Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Madagascar Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to crime information in the Tsaratanana, Tsiroanomandidy, Maintirano, and Betroka areas.
Exercise increased caution in Madagascar due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Reconsider travel to the following areas due to violent crime and banditry:
Country Summary: Most criminal activity is non-violent petty theft, pickpocketing, and other crimes of opportunity predominately in urban areas and in crowded markets. Violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, occurs throughout Madagascar, particularly after dark, in remote areas, and along major national roads in the south and western areas of the country.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Madagascar.
If you decide to travel to Madagascar:
Mid-Sized Urban Areas – Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, banditry, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping can occur at any time. Local police often lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents in these areas:
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Madagascar is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Madagascar and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
The Government of Madagascar has ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. A new adoption law in Madagascar went into effect in 2007, which closely follows Hague Convention processing requirements. Practical implementation of the new law is still being tested as cases work their way through the system. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents are advised to read the below requirements, particularly regarding timing of documents required in the initial application, and follow developments closely.
Adoptive parents are advised to follow legal adoption procedures carefully. Madagascar adheres strictly to the law. Prospective adoptive parents are also advised that Madagascar has two adoption processes: simple adoption and plenary adoption. Only international plenary adoption, involving a long and sometimes difficult legal process, is recognized by both Madagascar and the United States as valid for intercountry adoption. Simple adoption, involving the mayor of the town where the child is located, is not a valid adoption for U.S. visa or Malagasy passport purposes.
Note: Special transition
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Madagascar, 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 a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
Adoption between the United States and Madagascar is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Madagascar, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Madagascar also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
They must possess good moral character and demonstrate the means to care for the physical and educational needs of the child.
They must agree to keep the Malagasy Central Authority informed, through regular written reports, of the child's well-being, and progress in integrating until the child reaches age 18.
Because Madagascar is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Madagascar must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Madagascar attempt to place a child with a family in Madagascar before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Malagasy requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Malagasy Adoption Authority
The Malagasy Central Authority is coordinated by the Director of the Protection of the Family and Children (le Directeur de la Protection de la Famille et de l'Enfance) under the Ministry of Health and Family Planning and Social Protection (Ministère en charge de la Santé, du Planning Familial et de la Protection Sociale)
Because Madagascar is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Madagascar must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.
NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Madagascar before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more.
Adoption in Madagascar is governed by the Malagasy law on adoption. This law requires parents to use an adoption agency accredited by the Central Authority of their country of residence or nationality. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services.
Most prospective adoptive parents also choose to hire a Malagasy attorney to assist with the judicial phase of the process. For a list of attorneys in Madagascar, adoptive parents may contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo at ConsAntan@state.gov.
After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Madagascar. Madagascar's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Malagasy law.
If both the United States and Madagascar determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Madagascar may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.
After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Malagasy adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.
Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Madagascar, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Madagascar.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Madagascar generally includes the following:
The government of Madagascar imposes a fee of 800 Euros (approximately $1,185 at current exchange rates), which goes to pay the expenses of caring for the child during the adoption proceedings as well as the costs of the Malagasy Central Authority. If additional living expenses are incurred during the adoption proceedings, additional fees may be charged. Attorney's fees, should the adoptive parents' choose to hire a local attorney, are additional, as are U.S. visa fees.
All documentation listed above, with the exception of the passport, the contract with the adoption agency, and the diplomatic note, must be no more than six months old at the time of filing. All documents except the diplomatic note must be originals or certified copies. All documents not in French must be accompanied by a certified or official translation. Five copies of the dossier must also be submitted.
If the parents accept the proposed child, the acceptance package must include:
Again all documents must be in French or accompanied by a certified or official translation.
Before traveling to Madagascar for the probationary period, each traveling parent will need to have:
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Madagascar.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.
All immigrant visas, including visas for adopted children, are processed at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo. All adoptions must be full and complete adoptions and must severe the parental relationship between the biological parent(s) and the adoptive child.
Upon arrival in Madagascar, the prospective adoptive parent should contact the Consular Section of the Embassy at 22-212-57 for information on processing procedures and requirements for the immigrant visa.
Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.
*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Madagascar. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.
In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Madagascar, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.
The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Madagascar, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Madagascar require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Adoptive Parents must agree to keep the Malagasy Central Authority informed, through regular written reports, of the child's well-being, and progress in integrating until the child reaches age 18. Reports should be sent to the Malagasy Central Authority every six months during the first year after adoption, and thereafter every year until the child reaches 18.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Madagascar and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
The United States Embassy in Antananarivo
U.S. Embassy Madagascar
Lot 207 A, Point Liberty-Andranoro, Antehiroka
105 Antananarivo, Madagascar
Tel: (261) 20 23 480 00
Fax:(261) 33443 2835
Madagascar's Adoption Authority
Coordinator of the Central Authority for Adoption
Batiment Ex Population Ambohijatovo
Embassy of Madagascar
Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar
2374 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 202 265 3034
Madagascar also has Honorary Consulates in Solana Beach, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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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