Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Sudan Intercountry Adoption Information
Reconsider travel to Sudan due to terrorism and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Sudan, especially in Khartoum. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities, and areas frequented by Westerners. Terrorists groups in Sudan have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings.
A state of emergency is in effect in Kassala and North Kordofan states, which gives security forces greater arrest powers. Arbitrary detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. Curfews may be imposed with little or no warning. The Sudanese government does not recognize dual citizenship and is likely to consider U.S.-Sudanese dual citizens Sudanese citizens only.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Sudan, as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization from the Sudanese government to travel outside of Khartoum. The U.S. Embassy requires U.S. government personnel in Sudan to use armored vehicles for official travel. Family members under 21 years of age cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in Sudan.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Sudan:
The Darfur States, Blue Nile State, and Southern Kordofan State – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Violent crime, such as kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking, is particularly prevalent in the Darfur region. Westerners are frequently targeted.
Tensions remain high between the government of Sudan and opposition forces and violence continues along the border between Chad and Sudan and areas that border South Sudan (including the disputed area of Abyei). Armed opposition groups are active in Central Darfur and parts of Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Sudan 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 2012webpage 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.
Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of Sudan. U.S. citizens interested in adopting children from Sudan should contact the adoption authority of Sudan to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Sudan, who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact Sudan’s adoption authority.
Adoption is not allowed for Muslim children but may be allowed for non-Muslim children, insofar as the religious laws of the child’s denomination allow. A child whose religion is unknown is automatically considered to be Muslim. Sudanese law also allows for a court appointed “caretaker” (similar to a legal guardian in the United States) to oversee the welfare and upbringing of a child until he or she reaches the age of legal majority (21 years of age). To qualify as a caretaker or adoptive parent, the applicant must be between 30 and 50 years of age, with a good reputation and behavior. Unmarried men are not eligible, while unmarried women may be eligible with the authorization of their father. Children over 14 years of age may not be placed in the custody of a caretaker or adoptive parent. In the case of Muslim children, the caretaker must be both Muslim and Sudanese or from Sudanese background. In addition to contacting the adoption authority regarding applicable laws and procedures, prospective adoptive parents may wish to, but are not required to, consult with a local attorney prior to taking any action. The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum maintains a list of lawyers for the convenience of U.S. citizens seeking local legal advisers. This list does not imply a recommendation or endorsement of specific attorneys by the Embassy.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Sudan, 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 being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Sudan must meet the following requirements:
In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements of Sudan:
Relinquishment: None specified.
Abandonment: None specified.
Age of Adoptive Child: Children over 14 years of age may not be placed in the custody of a caretaker or adoptive parent. 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)).
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).
Sudan’s Adoption Authority
Social Services Supervisor of the Governorate for the Province where the adopted child resides. There is no central, national authority.
The process for adopting a child from Sudan generally includes the following steps:
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider
Before taking steps to adopt a child from Sudan, 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.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Sudan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Sudan 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 Sudan’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 Social Services Supervisor of the Governorate for the Province where the adopted child resides to be found eligible to adopt by Sudan.
If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Sudan will review your adoption dossier. 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 Sudan’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 Sudan
The process for finalizing the adoption in Sudan generally includes the following:
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:
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 Sudan, 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 Khartoum, Sudan.
When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Khartoum, Sudan 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 months 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 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:
If you have finalized the adoption in Sudan, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Sudan. Please contact the adoption authority regarding applicable laws and procedures.
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/Consulate] in [City]. 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.
It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum before making final travel arrangements.
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.
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 Sudan
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 Sudan, 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 Sudan, 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).
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.
If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, 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.
Sudan’s Adoption Authority
The government office responsible for adoptions in Sudan is the Social Services Supervisor of the Governorate for the Province where the adopted child resides. There is no central, national authority.
Embassy of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 338-8565
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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