Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Guinea-Bissau Intercountry Adoption Information
Reconsider travel to Guinea-Bissau due to crime and civil unrest.
Country Summary: Violent crime is common in Guinea-Bissau. Aggressive vendors, panhandlers, and occasionally criminals target foreigners at the Bissau airport and other crowded areas, especially Bandim Market in the center of the capital. Local police lack the resources, capacity, and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
The country has been beset by chronic political and institutional dysfunction for decades, and there is the potential for violence.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens because there is no U.S. Embassy in Guinea-Bissau.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Guinea-Bissau:
Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with minor edits.
Guinea-Bissau is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption 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).
Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of Guinea-Bissau. U.S. citizens adopting children in rare adoption cases from Guinea-Bissau, as well as U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Guinea-Bissau who would like to adopt from the United States or from a third country, should contact the adoption authority of Guinea-Bissau to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. See contact information below.
PLEASE NOTE: The U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal issues immigrant visas for Bissau-Guinean citizens, including adopted orphans.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. 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 their child(ren)’s adoption.
There are two types of adoptions in Guinea Bissau: 1) simple adoption (adopcao restrita) and 2) full adoption (adopcao plena). Simple adoption is a form of legal custody that may specifically permit immigration of the child and adoption abroad. In a simple adoption, the birth family is usually still living and the child may continue to have contact with his or her birth family. The birth family must have consented to the simple adoption, and the adopting family must have met the prerequisite care requirements before obtaining guardianship of the child. Simple adoptions are revocable, but can be converted to full adoptions if the requirements for full adoption are met. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
In contrast, full adoptions are irrevocable and are granted when one or both birth parents have died and/or any living biological parent has severed ties with the child, or when simple adoptions are converted to full adoptions after the biological parents consent and the child has been in the care of the adopting family for at least 12 months. In these cases, the child will take the last name of the adopting parents and be considered their legitimate child. Adoption lawyers and authorities in Guinea-Bissau should be aware that only full adoption is legally equivalent to an adoption in the United States. In order to adopt, the prospective adoptive parents must have a local lawyer and meet the eligibility requirements.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Guinea-Bissau, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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