Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Togo Intercountry Adoption Information
Exercise increased caution in Togo due to crime and civil unrest
Violent crime, such as carjacking, is common. Organized criminal activity, such as armed robbery, is also common. Criminals themselves are sometimes targeted for vigilante justice or lynching.
There are frequent demonstrations in Togo, during which protesters and security force members have been injured, and some killed. Police have used tear gas to disperse demonstrations that caused traffic disruptions in city centers and along National Route 1, and arrested demonstrators. Security forces have at times used excessive force to disperse crowds. Authorities have interrupted internet and cellular data services during past protests, making communication difficult and unpredictable.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Togo:
Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting a child from the United States. We urge prospective adoptive parents residing abroad who are considering adoption of a child from the United States to consult with Togo’s Central Authority (the National Adoption Committee or CNAET) for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.
Togo is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Togo.
Note: If any of the following occurred prior to February 1, 2010 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for Togo, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your case: 1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying Togo as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Togo, or 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees. For more information, read about Hague Transition Cases. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Togo, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) seeking to adopt a child from Togo must meet the following requirements imposed by Togo:
Because Togo is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Togo must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Togo have determined that placement of the child within Togo has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.
In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements imposed by Togo:
both parents are deceased and the family consents to release the child to a third party. This would be considered an adoption by consent.
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 possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have not relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Togo before: 1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of Togo has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Togo’s Central Adoption Authority
CNAET (the National Adoption Committee)
Because Togo is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Togo must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may cause significant delays or result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider that Has Been Authorized by Togo’s Central Authority to Operate in Togo.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
3. Apply to Togo’s Authorities to Adopt, and Be Matched with a Child
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United
States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with
the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)
5. 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 to Act as Your Primary Provider That Has Been Authorized by Togo’s Central Authority to Operate in Togo
The first step in adopting a child from Togo is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide intercountry adoption services to U.S. citizens and that has been authorized by the Government of Togo. A primary provider must be identified in each intercountry adoption case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case. Your primary provider is responsible for:
Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Togo, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Togo and U.S. immigration law.
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.
3. Apply to Togo’s Authorities to Adopt, and be matched with a Child
Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority
After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Togo as part of your adoption application. Togo’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Togo’s law.
Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority
If both the United States and Togo determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Togo’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is eligible for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Togo may provide you with a referral. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child. The adoption authority in Togo will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral. We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child. You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Togo. Learn more about this critical decision.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility
After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.
Submit an Immigrant Visa Application
After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Lome responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Togo.
You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (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. 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. A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.
The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Togo’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Togo if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Togo’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Warning: Do not attempt to adopt a child in Togo before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
5. Adopt the Child in TOGO
Remember: Before you adopt a child in Togo, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption.
The process for finalizing the adoption in Togo generally includes the following:
Note: Adoption versus legal guardianship: Togolese family law provides that the legal guardianship of a child or the delegation of parental authority can be granted in cases where the child is an orphan, or in instances where he/she is considered abandoned or needy with no family to provide basic care. The legal guardianship and the delegation of parental authority are temporary and may not lead to an adoption. The High Court, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Affairs, grants legal guardianship and the delegation of parental authority in the best interest of the child. However, the court does not generally authorize a child to be placed or taken out of the country in the absence of a full and final adoption. Therefore, obtaining legal guardianship of a child will generally not enable you to bring that child to the United States.
Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, 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 intercountry adoption case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Togo, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. Improper payments violate applicable law or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Togo at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent central authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.
In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Togo include:
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.
Once you have finalized the adoption in Togo, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
The Court will issue a birth decree with the new name of the child together with the adoption decree. Adoptive parents must go to the town hall (e.g. Etat Civil Central, Lome) for a transcription of the birth decree into the official birth registry.
To receive a new birth certificate for your child, submit the adoption decree to the “etat-civil” of the city where the adoption took place. There will be a CFA 5,000 (approximately $10) fee. It takes about one week to receive a new birth certificate (Acte de Naissance).
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Togo.
After an adoption is finalized, Togo will not issue a passport for the adoptee. Prospective adoptive parents seeking a Togolese passport must apply prior to the issuance of the final adoption decree. To apply, the following documents and fee must be submitted in person to the passport office:
Note: Passport applications are accepted on Mondays and Wednesdays only and require 10-15 days for processing before they are ready for pickup.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Lome. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Lome by email at email@example.com to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the Form I-800 provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
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). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 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. You 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 confirmation page to the visa interview. Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.
Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Lome processes immigrant visas for non-U.S. citizens located in Togo. Additional information concerning immigrant visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Lome can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Lome’s website.
Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Lome before making final travel arrangements. Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission 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 admission into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.
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 acquires U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for 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 Togo
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 Togo, see the Department of State’s Togo 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 abroad 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 in Togo, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Togo, 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).
For the first three years after an adoption, the National Committee for Adoptions in Togo (CNAET) requires the adoption agency to submit an annual report concerning the child’s well-being. Thereafter, until the child reaches 18 years, reports are due based on the following schedule: the sixth year after adoption (three years after the third report), the 11th year after adoption (four years after the fourth report), and the 16th year after adoption (five years after the fifth report). The adoption agency should transmit the reports directly to the CNAET; alternatively, the CNAET will address the request through the U.S. Central Authority.
Many adoptive parents find it important to have access to 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. You may wish to 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.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.
If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Lome, 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-800/A petition process.
The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in 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 Complaint Registry.
U.S. Embassy in Togo
Address: 4332 Blvd. Eyadema
Tel: (228) 22 61 54 70.79
Fax: (228) 22 61 55 01
Consular Fax: (228) 261 54 99
Internet: U.S. Embassy Lome
Togo’s Adoption Authority
Comite National d’Adoption des Enfants au Togo (CNAET)
Tel. (228) 22 20 47 03
Tel: (228) 22 39 98 90
Fax: (228) 22 20 47 03
Embassy of Togo
Address: Embassy of the Republic of Togo, 2208 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008;
Tel: (202) 234-4212
Fax: (202) 232-3190
Internet: Embassy of Togo
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 National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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