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Intercountry Adoption

English

Country Information

Malawi

Country Information

Malawi
Republic of Malawi
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever, if arriving from a yellow fever country

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Must declare foreign currency

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

$3,000, with bank approval

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Lilongwe

Area 40, City Center
Lilongwe, Malawi
Mailing Address: PO Box 30016
Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Local Mailing Address:
PO Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone: +(265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(265) (0)999-591024 or +(265) (0) 888-734-826
Fax: +(265) 1-774-471 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Email: LilongweConsular@state.gov

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Malawi for information on U.S. – Malawi relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

As of September 9, 2016, U.S. citizens may obtain visas upon arrival at a port-of-entry in Malawi. The current fee for a 3-month single-entry visa is $75; diplomats and government officials are exempt from this fee. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi to confirm fees.

U.S. citizens entering Malawi with tourist visas or visitor’s permits have been arrested, fined, and deported if found engaging in activities inconsistent with their tourist status, e.g., business or volunteer services. Some airlines have required travelers to have Malawian visas before boarding connecting flights in European or other African airports.

You must declare all foreign currency when entering Malawi regardless of the amount and exchange foreign currency at a bank or approved foreign exchange bureaus. Any currency declared at entry may be expatriated without further authorization. With bank approval, you may export up to $3,000 per trip. Otherwise, you are not permitted to export currency and it will be confiscated at the point of departure.

The government of Malawi requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you arrive from a country with risk of yellow fever. Please review the Center for Disease Control website for a listing of countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission. 

For travelers transiting South Africa on their way to Malawi, the South African government requires proof of yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days prior to arrival in South Africa if arriving from or transiting through a yellow fever country; those without proof may be turned around at the South African port of entry. For complete entry/exit requirements for South Africa, please see our Country Specific Information for South Africa.

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

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Spontaneous civil disturbances and demonstrations, primarily related to governance and economic issues can occur. These may become more common leading up to, and immediately following elections in Malawi. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness at all times.

CRIME: Crime is common in Malawi. Most crimes against U.S. citizens involve property. Residential break-ins are prevalent and perpetrators are usually well armed and may become violent with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and break-ins have occurred in hotels and lodges throughout the country.

Carjackings occur especially in Lilongwe and Blantyre. Carjackers often block the rear of a victim’s vehicle while it waits to pass through a security gate into a residence and then assailants will threaten the driver and take the car. Victims are sometimes assaulted. Drivers are advised to lock their car doors, close their windows, and remain vigilant when entering or exiting a residence.

You should avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as armed muggings and assaults have increased. Non-Malawians have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several U.S. citizens have been injured. City streets should be considered unsafe after dark even when walking in a large group. Pedestrians should also be cautious during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request that hotel or restaurant management call a taxi or car service.

We recommend you use caution when visiting and/or staying in isolated areas such as Mount Mulanje where the availability of public security forces is limited. You should take appropriate action to ensure your safety if traveling to remote areas, and never travel alone or at night.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 199 or 997 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342, or 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi).

Remember that 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 cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost 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. 

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.

Arrest Notification:   If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

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

LGBTI Travelers:  LGBTI persons are denied, by law and practice, basic civil, political, social, and economic rights. Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, including hard labor. The penal code outlaws “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices between males.” Same-sex sexual activity may also be prosecuted as “conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.” As of July 2014, the government has implemented a moratorium on the enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity, though the general public largely remains hostile to LGBTI persons. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Some modern buildings may have wheelchair accessible entrances. Generally, public transportation is not accessible for travelers with disabilities. The Disability Act of 2013 prohibits discrimination in education, health care, social services, the workplace, housing, political life, and cultural and sporting activities for persons with disabilities. However, the government has yet to adopt standards and plans for its enforcement and implementation.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Wild animals pose a threat to life and safety even in the most serene settings. Please observe local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides.

Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities. There are a limited number of ATMs in Malawi that accept Visa, MasterCard, and international ATM cards.

Dress codes prohibiting short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but Malawi is a conservative society and you should dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas. 

 

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Health

Medical facilities are rudimentary. While all health workers have some degree of English proficiency, communication can be difficult. Diarrhea and other food borne illnesses are a common problem. You should avoid tap water, ice cubes, and raw fruits and vegetables. Bottled water is recommended for drinking and food preparation. Consume only food that is well-cooked and served hot.

Many medications are not available. You should bring adequate quantities of medications to last the duration of your stay. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. We encourage you to check with your primary healthcare provider or local travel clinic regarding malaria prophylaxis medications.  Check with the government of Malawi to ensure the medication is legal in Malawi. 

For major medical problems, you should consider obtaining medical treatment in South Africa, where advanced medical care is available.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas; most U.S. based medical plans do not. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for moreinformation on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

The following diseases are prevalent:

 

  • Malaria
  • Schistosomiasis
  • HIV
  • Tuberculosis

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Most roads do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and livestock to use the roadways both day and night. Secondary roads are poorly lit, in disrepair, and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the November-April rainy season. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of death among travelers to Malawi. Safety hazards include the lack of road shoulders, potholes, pedestrians, bicyclists, and livestock. You should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Fuel supply, both diesel and gasoline, is often erratic and travelers should plan accordingly.  We do not recommend travel by foot along roadways.

Traffic Laws: Police roadblocks are common but properly documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Malawian police operate radar-based speed traps throughout the country and you are expected to pay fines on the spot—please ensure you get a receipt. You must obtain a locally-issued driver's license if you remain in Malawi for an extended period and plan to drive. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should always wear a seat belt whenever available and insist that the drivers maintain a safe speed.

Public Transportation: Public transportation, consisting primarily of minibuses, is unreliable and accidents are common. Modern coach buses are increasingly common on the main cross-country routes.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Malawi’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Malawi’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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
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 Lilongwe

Area 40, City Center
Lilongwe, Malawi
Mailing Address: PO Box 30016
Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Local Mailing Address:
PO Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone: +(265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(265) (0)999-591024 or +(265) (0) 888-734-826
Fax: +(265) 1-774-471 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Email: LilongweConsular@state.gov

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Malawi, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Malawi.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

Malawi is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Malawi and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The Malawian Ministry of Gender is responsible for these issues.

Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Malawi and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website:  travel.state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a specific crime in Malawi.  Section 167, Chapter XVI, of the Malawi Penal Code does, however, define “Child Stealing” from “any parent, guardian, or other person who has the lawful care or charge of a child under the age of fourteen years” as a felony.  (The Penal Code of Malawi can be viewed as a .pdf file at the website of the Malawi Legal Information Institute of the Malawi Law Society here.)

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Malawi and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the U.S. Embassy in Malawi for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Malawi are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

Additional information about the individuals on the list above may be available by contacting the Malawi Law Society: Tel.: (265) 1 821 043, Fax: (265) 1 824 635, email address: mls@sdnp.org.mw.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Under the laws of Malawi, mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. 

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 Malawi and from the United States to Malawi are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

 

Malawi 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). 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 Malawi Adoption of Children Act of 1949 does not address intercountry adoptions and courts have wide discretion on how they handle adoptions. Although a May 9, 2009, Malawi Supreme Court decision gave courts more leeway in granting adoptions for foreign adoptive parents, the decision has not resulted in a permanent change to the country's intercountry adoption laws or regulations. The courts in Malawi assess each case individually, taking into consideration the circumstances of the prospective adoptive child. The May 9, 2009, Supreme Court decision did, however, set aside the requirement that prospective adoptive parents live in Malawi and foster a child for a period between 18 and 24 months before an adoption is granted.

U.S. Immigration Requirements For Intercountry Adoptions

 

 

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Malawi, 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 Malawi must meet the following requirements:

  • Residency:  In a May 2009 Malawi Supreme Court decision, the Court determined that an adoption may be granted to foreign adopting parents so long as the parent(s) are not temporary visitors to Malawi and have a serious commitment or connection to Malawi. This decision effectively set aside the informal practice of requiring foreign adopting parents to foster the prospective orphan for a period of 18 months. (Note: this former practice was never set forth in Malawi law or regulation). While the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Community Development has not promulgated a written policy implementing the May 2009 Supreme Court decision, we have observed that lower court judges are issuing adoption decrees to foreign adopting parents which adhere to the Supreme Court decision.

    Note: In all cases, prospective adoptive parent(s) should consult with an experienced Malawi attorney for more information.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the prospective adoptive child.
  • Marriage:  Both married and single persons may adopt. An adoption order shall not be made in any case where the sole applicant is male and the child is a female unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, which justify the exception.
  • Income:  None.
  • Other:  No guidance or regulation regarding gay and lesbian adoption, and/or adoption by same-sex couples.
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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 Malawi:

  • Relinquishment:  Adoption cannot take place without the consent of every person who is a parent or guardian, has custody of, or is likely to contribute to the support of the prospective adoptive child.
  • Abandonment:  If the birth parent(s) or other legal guardian(s) are unable to care for the child, the child may be classified as an orphan by Malawi authorities.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  The prospective adoptive child must be less than 18 years old.  Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).
  • Sibling Adoptions:  Adoption of twins is permissible. There are no specific laws or regulations that relate to the adoption of siblings.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  None.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  There is no specific waiting period.

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

Malawi’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development

The Process
The process for adopting a child from Malawi 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 Malawi’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Malawi (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 Malawi, 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 adoption agencies in Malawi. Most prospective adoptive parents hire a Malawian attorney to assist them in navigating the adoption process and because an attorney is needed to complete all adoption paperwork with the court. For information regarding home studies, prospective adoptive parents in Malawi should contact the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development at Private Bag 330 Lilongwe 3 or Telephone 01-770-411. Prospective adoptive parents in the U.S. can normally use their I-600A home study for adoption purposes in Malawi.

The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe maintains a list of English-speaking attorneys in Malawi on its website.

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

In order to adopt a child from Malawi, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Malawi 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 Malawi’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 Gender, Child and Community Development of Malawi to be found eligible to adopt by Malawi.

If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development of Malawi will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral if you are unable to identify a child on your own. Prospective adoptive parent(s) often identify a child for adoption through local churches, orphanages, hospitals, or missions. 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 Malawi’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 Malawi (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption)

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

  • Role of Adoption Authority:  Although the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development oversees the adoption process, the High Court will make the final decision regarding a specific adoption.
  • Role of the Court:  After an adoption petition is filed with the Magistrate’s Court, the Magistrate’s Court chooses a social worker to be the prospective adoptive child’s guardian ad litem.  The guardian ad litem investigates the prospective adoptive child’s social history and monitors the prospective adoptive family for a specified period, after which the guardian ad litemsubmits a Court Social Report (home study) to the High Court.  Upon receipt of the report, the High Court rules on whether or not the adoption can be finalized.  (Embassy Lilongwe has seen the requirement that the guardian ad litem monitor the prospective adoptive parents waived in a few adoption cases where the prospective adoptive parents live abroad.)
  • Role of Adoption Agencies:  None; there are no adoption agencies in Malawi.

    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:  There is no adoption application. Prospective adoptive parents should contact the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development to let the Ministry know of their interest in adopting a Malawian child (see Contact Information).
  • Time Frame:  It normally takes two to six months to complete the adoption process from start to finish, including the investigation by the guardian ad litem of the child’s eligibility for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents’ eligibility to adopt the child.
  • Adoption Fees: On average, depending on the complexity of the case, attorneys fees range between Malawi Kwacha (MK) 60,000 and 85,000 (U.S. $350 and $500). Court filing fees and Registrar fees for the new birth certificate are under five dollars. The Malawian passport fee is approximately MK 15,000 (U.S. $89).  Informally, Ministry officials have indicated that an offer to pay per diem and travel expenses for the guardian ad litem can speed the process.

    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 Malawi, 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 Malawi 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:  Malawi adoptions are governed by the Adoption of the Children Act (CHAP. 26:01 of the laws of Malawi). Documents required when seeking to adopt include:
    • Proof of Identity and Nationality of the adoptive parents
    • A completed U.S. home study and Malawi Court Social Report;
    • Proof that the child is eligible for adoption
    • Consent of every person who is either the birth parent or legal guardian of, or has custody or is likely to contribute to the support of, the prospective adoptive child;
    • Evidence of residency status in Malawi (see Residency Requirements above)

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 Malawi, 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 Lilongwe, Malawi.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Lilongwe, Malawi 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 weeks 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 Malawi, 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.

The responsible office for birth records in Malawi is the Registrar General's Office in Blantyre.  The Registrar General's Office is under the Ministry of Justice.  Please note that it can take two to three weeks to obtain a birth certificate once the application is submitted.

Physical address of the Registrar General's Office:
Fatima Arcade
Opposite ESCOM House
Haile Selasie Road
Blantyre

Mailing address of the Registrar's Office:
P.O. Box 100
Blantyre
Tel:  01-824-355

Documents to submit when requesting a birth certificate:

  • Completed birth certificate application;
  • Original adoption order from a Malawi court;
  • Adoptive parent(s) proof of citizenship (e.g. passport);
  • Birth certificate application fee of MK 200 ($2.00).

Malawi Passport

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

The Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Home Affairs is the government entity responsible for passport application processing and issuance.  There are two passport centers in Malawi:

Physical address of the Regional Immigration Office:

Old Town
Opposite PVHO/Behind CFAO Malawi
Off Paul Kagame Road

Mailing address of the Regional Immigration Office:
P.O. Box 1272
Lilongwe
Tel:  01-759-270

Physical address of Immigration Department Headquarters:
Malawi Immigration Department Headquarters
New Government Building Complex

Mailing address of Immigration Department Headquarters:
P.O. Box 331
Blantyre 3
Tel:  01-823-77
Documents to submit when requesting a Malawi passport:

  • Completed Malawi passport application form
  • Adopted child's birth certificate
  • Two recent passport photographs of the adopted child
  • Original Adoption Order from a Malawi Court
  • Passport application fee of MK 15,100.00 (U.S. $100.00)

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 Lilongwe.  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.

Hours for immigrant visa processing are Tuesday and Thursday by appointment only.

Please call the Consular Section at 01-773-166 to schedule an appointment. The Embassy recommends that adoptive parents plan to be in the Lilongwe, Malawi area for several days and advises parents not to make firm travel plans until they have their adopted child's immigrant visa in hand.

The following documents are required to process an immigrant visa at U.S. Embassy Lilongwe:

  • Approved Form I-600 petition;
  • Adopted child's birth certificate;
  • Adopted child's Malawi passport;
  • Four passport photographs (2 inches by 2 inches) of the adopted child
  • Completed DS-260 Part I and Part II forms for the adopted child;
  • Completed forms DS-2054, DS-3025, DS-3026, and DS-3030 (medical examination forms completed by U.S. Embassy Lilongwe certified panel physician);
  • Completed and signed form I-864-W, Affidavit of Support (no U.S. tax returns required)

Note: additional documents may be requested at the consular officer’s discretion.

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 Malawi

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 Malawi, 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 Malawi, 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

There are no post-adoption reporting requirements for Malawi.

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 Lilongwe, 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
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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 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 A None One 3 Months
B-2 A None One 3 Months
B-1/B-2 A None One 3 Months
C-1 None Multiple 3 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 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 Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 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

General Issuing Authority Information:  The National Registration Bureau (NRB) is responsible for birth and death records, as well as National ID cards, as of August 2015. Birth and death records from before August 2015 were issued by the Registrar General’s office and are still valid.  The Registrar General’s office continues to issue marriage certificates, business licenses, and other civil documents.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available:  Yes

Fees:  None

Document Name: Birth Certificate

Issuing Authority:  National Registration Bureau

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  Government of Malawi seal bottom center, yellow –colored paper with black ink.  A raised seal is placed on the bottom of the document.   Currently available in A4 and A5 sized paper.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Chief Director  or Director

Registration Criteria: Application form and birth report from the hospital.

Procedure for Obtaining: Submit the application form to the local District Commissioner, where information is data entered and sent to the National Registration Bureau in Lilongwe.  Certificates are printed in Lilongwe and sent back to the District Commission for collection.  Normal applications typically take 15 working days.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: Not available

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The National Registration Bureau (NRB) in Lilongwe started issuing birth certificates and death certificates on August 1, 2015, taking over from the Registrar General’s Office (RGO).  Birth certificates and death certificates issued by the RGO prior to August 1, 2015 are still valid.  RGO-issued documents from prior to August 2015 are blue, yellow, or green on long A3 length paper.  They can be hand-written or typed and have the Registrar General’s seal. 

 

Death Certificates

Available:  Yes.

Fees: None

Document Name:  Death Certificate

Issuing Authority: National Registration Bureau (NRB)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Government of Malawi seal at the bottom center.  Yellow –colored  paper with black ink.  Type-written.  Currently available in A4 and A5 sized paper.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Chief Director or Director

Registration Criteria: Application form and death report from the hospital.

Procedure for Obtaining: Submit the application form to the local District Commissioner, who will sign and endorse the application.  Then, applicants must bring the endorsed form in-person to the National Registration Bureau in Lilongwe.  Certificates are printed and distributed in Lilongwe.  Normal processing time is 5 working days; they can sometimes be expedited on case by case basis.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: Not available

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: Most certificates are on A4 sized paper and are manually signed.  There are also A5 sized paper certificates which can be manually or electronically signed.  Death certificates are currently being issued upon demand, but will soon be compulsory for all deaths. 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available:  Yes.

Fees:  Application fee of 2,500.00 Malawi Kwacha for the marriage license and 10,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for two copies of the marriage certificates, one of which is yellow/green in color and type-written and one of which is blue in color and is hand-written.  Marriage certificates are issued at the Registrar General’s in Blantyre and Lilongwe.  The Registrar General in Blantyre and the Assistant Registrar General in Lilongwe also officiate marriage ceremonies.  The marriage license application process takes 21 days. 

Document Name: Marriage Certificate

Issuing Authority: Registrar General (Blantyre) and Assistant Registrar General (Lilongwe)

Special Seal(s):  Round impression seal at the bottom part on the right hand side of the certificate with the signature of the Registrar General or Assistant Registrar General.

Color:  Yellow, green, or blue

Format:  Yellow and green marriage certificates are printed on A4 sized paper in black ink.  The blue version is hand-written and comes in a long-form A3 like size.  The position of the seal is the same as in the yellow color marriage certificate, with the signature of the Registrar General or Assistant Registrar General. 

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:   The Registrar General or Assistant Registrar General.

Registration Criteria:  Both husband and wife must appear in person to make an application.  On the wedding date, both parties are required to bring their own representatives as witnesses before the officiating Registrar.

Procedure for Obtaining: Applicants should contact the Registrar General, FATIMA HOUSE ARCADE, Opposite ESCOM House, P.O. Box 100 and Private Bag 100, Blantyre, AND the Assistant Registrar General, PAGAT house, Off PAUL KAGAME Road, Old Town, P.O. Box 1780, Lilongwe.

Certified Copies Available:  Available with a fee of 5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha

Alternate Documents: Not available

Exceptions: N/A

Comments:  Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Malawi.

Divorce Certificates

Available: Yes

Comments: A copy of the decree is available from the Registrar of the High Court in Lilongwe or the High Court in Blantyre if the marriage was dissolved in the High Court.

Fees:  5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha.

 

Adoption Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees:  5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha application fee and 1,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for Adoption Order.

Document Name:  Adoption Order

Issuing Authority:  High Court Lilongwe, High Court Blantyre, Supreme Court of Appeal Blantyre, and High Court Mzuzu

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  Round impression seal with the words “High Court Registrar”,  and a signature of the High Court Registrar at the very end of the adoption statement;  Color:  Yellow, blue or white.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  High Court Registrar.

Registration Criteria:  Adoptive parent (s) should hire an attorney who will work with the responsible authorities (the Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs) to prepare the adoption application with the courts.  After  Adoption Order is granted, the adoptive parents are instructed to register the adoption order with the National Registration Bureau in order to get obtain a birth certificate for the adopted child.  

Procedure for Obtaining: Available from the High Court following a ruling.  Orders are typically given to the attorney of record. 

Certified Copies Available:  Not available

Alternate Documents:  Not available

Exceptions:  N/A

Comments: The National Registration Bureau issues birth certificates to adopted children based on court orders produced by the adoptive parents.

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Identity Card

Available: Limited availability  (See comments)

Fees: None

Document Name: National Identity Card

Issuing Authority: National Registration Bureau

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: This information is unavailable

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Chief Director

Registration Criteria:  Malawian citizens

Procedure for Obtaining: Submit to the National Registration Bureau an application form, proof of citizenship, and collection of biodata and biometric details.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: No

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: National ID Cards started being issued in limited quantities in early 2017.  There is no estimate of when a full rollout will be complete.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Centralized criminal records covering Malawi are maintained at the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Headquarters, Private Bag 305, Capital City, Lilongwe 3. The Malawi police issues certificates upon application and submission of declaration (see Special Clearance Procedures) and fingerprint charts (2 copies) indicating whether a criminal record should exist or not, and if so, particulars of the offenses, nature of punishment and/or period of imprisonment. Please also include dates applicant was in Malawi as well as the address of the applicant in Malawi. There may be a fee for this service.

Police Certificates

Available:  Available

Fees: 

  • 5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for Malawian present in Malawi
  • US$ 300.00 for a Malawian living outside Malawi
  • US$ 300.00 for foreign nationals requesting a police clearance from outside Malawi
  • US$ 200.00 for foreign nationals in Malawi without a Temporary Employment Permit (TEP), Business Resident Permit (BRP), or Permanent Resident Permit (PRP)
  • 5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for foreign nationals in Malawi with a TEP, BRP, or PRP

Document Name:  Police Certificate

Issuing Authority: Criminal Investigation Department (CID), National Police Headquarters, Area 30, Private Bag 305, Capital City, Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Special Seal(s) / Color: / Format:  Printed on a white A4 paper with a black and white eagle with the words “CONFIDENTIAL” on top of the eagle.  The eagle on the top center of the police certificate.  A photo-digitized photograph of the bearer is in the middle of the certificate.   On the bottom is the signature of the Police Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent, signed on behalf of the Inspector General of Malawi Police Service.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  The Inspector General of Police

Registration Criteria: N/A

Procedure for Obtaining:

Applicants in Malawi must apply in person at the National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe and are required to submit 2 recent color photos, a valid passport and/or other proof of identity.

Applicants outside Malawi are required to submit 2 fingerprints charts taken by a competent authority (i.e. local police and other government entities commissioned to take finger-prints), along with a notarized copy of the bio-data page of applicant’s passport.  Applicants must also submit an individual statement giving reasons for requesting a Malawi police clearance certificate and indicate the dates and addresses lived in Malawi.

Applicants should contact the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), National Police Headquarters, Area 30, Private Bag 305, Capital City, Lilongwe 3, Malawi, telephone (265) 1-796-806.

Certified Copies Available:  Unavailable

Alternate Documents: Unavailable

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The certificate indicates whether a criminal record exists or not, and if so, particulars of the offenses, nature of punishment and/or period of imprisonment.

Prison Records

Comments: The Prison record is part of the Police Certificate. Please see Police Certificate

Court Records

Available:  Yes

Fees:  5,000.00, Malawi Kwacha

Document Name:  Depends on nature of court record requested

Issuing Authority:  High Court in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  High court impression seal (Color: white, blue or green)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  High Court Registrar

Registration Criteria: N/A

Procedure for Obtaining:  Apply for a court record in person at the court or enlist an attorney to make an application on your behalf.

Certified Copies Available:  NO

Alternate Documents: NO

Exceptions:  N/A

Comments:  N/A

Military Records

Available: Yes

Fees:  None

Document Name: Military Record

Issuing Authority: Malawi Defense Force (MDF)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: No information available

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Inspector General of the Malawi Defense Force (MDF)

Registration Criteria:  Contact the Inspector General of the MDF to ask for specific registration procedures.

Procedure for Obtaining: Applicants should contact the Commanding Officer, Malawi Army, Headquarters, Kamuzu Barracks, Private Bag 43, Lilongwe.

Certified Copies Available: NO

Alternate Documents: NO

Exceptions:  N/A

Comments:  N/A

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available (Regular, Diplomatic, Official, etc.):  Regular, Diplomatic, and Service

Document Name:  Regular passport  (known as ordinary passport in Malawi)

Fees: 

  • 68,500.00 Malawi Kwacha (Express) Takes 2 days to process
  • 58,500.00 Malawi Kwacha (Urgent) takes  5 days to process
  • 48,500.00 Malawi Kwacha (Normal) takes 20 days to process

Registration Criteria:  Malawi citizenship

Issuing Authority TITLE:  Chief Passport Officer; Malawi Immigration Department (Blantyre and Lilongwe) 

Special Seal (s) /Color/Format:  Gold lettering on the cover.  The words “REPUBLIC OF MALAWI” on the passport book cover with the words “UNITY AND FREEDOM” in a scroll at the bottom of the Malawi government emblem.  The emblem is a shield franked by a lion and a leopard. The passport bio data is on page two.  Malawi regular passport numbers begin with the alphabet letter “MA” followed by numerical numbers (e.g. MA123777).

Procedure for Obtaining:  Submit and a completed and executed passport application endorsed by the District Commissioner along with 2 recent colors passport photographs to the passport office in Blantyre or Lilongwe.  Pay the appropriate passport application fees.  Have your finger-prints taken by immigration officer.  The Affidavit part of the passport application form must be executed the District Commissioner of the applicant’s home district or town.

Document Name:  Diplomatic passport

Color:  Red.

Fees:  85,500.00 Malawi Kwacha; takes 5 days to process

Issuing Authority:  Same as in ordinary passport

Special Seal (s) Color Format:  Same as in ordinary/regular passports Malawi diplomatic passports numbers  begin with the letters ‘MD” (e.g. MD111333)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Same as in ordinary/regular passports

Registration Criteria:  Malawi diplomatic passports are issued to high ranking government officers, and other private important personnel in the private sector, including some distinguished religious personnel.  You need a supporting letter from the Malawi government to request issuance of a diplomatic.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Complete Malawi passport application form, and submit two recent color passport photographs, current government issued identity card and a letter from government requesting diplomatic passport issuance.  Submit passport application form in person.  Fingerprints and additional photographs are taken by immigration officer.  

Document Name:  Malawi Service (Official) passport

Color:  Green

Fees:  55,000.00 Malawi Kwacha

Issuing Authority:   Same as in Ordinary and Diplomatic passports

Special Seal (s) Color Format:  Same as in Ordinary/Regular passport.  Malawi Service passports (Official) number begins with “MS” (e.g. MS222444)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Same as in Regular/Ordinary passport

Registration Criteria:  Malawi Serviced passports are issued to high ranking Malawi government officers and other private important personnel in the public sector, including some distinguished religious personnel.   You need a supporting letter form the Malawi government to request issuance of a Service passport.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Complete Malawi passport application form, and submit two recent color passport photographs, current issued identity, and a letter from Malawi government requesting official passport issuance.  Submit passport application in person.  Fingerprints and an additional photograph are taken by immigration officer.

 

Alternate Documents


Exceptions: N/A

Comments: Temporary Passports and temporary travel documents are NOT valid for immigrant visa processing.

Other Documents Available:  YES/see below.

TEMPORARY PASSPORT:  Valid for travel to Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and all African Countries.

Fee:  42,500.00 Malawi Kwacha

Procedure for Obtaining:  Completed Malawi passport application form.  Submit a government issued ID; i.e.  Expired passport, a valid driving license, and/or other competent identity.  Pay temporary passport application fees.  It takes 5 working days to process a temporary passport.  The Malawi Immigration Department is the issuing authority.

TEMPORARY TRAVEL DOCUMENT:  Valid for travel to Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Fee:  10,000.00 Malawi Kwacha

Procedure for Obtaining:  Same as temporary passport

Note:  A Temporary Travel Document is issued on Malawi government paper with a photograph of the bearer/traveler affixed to. It takes from one to five days to obtain a temporary travel document.  The Malawi Immigration Department is the issuing authority. 

Other Records

Not applicable

Visa Issuing Posts

Post Title: Embassy

Address:

Street Address: Area 40, Plot no. 21, 16TH Jomo Kenyatta Road, City Center,
                          Lilongwe

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 30016
                            Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Phone Number:

Tel: (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi, add "0" before the "1".)

Email: LILONGWECONSULAR @STATE.GOV

Visa Services: All visa categories for Malawi

Comments / Additional Information:

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Malawi.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 721-0270 (202) 721-0288

New York, NY (212) 317-8738 (212) 317-8729

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Lilongwe
Area 40, City Center
Lilongwe, Malawi
Mailing Address: PO Box 30016
Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone
+(265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Emergency
+(265) (0)999-591024 or +(265) (0) 888-734-826
Fax
+(265) 1-774-471 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Malawi 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

Malawi
Republic of Malawi
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever, if arriving from a yellow fever country

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Must declare foreign currency

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

$3,000, with bank approval

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Lilongwe

Area 40, City Center
Lilongwe, Malawi
Mailing Address: PO Box 30016
Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Local Mailing Address:
PO Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone: +(265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(265) (0)999-591024 or +(265) (0) 888-734-826
Fax: +(265) 1-774-471 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Email: LilongweConsular@state.gov

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Malawi for information on U.S. – Malawi relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

As of September 9, 2016, U.S. citizens may obtain visas upon arrival at a port-of-entry in Malawi. The current fee for a 3-month single-entry visa is $75; diplomats and government officials are exempt from this fee. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi to confirm fees.

U.S. citizens entering Malawi with tourist visas or visitor’s permits have been arrested, fined, and deported if found engaging in activities inconsistent with their tourist status, e.g., business or volunteer services. Some airlines have required travelers to have Malawian visas before boarding connecting flights in European or other African airports.

You must declare all foreign currency when entering Malawi regardless of the amount and exchange foreign currency at a bank or approved foreign exchange bureaus. Any currency declared at entry may be expatriated without further authorization. With bank approval, you may export up to $3,000 per trip. Otherwise, you are not permitted to export currency and it will be confiscated at the point of departure.

The government of Malawi requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you arrive from a country with risk of yellow fever. Please review the Center for Disease Control website for a listing of countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission. 

For travelers transiting South Africa on their way to Malawi, the South African government requires proof of yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days prior to arrival in South Africa if arriving from or transiting through a yellow fever country; those without proof may be turned around at the South African port of entry. For complete entry/exit requirements for South Africa, please see our Country Specific Information for South Africa.

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

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Spontaneous civil disturbances and demonstrations, primarily related to governance and economic issues can occur. These may become more common leading up to, and immediately following elections in Malawi. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness at all times.

CRIME: Crime is common in Malawi. Most crimes against U.S. citizens involve property. Residential break-ins are prevalent and perpetrators are usually well armed and may become violent with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and break-ins have occurred in hotels and lodges throughout the country.

Carjackings occur especially in Lilongwe and Blantyre. Carjackers often block the rear of a victim’s vehicle while it waits to pass through a security gate into a residence and then assailants will threaten the driver and take the car. Victims are sometimes assaulted. Drivers are advised to lock their car doors, close their windows, and remain vigilant when entering or exiting a residence.

You should avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as armed muggings and assaults have increased. Non-Malawians have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several U.S. citizens have been injured. City streets should be considered unsafe after dark even when walking in a large group. Pedestrians should also be cautious during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request that hotel or restaurant management call a taxi or car service.

We recommend you use caution when visiting and/or staying in isolated areas such as Mount Mulanje where the availability of public security forces is limited. You should take appropriate action to ensure your safety if traveling to remote areas, and never travel alone or at night.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 199 or 997 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342, or 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi).

Remember that 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 cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost 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. 

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.

Arrest Notification:   If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

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

LGBTI Travelers:  LGBTI persons are denied, by law and practice, basic civil, political, social, and economic rights. Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, including hard labor. The penal code outlaws “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices between males.” Same-sex sexual activity may also be prosecuted as “conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.” As of July 2014, the government has implemented a moratorium on the enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity, though the general public largely remains hostile to LGBTI persons. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Some modern buildings may have wheelchair accessible entrances. Generally, public transportation is not accessible for travelers with disabilities. The Disability Act of 2013 prohibits discrimination in education, health care, social services, the workplace, housing, political life, and cultural and sporting activities for persons with disabilities. However, the government has yet to adopt standards and plans for its enforcement and implementation.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Wild animals pose a threat to life and safety even in the most serene settings. Please observe local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides.

Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities. There are a limited number of ATMs in Malawi that accept Visa, MasterCard, and international ATM cards.

Dress codes prohibiting short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but Malawi is a conservative society and you should dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas. 

 

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Health

Medical facilities are rudimentary. While all health workers have some degree of English proficiency, communication can be difficult. Diarrhea and other food borne illnesses are a common problem. You should avoid tap water, ice cubes, and raw fruits and vegetables. Bottled water is recommended for drinking and food preparation. Consume only food that is well-cooked and served hot.

Many medications are not available. You should bring adequate quantities of medications to last the duration of your stay. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. We encourage you to check with your primary healthcare provider or local travel clinic regarding malaria prophylaxis medications.  Check with the government of Malawi to ensure the medication is legal in Malawi. 

For major medical problems, you should consider obtaining medical treatment in South Africa, where advanced medical care is available.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas; most U.S. based medical plans do not. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for moreinformation on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

The following diseases are prevalent:

 

  • Malaria
  • Schistosomiasis
  • HIV
  • Tuberculosis

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Most roads do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and livestock to use the roadways both day and night. Secondary roads are poorly lit, in disrepair, and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the November-April rainy season. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of death among travelers to Malawi. Safety hazards include the lack of road shoulders, potholes, pedestrians, bicyclists, and livestock. You should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Fuel supply, both diesel and gasoline, is often erratic and travelers should plan accordingly.  We do not recommend travel by foot along roadways.

Traffic Laws: Police roadblocks are common but properly documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Malawian police operate radar-based speed traps throughout the country and you are expected to pay fines on the spot—please ensure you get a receipt. You must obtain a locally-issued driver's license if you remain in Malawi for an extended period and plan to drive. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should always wear a seat belt whenever available and insist that the drivers maintain a safe speed.

Public Transportation: Public transportation, consisting primarily of minibuses, is unreliable and accidents are common. Modern coach buses are increasingly common on the main cross-country routes.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Malawi’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Malawi’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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
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 Lilongwe

Area 40, City Center
Lilongwe, Malawi
Mailing Address: PO Box 30016
Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Local Mailing Address:
PO Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone: +(265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(265) (0)999-591024 or +(265) (0) 888-734-826
Fax: +(265) 1-774-471 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Email: LilongweConsular@state.gov

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Malawi, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Malawi.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

Malawi is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Malawi and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The Malawian Ministry of Gender is responsible for these issues.

Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Malawi and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website:  travel.state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a specific crime in Malawi.  Section 167, Chapter XVI, of the Malawi Penal Code does, however, define “Child Stealing” from “any parent, guardian, or other person who has the lawful care or charge of a child under the age of fourteen years” as a felony.  (The Penal Code of Malawi can be viewed as a .pdf file at the website of the Malawi Legal Information Institute of the Malawi Law Society here.)

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Malawi and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the U.S. Embassy in Malawi for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Malawi are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

Additional information about the individuals on the list above may be available by contacting the Malawi Law Society: Tel.: (265) 1 821 043, Fax: (265) 1 824 635, email address: mls@sdnp.org.mw.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Under the laws of Malawi, mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases. 

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 Malawi and from the United States to Malawi are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

 

Malawi 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). 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 Malawi Adoption of Children Act of 1949 does not address intercountry adoptions and courts have wide discretion on how they handle adoptions. Although a May 9, 2009, Malawi Supreme Court decision gave courts more leeway in granting adoptions for foreign adoptive parents, the decision has not resulted in a permanent change to the country's intercountry adoption laws or regulations. The courts in Malawi assess each case individually, taking into consideration the circumstances of the prospective adoptive child. The May 9, 2009, Supreme Court decision did, however, set aside the requirement that prospective adoptive parents live in Malawi and foster a child for a period between 18 and 24 months before an adoption is granted.

U.S. Immigration Requirements For Intercountry Adoptions

 

 

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Malawi, 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 Malawi must meet the following requirements:

  • Residency:  In a May 2009 Malawi Supreme Court decision, the Court determined that an adoption may be granted to foreign adopting parents so long as the parent(s) are not temporary visitors to Malawi and have a serious commitment or connection to Malawi. This decision effectively set aside the informal practice of requiring foreign adopting parents to foster the prospective orphan for a period of 18 months. (Note: this former practice was never set forth in Malawi law or regulation). While the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Community Development has not promulgated a written policy implementing the May 2009 Supreme Court decision, we have observed that lower court judges are issuing adoption decrees to foreign adopting parents which adhere to the Supreme Court decision.

    Note: In all cases, prospective adoptive parent(s) should consult with an experienced Malawi attorney for more information.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the prospective adoptive child.
  • Marriage:  Both married and single persons may adopt. An adoption order shall not be made in any case where the sole applicant is male and the child is a female unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, which justify the exception.
  • Income:  None.
  • Other:  No guidance or regulation regarding gay and lesbian adoption, and/or adoption by same-sex couples.
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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 Malawi:

  • Relinquishment:  Adoption cannot take place without the consent of every person who is a parent or guardian, has custody of, or is likely to contribute to the support of the prospective adoptive child.
  • Abandonment:  If the birth parent(s) or other legal guardian(s) are unable to care for the child, the child may be classified as an orphan by Malawi authorities.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  The prospective adoptive child must be less than 18 years old.  Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).
  • Sibling Adoptions:  Adoption of twins is permissible. There are no specific laws or regulations that relate to the adoption of siblings.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  None.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  There is no specific waiting period.

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

Malawi’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development

The Process
The process for adopting a child from Malawi 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 Malawi’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Malawi (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 Malawi, 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 adoption agencies in Malawi. Most prospective adoptive parents hire a Malawian attorney to assist them in navigating the adoption process and because an attorney is needed to complete all adoption paperwork with the court. For information regarding home studies, prospective adoptive parents in Malawi should contact the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development at Private Bag 330 Lilongwe 3 or Telephone 01-770-411. Prospective adoptive parents in the U.S. can normally use their I-600A home study for adoption purposes in Malawi.

The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe maintains a list of English-speaking attorneys in Malawi on its website.

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

In order to adopt a child from Malawi, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Malawi 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 Malawi’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 Gender, Child and Community Development of Malawi to be found eligible to adopt by Malawi.

If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development of Malawi will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral if you are unable to identify a child on your own. Prospective adoptive parent(s) often identify a child for adoption through local churches, orphanages, hospitals, or missions. 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 Malawi’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 Malawi (or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption)

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

  • Role of Adoption Authority:  Although the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development oversees the adoption process, the High Court will make the final decision regarding a specific adoption.
  • Role of the Court:  After an adoption petition is filed with the Magistrate’s Court, the Magistrate’s Court chooses a social worker to be the prospective adoptive child’s guardian ad litem.  The guardian ad litem investigates the prospective adoptive child’s social history and monitors the prospective adoptive family for a specified period, after which the guardian ad litemsubmits a Court Social Report (home study) to the High Court.  Upon receipt of the report, the High Court rules on whether or not the adoption can be finalized.  (Embassy Lilongwe has seen the requirement that the guardian ad litem monitor the prospective adoptive parents waived in a few adoption cases where the prospective adoptive parents live abroad.)
  • Role of Adoption Agencies:  None; there are no adoption agencies in Malawi.

    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:  There is no adoption application. Prospective adoptive parents should contact the Ministry of Gender, Child and Community Development to let the Ministry know of their interest in adopting a Malawian child (see Contact Information).
  • Time Frame:  It normally takes two to six months to complete the adoption process from start to finish, including the investigation by the guardian ad litem of the child’s eligibility for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents’ eligibility to adopt the child.
  • Adoption Fees: On average, depending on the complexity of the case, attorneys fees range between Malawi Kwacha (MK) 60,000 and 85,000 (U.S. $350 and $500). Court filing fees and Registrar fees for the new birth certificate are under five dollars. The Malawian passport fee is approximately MK 15,000 (U.S. $89).  Informally, Ministry officials have indicated that an offer to pay per diem and travel expenses for the guardian ad litem can speed the process.

    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 Malawi, 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 Malawi 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:  Malawi adoptions are governed by the Adoption of the Children Act (CHAP. 26:01 of the laws of Malawi). Documents required when seeking to adopt include:
    • Proof of Identity and Nationality of the adoptive parents
    • A completed U.S. home study and Malawi Court Social Report;
    • Proof that the child is eligible for adoption
    • Consent of every person who is either the birth parent or legal guardian of, or has custody or is likely to contribute to the support of, the prospective adoptive child;
    • Evidence of residency status in Malawi (see Residency Requirements above)

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 Malawi, 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 Lilongwe, Malawi.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Lilongwe, Malawi 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 weeks 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 Malawi, 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.

The responsible office for birth records in Malawi is the Registrar General's Office in Blantyre.  The Registrar General's Office is under the Ministry of Justice.  Please note that it can take two to three weeks to obtain a birth certificate once the application is submitted.

Physical address of the Registrar General's Office:
Fatima Arcade
Opposite ESCOM House
Haile Selasie Road
Blantyre

Mailing address of the Registrar's Office:
P.O. Box 100
Blantyre
Tel:  01-824-355

Documents to submit when requesting a birth certificate:

  • Completed birth certificate application;
  • Original adoption order from a Malawi court;
  • Adoptive parent(s) proof of citizenship (e.g. passport);
  • Birth certificate application fee of MK 200 ($2.00).

Malawi Passport

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

The Department of Immigration under the Ministry of Home Affairs is the government entity responsible for passport application processing and issuance.  There are two passport centers in Malawi:

Physical address of the Regional Immigration Office:

Old Town
Opposite PVHO/Behind CFAO Malawi
Off Paul Kagame Road

Mailing address of the Regional Immigration Office:
P.O. Box 1272
Lilongwe
Tel:  01-759-270

Physical address of Immigration Department Headquarters:
Malawi Immigration Department Headquarters
New Government Building Complex

Mailing address of Immigration Department Headquarters:
P.O. Box 331
Blantyre 3
Tel:  01-823-77
Documents to submit when requesting a Malawi passport:

  • Completed Malawi passport application form
  • Adopted child's birth certificate
  • Two recent passport photographs of the adopted child
  • Original Adoption Order from a Malawi Court
  • Passport application fee of MK 15,100.00 (U.S. $100.00)

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 Lilongwe.  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.

Hours for immigrant visa processing are Tuesday and Thursday by appointment only.

Please call the Consular Section at 01-773-166 to schedule an appointment. The Embassy recommends that adoptive parents plan to be in the Lilongwe, Malawi area for several days and advises parents not to make firm travel plans until they have their adopted child's immigrant visa in hand.

The following documents are required to process an immigrant visa at U.S. Embassy Lilongwe:

  • Approved Form I-600 petition;
  • Adopted child's birth certificate;
  • Adopted child's Malawi passport;
  • Four passport photographs (2 inches by 2 inches) of the adopted child
  • Completed DS-260 Part I and Part II forms for the adopted child;
  • Completed forms DS-2054, DS-3025, DS-3026, and DS-3030 (medical examination forms completed by U.S. Embassy Lilongwe certified panel physician);
  • Completed and signed form I-864-W, Affidavit of Support (no U.S. tax returns required)

Note: additional documents may be requested at the consular officer’s discretion.

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 Malawi

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 Malawi, 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 Malawi, 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

There are no post-adoption reporting requirements for Malawi.

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 Lilongwe, 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
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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 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 A None One 3 Months
B-2 A None One 3 Months
B-1/B-2 A None One 3 Months
C-1 None Multiple 3 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 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 Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 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

General Issuing Authority Information:  The National Registration Bureau (NRB) is responsible for birth and death records, as well as National ID cards, as of August 2015. Birth and death records from before August 2015 were issued by the Registrar General’s office and are still valid.  The Registrar General’s office continues to issue marriage certificates, business licenses, and other civil documents.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available:  Yes

Fees:  None

Document Name: Birth Certificate

Issuing Authority:  National Registration Bureau

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  Government of Malawi seal bottom center, yellow –colored paper with black ink.  A raised seal is placed on the bottom of the document.   Currently available in A4 and A5 sized paper.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Chief Director  or Director

Registration Criteria: Application form and birth report from the hospital.

Procedure for Obtaining: Submit the application form to the local District Commissioner, where information is data entered and sent to the National Registration Bureau in Lilongwe.  Certificates are printed in Lilongwe and sent back to the District Commission for collection.  Normal applications typically take 15 working days.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: Not available

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The National Registration Bureau (NRB) in Lilongwe started issuing birth certificates and death certificates on August 1, 2015, taking over from the Registrar General’s Office (RGO).  Birth certificates and death certificates issued by the RGO prior to August 1, 2015 are still valid.  RGO-issued documents from prior to August 2015 are blue, yellow, or green on long A3 length paper.  They can be hand-written or typed and have the Registrar General’s seal. 

 

Death Certificates

Available:  Yes.

Fees: None

Document Name:  Death Certificate

Issuing Authority: National Registration Bureau (NRB)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Government of Malawi seal at the bottom center.  Yellow –colored  paper with black ink.  Type-written.  Currently available in A4 and A5 sized paper.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Chief Director or Director

Registration Criteria: Application form and death report from the hospital.

Procedure for Obtaining: Submit the application form to the local District Commissioner, who will sign and endorse the application.  Then, applicants must bring the endorsed form in-person to the National Registration Bureau in Lilongwe.  Certificates are printed and distributed in Lilongwe.  Normal processing time is 5 working days; they can sometimes be expedited on case by case basis.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: Not available

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: Most certificates are on A4 sized paper and are manually signed.  There are also A5 sized paper certificates which can be manually or electronically signed.  Death certificates are currently being issued upon demand, but will soon be compulsory for all deaths. 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available:  Yes.

Fees:  Application fee of 2,500.00 Malawi Kwacha for the marriage license and 10,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for two copies of the marriage certificates, one of which is yellow/green in color and type-written and one of which is blue in color and is hand-written.  Marriage certificates are issued at the Registrar General’s in Blantyre and Lilongwe.  The Registrar General in Blantyre and the Assistant Registrar General in Lilongwe also officiate marriage ceremonies.  The marriage license application process takes 21 days. 

Document Name: Marriage Certificate

Issuing Authority: Registrar General (Blantyre) and Assistant Registrar General (Lilongwe)

Special Seal(s):  Round impression seal at the bottom part on the right hand side of the certificate with the signature of the Registrar General or Assistant Registrar General.

Color:  Yellow, green, or blue

Format:  Yellow and green marriage certificates are printed on A4 sized paper in black ink.  The blue version is hand-written and comes in a long-form A3 like size.  The position of the seal is the same as in the yellow color marriage certificate, with the signature of the Registrar General or Assistant Registrar General. 

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:   The Registrar General or Assistant Registrar General.

Registration Criteria:  Both husband and wife must appear in person to make an application.  On the wedding date, both parties are required to bring their own representatives as witnesses before the officiating Registrar.

Procedure for Obtaining: Applicants should contact the Registrar General, FATIMA HOUSE ARCADE, Opposite ESCOM House, P.O. Box 100 and Private Bag 100, Blantyre, AND the Assistant Registrar General, PAGAT house, Off PAUL KAGAME Road, Old Town, P.O. Box 1780, Lilongwe.

Certified Copies Available:  Available with a fee of 5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha

Alternate Documents: Not available

Exceptions: N/A

Comments:  Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Malawi.

Divorce Certificates

Available: Yes

Comments: A copy of the decree is available from the Registrar of the High Court in Lilongwe or the High Court in Blantyre if the marriage was dissolved in the High Court.

Fees:  5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha.

 

Adoption Certificates

Available: Yes

Fees:  5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha application fee and 1,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for Adoption Order.

Document Name:  Adoption Order

Issuing Authority:  High Court Lilongwe, High Court Blantyre, Supreme Court of Appeal Blantyre, and High Court Mzuzu

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  Round impression seal with the words “High Court Registrar”,  and a signature of the High Court Registrar at the very end of the adoption statement;  Color:  Yellow, blue or white.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  High Court Registrar.

Registration Criteria:  Adoptive parent (s) should hire an attorney who will work with the responsible authorities (the Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs) to prepare the adoption application with the courts.  After  Adoption Order is granted, the adoptive parents are instructed to register the adoption order with the National Registration Bureau in order to get obtain a birth certificate for the adopted child.  

Procedure for Obtaining: Available from the High Court following a ruling.  Orders are typically given to the attorney of record. 

Certified Copies Available:  Not available

Alternate Documents:  Not available

Exceptions:  N/A

Comments: The National Registration Bureau issues birth certificates to adopted children based on court orders produced by the adoptive parents.

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Identity Card

Available: Limited availability  (See comments)

Fees: None

Document Name: National Identity Card

Issuing Authority: National Registration Bureau

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: This information is unavailable

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Chief Director

Registration Criteria:  Malawian citizens

Procedure for Obtaining: Submit to the National Registration Bureau an application form, proof of citizenship, and collection of biodata and biometric details.

Certified Copies Available: No

Alternate Documents: No

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: National ID Cards started being issued in limited quantities in early 2017.  There is no estimate of when a full rollout will be complete.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Centralized criminal records covering Malawi are maintained at the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Headquarters, Private Bag 305, Capital City, Lilongwe 3. The Malawi police issues certificates upon application and submission of declaration (see Special Clearance Procedures) and fingerprint charts (2 copies) indicating whether a criminal record should exist or not, and if so, particulars of the offenses, nature of punishment and/or period of imprisonment. Please also include dates applicant was in Malawi as well as the address of the applicant in Malawi. There may be a fee for this service.

Police Certificates

Available:  Available

Fees: 

  • 5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for Malawian present in Malawi
  • US$ 300.00 for a Malawian living outside Malawi
  • US$ 300.00 for foreign nationals requesting a police clearance from outside Malawi
  • US$ 200.00 for foreign nationals in Malawi without a Temporary Employment Permit (TEP), Business Resident Permit (BRP), or Permanent Resident Permit (PRP)
  • 5,000.00 Malawi Kwacha for foreign nationals in Malawi with a TEP, BRP, or PRP

Document Name:  Police Certificate

Issuing Authority: Criminal Investigation Department (CID), National Police Headquarters, Area 30, Private Bag 305, Capital City, Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Special Seal(s) / Color: / Format:  Printed on a white A4 paper with a black and white eagle with the words “CONFIDENTIAL” on top of the eagle.  The eagle on the top center of the police certificate.  A photo-digitized photograph of the bearer is in the middle of the certificate.   On the bottom is the signature of the Police Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent, signed on behalf of the Inspector General of Malawi Police Service.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  The Inspector General of Police

Registration Criteria: N/A

Procedure for Obtaining:

Applicants in Malawi must apply in person at the National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe and are required to submit 2 recent color photos, a valid passport and/or other proof of identity.

Applicants outside Malawi are required to submit 2 fingerprints charts taken by a competent authority (i.e. local police and other government entities commissioned to take finger-prints), along with a notarized copy of the bio-data page of applicant’s passport.  Applicants must also submit an individual statement giving reasons for requesting a Malawi police clearance certificate and indicate the dates and addresses lived in Malawi.

Applicants should contact the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), National Police Headquarters, Area 30, Private Bag 305, Capital City, Lilongwe 3, Malawi, telephone (265) 1-796-806.

Certified Copies Available:  Unavailable

Alternate Documents: Unavailable

Exceptions: N/A

Comments: The certificate indicates whether a criminal record exists or not, and if so, particulars of the offenses, nature of punishment and/or period of imprisonment.

Prison Records

Comments: The Prison record is part of the Police Certificate. Please see Police Certificate

Court Records

Available:  Yes

Fees:  5,000.00, Malawi Kwacha

Document Name:  Depends on nature of court record requested

Issuing Authority:  High Court in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  High court impression seal (Color: white, blue or green)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  High Court Registrar

Registration Criteria: N/A

Procedure for Obtaining:  Apply for a court record in person at the court or enlist an attorney to make an application on your behalf.

Certified Copies Available:  NO

Alternate Documents: NO

Exceptions:  N/A

Comments:  N/A

Military Records

Available: Yes

Fees:  None

Document Name: Military Record

Issuing Authority: Malawi Defense Force (MDF)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: No information available

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Inspector General of the Malawi Defense Force (MDF)

Registration Criteria:  Contact the Inspector General of the MDF to ask for specific registration procedures.

Procedure for Obtaining: Applicants should contact the Commanding Officer, Malawi Army, Headquarters, Kamuzu Barracks, Private Bag 43, Lilongwe.

Certified Copies Available: NO

Alternate Documents: NO

Exceptions:  N/A

Comments:  N/A

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available (Regular, Diplomatic, Official, etc.):  Regular, Diplomatic, and Service

Document Name:  Regular passport  (known as ordinary passport in Malawi)

Fees: 

  • 68,500.00 Malawi Kwacha (Express) Takes 2 days to process
  • 58,500.00 Malawi Kwacha (Urgent) takes  5 days to process
  • 48,500.00 Malawi Kwacha (Normal) takes 20 days to process

Registration Criteria:  Malawi citizenship

Issuing Authority TITLE:  Chief Passport Officer; Malawi Immigration Department (Blantyre and Lilongwe) 

Special Seal (s) /Color/Format:  Gold lettering on the cover.  The words “REPUBLIC OF MALAWI” on the passport book cover with the words “UNITY AND FREEDOM” in a scroll at the bottom of the Malawi government emblem.  The emblem is a shield franked by a lion and a leopard. The passport bio data is on page two.  Malawi regular passport numbers begin with the alphabet letter “MA” followed by numerical numbers (e.g. MA123777).

Procedure for Obtaining:  Submit and a completed and executed passport application endorsed by the District Commissioner along with 2 recent colors passport photographs to the passport office in Blantyre or Lilongwe.  Pay the appropriate passport application fees.  Have your finger-prints taken by immigration officer.  The Affidavit part of the passport application form must be executed the District Commissioner of the applicant’s home district or town.

Document Name:  Diplomatic passport

Color:  Red.

Fees:  85,500.00 Malawi Kwacha; takes 5 days to process

Issuing Authority:  Same as in ordinary passport

Special Seal (s) Color Format:  Same as in ordinary/regular passports Malawi diplomatic passports numbers  begin with the letters ‘MD” (e.g. MD111333)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Same as in ordinary/regular passports

Registration Criteria:  Malawi diplomatic passports are issued to high ranking government officers, and other private important personnel in the private sector, including some distinguished religious personnel.  You need a supporting letter from the Malawi government to request issuance of a diplomatic.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Complete Malawi passport application form, and submit two recent color passport photographs, current government issued identity card and a letter from government requesting diplomatic passport issuance.  Submit passport application form in person.  Fingerprints and additional photographs are taken by immigration officer.  

Document Name:  Malawi Service (Official) passport

Color:  Green

Fees:  55,000.00 Malawi Kwacha

Issuing Authority:   Same as in Ordinary and Diplomatic passports

Special Seal (s) Color Format:  Same as in Ordinary/Regular passport.  Malawi Service passports (Official) number begins with “MS” (e.g. MS222444)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Same as in Regular/Ordinary passport

Registration Criteria:  Malawi Serviced passports are issued to high ranking Malawi government officers and other private important personnel in the public sector, including some distinguished religious personnel.   You need a supporting letter form the Malawi government to request issuance of a Service passport.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Complete Malawi passport application form, and submit two recent color passport photographs, current issued identity, and a letter from Malawi government requesting official passport issuance.  Submit passport application in person.  Fingerprints and an additional photograph are taken by immigration officer.

 

Alternate Documents


Exceptions: N/A

Comments: Temporary Passports and temporary travel documents are NOT valid for immigrant visa processing.

Other Documents Available:  YES/see below.

TEMPORARY PASSPORT:  Valid for travel to Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and all African Countries.

Fee:  42,500.00 Malawi Kwacha

Procedure for Obtaining:  Completed Malawi passport application form.  Submit a government issued ID; i.e.  Expired passport, a valid driving license, and/or other competent identity.  Pay temporary passport application fees.  It takes 5 working days to process a temporary passport.  The Malawi Immigration Department is the issuing authority.

TEMPORARY TRAVEL DOCUMENT:  Valid for travel to Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Fee:  10,000.00 Malawi Kwacha

Procedure for Obtaining:  Same as temporary passport

Note:  A Temporary Travel Document is issued on Malawi government paper with a photograph of the bearer/traveler affixed to. It takes from one to five days to obtain a temporary travel document.  The Malawi Immigration Department is the issuing authority. 

Other Records

Not applicable

Visa Issuing Posts

Post Title: Embassy

Address:

Street Address: Area 40, Plot no. 21, 16TH Jomo Kenyatta Road, City Center,
                          Lilongwe

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 30016
                            Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Phone Number:

Tel: (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi, add "0" before the "1".)

Email: LILONGWECONSULAR @STATE.GOV

Visa Services: All visa categories for Malawi

Comments / Additional Information:

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Malawi.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 721-0270 (202) 721-0288

New York, NY (212) 317-8738 (212) 317-8729

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Lilongwe
Area 40, City Center
Lilongwe, Malawi
Mailing Address: PO Box 30016
Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone
+(265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Emergency
+(265) (0)999-591024 or +(265) (0) 888-734-826
Fax
+(265) 1-774-471 (Dial "0" before the "1" within Malawi)
Malawi 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.