Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Morocco Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Exercise increased caution in Morocco due to terrorism.
Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Morocco. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Morocco.
If you decide to travel to Morocco:
Morocco is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Although this website uses the term "adoption" throughout, prospective adoptive parents considering adopting a Moroccan child should be aware that Moroccan law and process provide for a custody/guardianship certificate issued for the purpose of the child’s immigration and adoption. In Morocco, this guardianship is referred to as "Kafala" and is awarded by a Moroccan court. Under these circumstances, an eligible child will be issued a category IR-4 immigrant visa, and will need to fulfill certain requirements, including the child’s adoption after arrival in the United States, before the child may acquire U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Morocco, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to acquire Kafala guardianship of a child from Morocco for the purpose of emigration and obtaining a full and final adoption in the U.S.:
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Morocco has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for Kafala guardianship:
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
Morocco’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice (Le Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés, Place el Mamounia, Rabat, Morocco)
The process for adopting a child from Morocco generally includes the following steps:
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Morocco is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
In order to adopt a child from Morocco, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Morocco and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice to be found eligible to obtain Kafala guardianship in Morocco. More information can be found at the Ministry’s website at: www.justice.gov.ma. The website is currently available in Arabic only.
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority or other authorized entity in Morocco will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
The child must be eligible for guardianship according to Morocco’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
The process for obtaining legal and physical custody of the child in Morocco generally includes the following:
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
After you gain legal custody in Morocco, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
Once you have obtained legal custody of the child, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
If you have obtained a Kafala guardianship certificate in Morocco for the purpose of adopting your child in the United States, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
How to obtain a new birth certificate for the child in Morocco
A court issued abandonment order is required to apply for the child’s local birth certificate at a local administrative office.
How to obtain a Passport for your child in Morocco
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Morocco. Once the prospective adoptive parents receive a court-issued abandonment order, and obtain an authorization to apply for the child’s Moroccan passport, they may apply for the child’s passport at a local administrative office. Obtaining a passport takes anywhere from two days to two weeks.
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. Consulate General in Casablanca. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Consulate Casablanca’s website. If you have questions about the process or documents needed, please contact the Consulate via email at email@example.com.
Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Prospective adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca before making final travel arrangements.
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*Please be aware that since your child does not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Morocco
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Morocco, 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 of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual 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. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Morocco, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
Although Morocco does not generally have post-placement reporting requirements, an individual Kafala court may impose certain post placement obligations on the prospective adoptive parents in the Kafala order. If this is the case, we strongly urge you to comply with those obligations in a timely manner. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.
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.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
Morocco ’s Kafala Guardianship Authority:
Ministry of Justice
Le Ministère de la Justice et des Libertés
Place el Mamounia, Rabat, Morocco
Tel: +212 (0) 537-732-941 to 946
Fax: +212 (0) 537-734-725
Internet: justice.gov.ma (currently, in Arabic only)
Embassy of Morocco in the United States of America
1601 21st Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
*Morocco also has a consulate located in New York City at the following address:
10 East 40th Street,
New York, NY 10016
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1-913-214-5808
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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