-issued marriage certificates are available from Asmara and other Eritrean municipalities. These documents are now computerized, assigned registration numbers, and authenticated by local authorities. 

Persons applying for marriage certificates should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present church documents and/or notarized statements by witnesses.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.  Requests should be addressed to the municipality office where the marriage was registered.

Requests for copies of previously issued marriage certificates should be addressed to the Office of Civil Status, Municipality of Asmara or to the equivalent office of any other municipality offices in which the birth was registered.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.

 

Divorce

 

Available

Obtaining a divorce is a rather lengthy process in Eritrea.  Each party must have two appointed family arbitrators, acceptable to the court. The first priority of these family arbitrators is reconciling the marriage. If not possible, they have to work out the details of the property settlements and child custody. After presenting a signed, stamped and approved (by all parties: spouse, family, arbitrators) copy of these agreements by the court, the municipality will issue a divorce certificate in Tigrigna and/or English.

Persons applying for divorce documents should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present the necessary documentation.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Available

In late 2015, the Eritrean government began issuing new national identity cards, for individuals over age 18.  These cards are plastic with holographic security features and the individual’s fingerprint on the back. They are in Tigrinya, Arabic, and English.   However, very few new identity cards are in circulation.  Most people still have the old cards which were issued many years ago, are hand-written (only in Tigrinya and Arabic), very poorly laminated, and easily altered.  Many individuals have applied for new ID cards with the Immigration and Nationality Department and their old ID cards have been hole-punched, though most have not received the new ID card yet.  There is a very long backlog of applications for the new IDs.

Persons applying for Identity card should contact Immigration and Nationality department. 

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

 

Unavailable

Very few Eritreans are able to obtain a police certificate. 

 

Court Records

 

Available

Most court records can be obtained through the courts.

 

Prison Records

 

Unavailable

Persons released from prison are rarely given an official release or any documentation to show that they were incarcerated by local authorities.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Eritrean passports issued prior to 2010 do not show the applicant's nationality as prescribed under the provisions of INA 101(A) (30). Posts may issue visas in the Eritrean passports, but should insist that another document indicating nationality (e.g., an ID card showing date, place of birth and citizenship, a birth certificate, etc.) is also presented with the passport when possible. Eritrean National ID cards are only issued in Tigrinya and Arabic to those over 18 years of age and are easily alterable, making proof of Eritrean citizenship difficult to determine. Embassy Asmara realizes the extra burden this places on DHS and other issuing posts. In addition, these passports have no identifiable security features. Bio data is hand-written, physical photographs are used, and lamination is of poor quality.

Eritrean passports issued during and after 2010 show the applicant's nationality and the Bio data and photographs are printed and machine readable. Laminations is of a better quality and numerous security features, both holographic and ultraviolet, are utilized.

Children under the age of 16 can travel on the Eritrean passport of a parent. Each accompanying child must be issued a separate visa, which is affixed to the traveling parent's passport.

Passports are issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a five year period. The Ministry or an Eritrean Embassy or Consulate may renew a passport multiple times for additional five year periods.

Other Records

Available
 

EDUCATION DOCUMENTS

Education Documents for all levels of study are available through the institution.  Matriculation results are available through the Testing center.

To be considered equivalent to a United States high school education, a student must take and pass matriculation exams after completing High School courses.  A GPA of 0.6 for males and 0.4 for female is necessary on the matriculation exams to apply for post-secondary education in Eritrea (see chart below). 
 

 

Since 2008

Previous years

Before 2003

Degree

2.00 for males

1.80 for females

2.00 for males

1.80 for females

2.4 and above for all

Diploma

1.2 -1.80 for males

1.0 – 1.60 for female

1.00 - 1.8 for males

0.8 –  1.6 for females

2.2 for all

Certificate

0.6 – 1.0 for males

0.4 – 0.8 for females

               ----

               ----                                

1.6 and 1.8  for all

 

Documents Post would accept to be satisfied that the education requirement is met:

  1. High School transcript(s) and Matriculation Exam Certificate, or

  2. Diploma or Degree certificates from a tertiary educational institution, or 

  3. Certificate from a tertiary educational institution along with High School transcript(s) and Matriculation Exam Certificate. Please note that a couple Certificate or Vocation programs do not require graduation from High School and/or Matriculation Exams.
     

Post Asmara is able to send education documents for verification with the Eritrean authorities if there are any specific concerns with documents.

BACKGROUND

From 1991-2002, high school completion was at grade 11.  The person only received one transcript through grade 11 from the secondary school s/he attended.   These individuals also must take matriculation exams.

After 2003, HS completion is grade 12, however grade 12 is finished during military service.  The person would receive 2 transcripts, one from the secondary school where s/he attended through grade 11, and another certificate from “Sawa” for grade 12.  Matriculation exams are mandatory when a student attends Sawa and s/he should have these results as well.  A student who completed grade 10 in a secondary school, then went for two years to a vocational school, can take the matriculation exams and as long as they receive the minimum GPA, they can apply for Post Secondary education.  This procedure will soon change and a student will receive a compiled transcript from their former high school as they would have completed 75% of their high school there, though we are not sure when.

After taking matriculation exams and passing with the required GPA, students are eligible to apply for a degree, diploma, certificate.  

Visa Issuing Posts

Asmara, Eritrea
(Embassy)

179 Alaa Street
P. O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea

Tel: (291-1) 12-00-04

Fax: (291-1) 12-42-55/ (291-1) 12-75-84

Consularasmara@state.gov

Visa Services

Available

NIV: Embassy Asmara ceased processing B1, B2, and B1/B2 visas to all Eritrean citizens, nationals and residents on September 13, 2017.  All other visa categories are issued.

IV: Embassy Asmara does not process Immigrant Visas.  All Immigrant Visas and Visas 92/93 for nationals of Eritrea are being processed by the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 319-1991 (202) 319-1304

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Telephone
+(291) 1-120-004
Emergency
+(291) 1-120-004
Fax
+(291) 1-124-255
Eritrea Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Eritrea
State of Eritrea
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Embassy Messages

Asmara

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Declare amounts over $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Declare amounts over $10,000

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Telephone: (291) 1-120-004
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(291)1-120-004
Fax:  +(291) 1-124-255 and +(291) 1-127-584
Email: ConsularAsmara@state.gov

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Destination Description

See our Fact Sheet on Eritrea for additional information on U.S.-Eritrea relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport
  • Visa: Obtain your visa before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Eritrea website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Eritrean Embassy or Consulate.
  • Vaccination certificate: For travelers 9 months and older coming from countries with risk of Yellow Fever.

Electronic items: All electronic items (laptops, mobile phones, cameras etc) should be declared upon arrival. Failure to do so may result in their confiscation by customs officials when you depart.

Receipts: Visitors must save all receipts for purchases and foreign exchange and present these upon departure. Failure to report foreign currency or electronics, or meet customs requirements usually results in confiscation, fine and imprisonment.

Exit Visas: U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals who enter the country on an Eritrean passport or national ID card must obtain an exit visa prior to departure. All long-term residents must also obtain an exit visa.

  • Exit visas, for any traveler, may be denied. 
  • U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals who left the country after 1993 may not be allowed to depart Eritrea after visiting.
  • The Eritrean government requires that U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals pay a 2 percent income tax on overseas earnings.
  • The exit visa application process can significantly delay travel plans.

Departure Tax: There is a $20 airport departure tax normally included in airline ticket prices. 

HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Eritrea.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.  

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Safety and Security

See the Department of State Travel Warning for Eritrea.

Eritrea experiences persistent food, water, and fuel shortages.

Travel Permits: All foreign nationals, including U.S. Embassy officials, are required to obtain permits to travel outside of Asmara. Applications for travel permits are available at the two Ministry of Tourism offices located on Harnet Avenue and Airport Road. If you encounter difficulties while outside of the Asmara area, the Embassy’s ability to provide consular services may be limited.

Avoid travel to all border regions due to ongoing instability, crime, kidnapping, and unmarked minefields throughout the country. Borders may close without notice.

Avoid remote Eritrean islands, some of which may have military facilities.

Safety Precautions:

  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings.
  • Monitor local and international news from reliable sources and consular messages.

Landmines: Landmines continue to occasionally cause death and injury. Exercise caution in remote areas or off main roads. Avoid walking and hiking in the countryside. Use caution particularly around:

  • north and west of Keren
  • Massawa
  • Ghinda
  • Agordat
  • Barentu
  • south of Tessenae
  • Nakfa
  • AdiKeih
  • Arezza
  • Dekemhare
  • 25 mile-wide region (40 km) between the Setit and Mereb Rivers west of the Eritrean-Ethiopian border

Crime: Crime in Eritrea is increasing. While most reported criminal incidents in Asmara involve crimes of opportunity, car and home burglaries and sexual assaults are on the rise.

  • Avoid walking alone. 
  • Do not display cash and valuable personal property.
  • Dress conservatively.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible. Report crimes to the local police at (291)-1-127-799 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (291)1-120-004.

In Asmara and throughout Eritrea, in an emergency, dial
(291)1-127-799 for the police
(291)1-202-099 for the fire department
(291)1-202-914 / 201-917 / 201-606 for medical emergencies

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in case of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a lost or stolen passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs, result in long prison sentences and heavy fines. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Do not attempt to take advantage of street or black market exchange in foreign currency.

U.S.-Eritrean Dual Nationals: Eritrea does not recognize dual nationality. Dual U.S. - Eritrean citizens are considered Eritrean nationals by the Eritrean authorities. This limits our ability to provide consular services.

You may be subject to certain obligations, including taxes and conscription into national service.  You need proof of payment of the 2 percent income tax to obtain any civil documents (e.g. birth certificates, educational transcripts, property ownership records, court records). Inquire at an Eritrean embassy or consulate regarding your status before you travel.

Military Service for Dual U.S. – Eritrean citizens:
The National Service Proclamation of October 1995 states that any national between the age of 18 and 50 shall have a duty to participate in National Service.

Photography:  Visitors are advised to exercise caution when taking photographs in Eritrea. Often there are no signs/posts stating “no photography,” but individuals found taking photos of military or government installations can face a warning, harassment, confiscation, arrest, detention, or interrogation. Do not take photos of Eritreans without permission.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Eritrean law enforcement officials routinely block access to foreign nationals in detention. The U.S. Embassy therefore may not receive notification or be allowed access to you if you are detained. See our webpage for further information.

Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, yet landlines are available in most homes and are more reliable than cellular service. It is very difficult for a tourist to obtain a SIM card for cellular service. There is no data service or roaming available.

Currency: The Eritrean Nakfa (ERN) is the official currency. The economy is cash-based and there are no ATMs. Credit cards are not accepted, except by a few airline offices. It is illegal to use foreign currency to make purchases except at a few official hotels where foreigners are required to pay in U.S. dollars or Euros. Most will accept U.S. bills printed only from 2003 or later.

It is illegal to exchange money anywhere other than at a state foreign currency exchange Himbol branch. You must declare all foreign currency brought into Eritrea in excess of $10,000 (or the equivalent) and on departure, you must prove that any missing foreign currency was exchanged at a branch of the Himbol or provide receipts of the items you purchased.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is punishable by 10 days to three years incarceration. Antidiscrimination laws relating to LGBTI persons do not exist, and those complicit in abuses are not investigated and punished. There are no known LGBTI organizations in the country. Hotels do not allow two females or two males to share one room unless it has separate beds.  

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. Within Asmara, sidewalks are plentiful, although most are in bad condition and do not have cutouts. Few buildings have elevators.  Due to frequent power outages, these elevators may not be functioning.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Domestic violence, punishable as assault and battery, is commonplace but such cases rarely are reported or brought to trial. No information is available on the prevalence of rape.  

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Consult the CDC website for Eritrea prior to travel.

Medical facilities and physicians are limited. Medicines are in short supply. Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Bring preventative and over-the counter medicines with you.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.American citizens who entered Eritrea on an Eritrean visa (those that do not hold an Eritrean national ID) must pay for medical services in U.S. dollars. If you will be an inpatient, a down payment is required.

Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: See the CDC website for recommended vaccinations.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Stay on main roads away from border areas. Rural roads and off-road driving can be dangerous. There are minefields in certain areas of the country. Detonations have occurred on relatively well-traveled roads in and near the Gash Barka region of western Eritrea. The roads between Asmara, Massawa, Mendefera, Dekemhare, Barentu, and Keren are paved but roads to small villages are not. Mountain roads, which are narrow and winding with crumbling edges, do not generally have guardrails or signs. Road debris is common during the rainy season from October to May. The Filfil Road from Asmara to Massawa has a large amount of mountain debris and has washed away in parts. Traffic safety is also hazardous due to excessive speed, slow motorized carts, pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, fog, and poor lighting.

Traffic Laws: If you wish to drive in Eritrea, you must obtain an Eritrea driver’s license; you may not use your U.S. or international driver’s license. The police may stop drivers randomly to inspect driver’s licenses.

Accidents: If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should contact the local police immediately. Leave your car in place until the local police arrive to take a report. If a crowd forms and becomes hostile, contact the U.S. Embassy.

Public Transportation: Buses and taxis, both of which run on pre-established routes, are inexpensive.

Buses: Extreme over-crowding makes them unsafe and pickpocketing is common.

Taxis: Requests for any deviation from the route can result in significantly higher fares. You may ask a driver in advance not to take other passengers if you pay a higher fare.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety and Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Eritrea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Eritrea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Pirates operate on the Red Sea, and recreational vessels should avoid the region. Commercial vessels without explicit agreements with Eritrean authorities should avoid Eritrean territorial waters. The Eritrean government has seized ships which do not hold such agreements. These seizures have resulted in lengthy detentions of international crew members. Commercial/tourist ships are not allowed to dock at some Eritrean ports, even to refuel. Consult the International Maritime Bureau's Live Piracy Report for information on maritime advisories.

Further information can be found on the following websites: 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Telephone: (291) 1-120-004
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(291)1-120-004
Fax:  +(291) 1-124-255 and +(291) 1-127-584
Email: ConsularAsmara@state.gov

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Both adoptions to the United States from Eritrea and from the United States to Eritrea are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Eritrea is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention or “orphan” cases. The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider acts as a primary provider in every case, and that adoption service providers providing adoption services on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information. 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 USCIS website on the impact on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications under the UAA, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

The Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea addresses various elements of adoption, but there is no single adoption law. There may be regulations within the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare that are unpublished but still apply to Intercountry adoptions. As a result, the adoption process may lack uniformity or consistency. Regulations change often and without notice to the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea or other foreign entities. Enforcement of laws and regulations is irregular. The Department of State recommends prospective adoptive parents verify requirements with legal counsel experienced in adoption law in Eritrea or directly with the Eritrean authorities.  In the U.S. Embassy's experience, all adoptions by U.S. citizens have been by Eritrean-American dual nationals, because Eritrean law requires at least one parent to be of Eritrean heritage. Most adoption cases involve older teen-aged children where one parent has died and one parent has abandoned the child. It is usually difficult to prove that the child meets the U.S. immigration requirements for "orphan."

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Eritrea, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can 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.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Eritrea must meet the following requirements:

  • Residency: A 2011 Eritrean proclamation stipulates that at least one adoptive parent must be of Eritrean heritage and have completed national service in order to adopt an Eritrean child. 
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Under the Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea (TCCE) any person of legal age, 18 years in Eritrea, may adopt.
  •  Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may be single or married. Eritrea is an extremely conservative country, and same-sex couples would likely not be allowed to adopt there. 
  • Income: The TCCE does not specify a minimum required income to adopt, but the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare may require adopting parents to show they have sufficient income to maintain and support the child without difficulty.
  • Other: Requirements not listed in the TCCE, but possibly sought by the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare could include: the ability to show they can care to the child and proof of the adopting parents’ physical and mental health.
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Who Can Be Adopted

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

  • Relinquishment: None Specified 
  • Abandonment: None Specified
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The TCCE does not specify an age limit for the adoptive child. Children 15 years or older must give consent to the adoption contract. 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 has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).
  • Sibling Adoptions: The TCCE does not exclude adoption of sibling groups.  
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None Specified
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is no such requirement under the law.

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 this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Eritrea’s Adoption Authority

Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Eritrea generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Eritrea’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Eritrea (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption).
  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

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Eritrea, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. As of July 14, 2014, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA, unless an exception applies. The primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (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.

There are no authorized adoption agencies in Eritrea. However, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare facilitates and oversees both domestic and intercountry adoptions.

If there is a request regarding an intercountry adoption, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare assists with the processing and obtaining documentation regarding the adoption. In the event prospective adoptive parents wish to consult an attorney, a list of attorneys can be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Asmara website. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Department of State can vouch for qualifications of attorneys on this list.

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

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

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also 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 before you identify a child to adopt. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. Regardless of which approach you take, the home study must meet the same requirements. As of July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, the home study must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311 and 22 CFR Part 96.47.

3.  Apply to Eritrea’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. law, you must also submit an adoption application to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare of Eritrea to be found eligible to adopt by Eritrea.

If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Eritrea will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child, and must conform to the recommendations in the home study for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Eritrea’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 Eritrea or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption

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

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare facilitates and oversees both domestic and intercountry adoptions involving children in Eritrea.  The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare signs the adoption contract as the guardian for the children, and verifies that prospective adoptive parents satisfy the conditions for adoption.
  • Role of the Court: All adoptions must be finalized through the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare and/or by the High Court. For adoptions of children under the custody of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare, the adoption must have approval of both the Ministry and the High Court. Adoptions of children not under Ministry custody can be processed solely through the High Court. Prospective adoptive parents must first work with local clerks of the municipal government of the area where the child resides to obtain a statement that transfers custody from the biological parent(s) or relative (if available) or the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare to the prospective adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents submit the request for transfer of custody and the application to adopt to the High Court. The court is required to hear the testimony of children age 10 and above, though only children 15 and above must consent for the adoption to be approved. The court may not approve the adoption if the parties do not show good reasons for the adoption and cannot demonstrate how it is advantageous to the child. It is the in judge’s discretion whether the adoption meets these criteria. The adoption goes into effect as of the date the High Court's judge signs the petition.  
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no authorized adoption agencies in Eritrea. Starting July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, 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 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: Most children in orphanages are “abandoned” children, meaning they have no living parents or relatives to care for them. The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare has custody of abandoned children and the authority to place these children with prospective adoptive parents. In these cases, the application is made to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. However, some children residing in orphanages also have surviving parent(s) and/or distant relatives. For such children, as well as for adoptions conducted directly between the birth relatives and the prospective adoptive parents, the application can be made to any court before proceeding to the High Court for final approval of the adoption contract.  Before adopting a child, prospective adoptive parents should consider speaking with an attorney to ensure the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. 

For the child to exit Eritrea, an exit visa is required. Eritrean Immigration will place an exit visa in the child's Eritrean passport. The fee for this service is about $7.

If the child will transit through Frankfurt, Germany, or Amsterdam, Netherlands, en route to the United States, a Schengen States transit visa is required. Adoptive parents can apply for a Schengen States transit visa at the Italian Embassy in Asmara (about $45). If the child remains in the Frankfurt airport, and does not pass through immigration controls, the child doesn't need a transit visa. An adopted Eritrean child transiting the Amsterdam airport will still need a transit visa.

  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Eritrea have no set time frame to complete from the time a dossier accepted by the adoption authority to the time the final adoption or custody order is issued.
  • Adoption Fees:  Under Eritrean law prospective adoptive parents are required to retain an attorney for adoption proceedings. Adoption fees paid to the attorney vary.  There is no specific fee for filing an adoption application with the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. In private contracts, the parties may be required to pay service fee to the person who prepared the contract, which normally does not exceed $70. This amount may be larger if the contract is drafted by a lawyer. The court fee is nominal, at present $2. The fee to obtain the birth certificate may not exceed $7. If the adoptive child is younger than 18, the passport fee is $200. If the child is 18 or older, the fee is $270.
  • Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by themselves directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Eritrea, with your adoption service provider. Please also refer to information concerning the Hague Complaint Registry. Improper payments may have the appearance of buying achild, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in Eritrea at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business.  Further, the UAA and IAA make it unlawful to improperly influence relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing Central Authority functions. 
  • Documents Required:
    • A written statement from the prospective adoptive parents explaining why an Eritrean child is preferred;
    • Original birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent(s),
    • Original marriage license/certificate, if applicable. Note – If originals are not available, certified copies must be authenticated in the United States;
    • An original Eritrean police clearance for each of the prospective adoptive parent(s) including those residing outside Eritrea;
    • A medical certificate/clearance for each of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
    • An original home study prepared by a qualified social worker, which specifies the following:
      • Personal and family status;
      • Character and personal qualities
      • Educational background;
      • Duration and stability of marriage;
      • Financial and medical situations;
      • Present address and U.S. address;
      • Condition of home in country of residence;
      • Address and names of family of origin (i.e., parents); and
      • The agency’s recommendation regarding the prospective adopting parent(s) suitability as an adoptive parent with an original translation into Tigrigna. Note: The agency that conducts the home study and issues the recommendation must have approval to do so in the parents’ state of residence. If adoptive parents establish residency in Eritrea, they may submit an Eritrean home study instead;
    • Evidence of economic status, which must include a letter from prospective adoptive parents' employer showing salary, date of employment, position in the organization and a bank statement. Proof of life insurance and health insurance, and other proof of income or assets may also be submitted;
    • Three letters of reference from friends, relatives, church, or other sources qualified to assess prospective adoptive parents' character, the stability of their marriage, and their ability to parent;
    • Two passport-size photographs of the prospective adoptive parent(s);
    • If the prospective adoptive parent(s) do not come to Eritrea together to oversee this entire process, then they must execute a power of attorney for their adoption agency. If only one parent will travel to Eritrea, the other parent must execute a power of attorney for him/her. That power of attorney must be authenticated by the Eritrean Embassy in Washington, D.C. This applies to all prospective adopting parents living in the U.S. - Eritrean nationals and non-Eritreans alike.
    • “Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency" signed by the adoption agency handling the adoption, or, for private adopters, from the organization that provided the home study, or by the parents' employer, in which the parent(s) agree to allow follow-up visits by a U.S. social worker, and to submit regular progress report to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare on the child's (or children's) adjustment to/development in the adoptive home. These visits should be scheduled three months, six months, and one year after the adoption and annually thereafter until the child reaches 18. This form must be forwarded together with the psychosocial study/home study and an original translation into Tigrigna, by either the parents or the adoption agency; and
    • Verification by the adoption agency or home study organization on the child's qualification for naturalization under the laws of the parents' country of residence with an original translation into Tigrigna.

 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 for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption [or gain legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption] in Eritrea, USCIS must determine whether 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. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies or if your case is UAA grandfathered. For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider in your case and the adjudicating officer may ask for the name and contact information of the primary provider if not provided in your Form I-600 petition. This information is required and, without it, your Form I-600 petition cannot be approved. 

If you have an approved, valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS or in person at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Nairobi, Kenya 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 adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.

For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition.  Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the orphan adoption process. It can take months to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case.  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.

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

Now that 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] and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in Eritrea, 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 United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. Adoptive parents may apply for a birth certificate in Eritrea by submitting a request to the Municipality of the child’s residence.

If the request is made within 90 days of the child’s birth, the Municipality will issue the birth certificate automatically.

If the request is made after 90 days, the family must go to the zonal administration of their district with the support of three witnesses to request approval for the issuance of a birth certificate. After approval, the Administration will give applicants a sealed envelope with the biographic information to be delivered to the municipality. Based on the data, the municipality will issue the birth certificate.

Eritrea Passport

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

At least one adoptive parent must be of Eritrean origin and hold an Eritrean identity card. If neither adoptive parent meets this requirement, even if a legal adoption has been completed, the local administrative zone will not issue a passport to the child. The biological parents will need to apply for the passport, or in the cases of abandoned and orphaned children, the U.S. Consular Officer processing the Immigrant Visa must request authorization for a passport waiver or travel letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (as all visa operations are closed in Eritrea). This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer 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. 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. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. 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.

You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya website. The consular section can also be reached at (254) (020)-3753705 or (020)-363-6492.

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.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

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

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

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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 has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any 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 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 Eritrea

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 Eritrea, 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 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 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 Eritrea to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

See above description of Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency in the Documents Required section for post-adoption reporting requirements.

We urge you to comply with Eritrea’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 Eritrea’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. 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. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Complaints

If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Asmara, 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 petition process.

The Hague 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 have been out of substantial 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 Hague Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Eritrea
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Tel:  (291)(1)12-00-04
Fax:  (291)(1)12-75-84
Email:  ConsularAsmara@state.gov
Internet:  er.usembassy.gov


Eritrea’s Adoption Authority

Ministry of Labor and Welfare
P. O. Box 5252
Asmara, Eritrea
Tel:  (291)(1)15-18-46


Embassy of Eritrea
1708 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel:  (202) 319-1991
Fax:  (202) 319-1304
Email:  girma@embassyeritrea.org
Internet:  embassyeritrea.org


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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or I-600 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 24 Months
A-2 None Multiple 24 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D N/A N/A N/A
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None Two 3 Months
D None Two 3 Months
E-1 2 N/A N/A N/A
E-2 2 N/A N/A N/A
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 24 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None One 3 Months 3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None One 3 Months
J-1 4 None One 3 Months
J-2 4 None One 3 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Two 3 Months
M-2 None Two 3 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available

Official birth certificates are available from Asmara and other Eritrean municipalities.  Most municipalities issue documents that are computerized, assigned identification numbers, and authenticated by local authorities; however documents from remote municipalities may be hand written.  There are two types of birth certificates:  1. without a photo, and 2. with a photo, but does not list the mother’s name.  It is very common, especially for older individuals and those living in rural areas, to not have a birth certificate.  However, it is relatively easy to obtain one.  It is common for birth certificates to be issued long after the individual’s birth.

Persons applying for birth certificates should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present hospital birth records, baptismal certificate, and/or notarized statement by witnesses familiar with the birth.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.Death/Burial

Requests for copies of previously issued birth certificates should be addressed to the Office of Civil Status, Municipality of Asmara or to the equivalent office of any other municipality offices in which the birth was registered.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney

Possible inconsistencies: When applying for a national ID, the Immigration department may ask for a newly re-issued, computerized birth certificate.  Some people may have birth certificates issued very recently.  Since many older individuals were never issued a birth certificate, there may be issues with Dates of Birth.  The Eritrean National ID only lists a year of birth, and it is easy for a person to go to the municipality with three witnesses and obtain a birth certificate with any date of birth they state.  

 

Death/Burial

Available

Local Eritrean hospitals will issue a Death Certificate Form for individuals who died in the hospital.  This From lists a specific cause of death and may be hand written.  A hospital may issue a Dead Body Certificate for individuals who arrived at the hospital already deceased.  An official Certificate of Death is issued by the local municipality, however the cause of the death listed may be very general (i.e. sickness).  The Certificates of Death are computerized, assigned registration numbers, and authenticated by local authorities.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available

Officially-issued marriage certificates are available from Asmara and other Eritrean municipalities. These documents are now computerized, assigned registration numbers, and authenticated by local authorities. 

Persons applying for marriage certificates should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present church documents and/or notarized statements by witnesses.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.  Requests should be addressed to the municipality office where the marriage was registered.

Requests for copies of previously issued marriage certificates should be addressed to the Office of Civil Status, Municipality of Asmara or to the equivalent office of any other municipality offices in which the birth was registered.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.

 

Divorce

 

Available

Obtaining a divorce is a rather lengthy process in Eritrea.  Each party must have two appointed family arbitrators, acceptable to the court. The first priority of these family arbitrators is reconciling the marriage. If not possible, they have to work out the details of the property settlements and child custody. After presenting a signed, stamped and approved (by all parties: spouse, family, arbitrators) copy of these agreements by the court, the municipality will issue a divorce certificate in Tigrigna and/or English.

Persons applying for divorce documents should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present the necessary documentation.  Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Available

In late 2015, the Eritrean government began issuing new national identity cards, for individuals over age 18.  These cards are plastic with holographic security features and the individual’s fingerprint on the back. They are in Tigrinya, Arabic, and English.   However, very few new identity cards are in circulation.  Most people still have the old cards which were issued many years ago, are hand-written (only in Tigrinya and Arabic), very poorly laminated, and easily altered.  Many individuals have applied for new ID cards with the Immigration and Nationality Department and their old ID cards have been hole-punched, though most have not received the new ID card yet.  There is a very long backlog of applications for the new IDs.

Persons applying for Identity card should contact Immigration and Nationality department. 

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

 

Unavailable

Very few Eritreans are able to obtain a police certificate. 

 

Court Records

 

Available

Most court records can be obtained through the courts.

 

Prison Records

 

Unavailable

Persons released from prison are rarely given an official release or any documentation to show that they were incarcerated by local authorities.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Eritrean passports issued prior to 2010 do not show the applicant's nationality as prescribed under the provisions of INA 101(A) (30). Posts may issue visas in the Eritrean passports, but should insist that another document indicating nationality (e.g., an ID card showing date, place of birth and citizenship, a birth certificate, etc.) is also presented with the passport when possible. Eritrean National ID cards are only issued in Tigrinya and Arabic to those over 18 years of age and are easily alterable, making proof of Eritrean citizenship difficult to determine. Embassy Asmara realizes the extra burden this places on DHS and other issuing posts. In addition, these passports have no identifiable security features. Bio data is hand-written, physical photographs are used, and lamination is of poor quality.

Eritrean passports issued during and after 2010 show the applicant's nationality and the Bio data and photographs are printed and machine readable. Laminations is of a better quality and numerous security features, both holographic and ultraviolet, are utilized.

Children under the age of 16 can travel on the Eritrean passport of a parent. Each accompanying child must be issued a separate visa, which is affixed to the traveling parent's passport.

Passports are issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a five year period. The Ministry or an Eritrean Embassy or Consulate may renew a passport multiple times for additional five year periods.

Other Records

Available
 

EDUCATION DOCUMENTS

Education Documents for all levels of study are available through the institution.  Matriculation results are available through the Testing center.

To be considered equivalent to a United States high school education, a student must take and pass matriculation exams after completing High School courses.  A GPA of 0.6 for males and 0.4 for female is necessary on the matriculation exams to apply for post-secondary education in Eritrea (see chart below). 
 

 

Since 2008

Previous years

Before 2003

Degree

2.00 for males

1.80 for females

2.00 for males

1.80 for females

2.4 and above for all

Diploma

1.2 -1.80 for males

1.0 – 1.60 for female

1.00 - 1.8 for males

0.8 –  1.6 for females

2.2 for all

Certificate

0.6 – 1.0 for males

0.4 – 0.8 for females

               ----

               ----                                

1.6 and 1.8  for all

 

Documents Post would accept to be satisfied that the education requirement is met:

  1. High School transcript(s) and Matriculation Exam Certificate, or

  2. Diploma or Degree certificates from a tertiary educational institution, or 

  3. Certificate from a tertiary educational institution along with High School transcript(s) and Matriculation Exam Certificate. Please note that a couple Certificate or Vocation programs do not require graduation from High School and/or Matriculation Exams.
     

Post Asmara is able to send education documents for verification with the Eritrean authorities if there are any specific concerns with documents.

BACKGROUND

From 1991-2002, high school completion was at grade 11.  The person only received one transcript through grade 11 from the secondary school s/he attended.   These individuals also must take matriculation exams.

After 2003, HS completion is grade 12, however grade 12 is finished during military service.  The person would receive 2 transcripts, one from the secondary school where s/he attended through grade 11, and another certificate from “Sawa” for grade 12.  Matriculation exams are mandatory when a student attends Sawa and s/he should have these results as well.  A student who completed grade 10 in a secondary school, then went for two years to a vocational school, can take the matriculation exams and as long as they receive the minimum GPA, they can apply for Post Secondary education.  This procedure will soon change and a student will receive a compiled transcript from their former high school as they would have completed 75% of their high school there, though we are not sure when.

After taking matriculation exams and passing with the required GPA, students are eligible to apply for a degree, diploma, certificate.  

Visa Issuing Posts

Asmara, Eritrea
(Embassy)

179 Alaa Street
P. O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea

Tel: (291-1) 12-00-04

Fax: (291-1) 12-42-55/ (291-1) 12-75-84

Consularasmara@state.gov

Visa Services

Available

NIV: Embassy Asmara ceased processing B1, B2, and B1/B2 visas to all Eritrean citizens, nationals and residents on September 13, 2017.  All other visa categories are issued.

IV: Embassy Asmara does not process Immigrant Visas.  All Immigrant Visas and Visas 92/93 for nationals of Eritrea are being processed by the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 319-1991 (202) 319-1304

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea
Telephone
+(291) 1-120-004
Emergency
+(291) 1-120-004
Fax
+(291) 1-124-255
Eritrea Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.