Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Niger Intercountry Adoption Inormation
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Reconsider travel to Niger due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.
Country Summary: Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common.
Terrorist groups continue plotting kidnappings and possible attacks in Niger. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities and areas frequented by Westerners. Terrorists operate in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, Burkina Faso, and throughout northern Niger. Avoid travel to Niger’s border regions, particularly the Malian border area, Diffa region, and the Lake Chad region. Mali-based extremist groups have crossed the border and conducted multiple lethal attacks on Nigerien security forces.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in remote and rural areas as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside of the capital, Niamey, due to security concerns. Outside of Niamey, all U.S. Embassy personnel are required to travel only during daylight hours and in a minimum of a two-vehicle convoy accompanied by armed Nigerien government security escorts.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Niger.
If you decide to travel to Niger:
Niger is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with8 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).
PLEASE NOTE: Nigerien law does not technically permit adoptions by couples with biological children. The Direction de la Protection de l'Enfant(DPE) may review a longstanding policy of granting exceptions in the future.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Niger, 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.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Niger, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines Who Can Adopt under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on 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 adopt a child from Niger:
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Niger has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
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, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely would have relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)'s adoption.
Ministère de la Population, de la Promotion de la Femme et de la Protection de l'Enfant, Direction de la Protection de l'Enfant (Ministry of Population, Promotion of Women, and Protection of Children, Department of Child Protection) and Ministère de la Justice et Garde Des Sceaux(Ministry of Justice and Keeper of the Seals)
The process for adopting a child from Niger generally includes the following steps:
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Niger 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.
The sole agency authorized to handle adoptions in Niger is the Direction de la Protection de l'Enfant,the Nigerien government entity cited above. However, this agency prefers that prospective adoptive parents work with an attorney who understands local law.
Although not required by Nigerien law, prospective adoptive parent(s) should consider hiring a local attorney to handle their case. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of attorneys known to work with U.S. citizens. This list does not imply an endorsement of specific attorneys by the Embassy.
In order to adopt a child from Niger; you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Niger and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the Direction de la Protection de l’Enfant of Niger.
There is no specific application form for an adoption. Prospective adoptive parents should submit an application package including all items found in the ”Documents Required” section of Adopt or Gain Legal Custody of Child in Niger below.
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 Niger will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Niger 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.
Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Niger
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Niger generally includes the following:
ROLE OF THE COURT: Court rules on the adoption request with an adoption decree.
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
After a two-month waiting period, during which the child may not leave Niger, the adoption becomes final and the adoptive parents can then proceed with obtaining a birth certificate for the child at the Etat Civil office at the Hotel de Ville (City Hall).
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Niger.
Some Nigerien authorities have taken the view that, once a Nigerien child has been adopted by a foreign couple, s/he no longer has Nigerien nationality under Nigerien law and thus is entitled only to a single-sheet temporary passport as a one-time travel document. The Nigerien passport office at the Direction Surveillance du Territoire at the Ministry of Interior, however, routinely issues Nigerien passports to children adopted by parents of various nationalities, and would do the same for those adopted by Americans. Using the Nigerien birth certificate listing them as the parents, the adoptive parents must submit the passport application through their attorney, but pay only the normal passport issuance fee. Depending on your attorney a service fee may be included in the attorney fees.
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 Niamey. 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 Embassy Niamey's website.
Important Note Regarding the Home Study: Prospective adoptive parents resident in Niger who plan to apply for an immigrant visa for an orphan (immigrant visa category IR-3 or IR-4), must be certain that the home study performed to fulfill Nigerien requirements also meets the more rigorous requirements of U.S. immigration law.
Immigrant visa interviews are on Tuesdays and Thursdays only from 1300H to 1600H. For an appointment please call (227) 722 661/2/3/4.
NOTE: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours, and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.
For adoptions finalized abroad 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 if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Niger. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.
In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Niger, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.
The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Niger registration 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).
Nigerien Government Follow-Up: Nigerien officials may claim that the prospective adoptive parents must sign an agreement to pay for Nigerien social workers to travel and visit the family every two years until the adopted child reaches majority. This is not an actual Nigerien legal requirement. In practice, Nigerien authorities have accepted a letter from the social service agency with jurisdiction over the prospective parents' place of residence in the U.S. that it will monitor the child's post-adoption development.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Niger and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.
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.
U.S. Embassy in Niger
Rue des Ambassades, BP 11201
Tel. (227) 72-26-61
Fax. (227) 73-31-67
Niger's Adoption Authority
Centre d'Accueil des enfants en difficulté familiale
Direction de la protection de l'enfant,
Ministère du Développement Social, de la Population, de la Promotion de la Femme et de la Protection de l'Enfant
Embassy of Niger
2204 R. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. (202) 483-4224
Fax. (202) 483-3169
Niger also has a mission to the United Nations in New York, but it does not handle consular issues, including those related to adoptions.
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
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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