April 25, 2013
Adoption and guardianship decrees from Nigerian states that lack adoption laws, and adoptions by persons of non-Nigerian heritage, may not be allowable under Nigerian law or acceptable for purposes of U.S. immigration.
The Department of State is aware of instances in which U.S. citizens have sought or are seeking to pursue adoptions in Nigerian states that lack adoption laws. These states include all northern states, with the exception of Plateau State and Nasarawa State. It is unclear whether any adoption or guardianship orders originating in these states can legally occur. Therefore, such orders presented to the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, as part of an adoption petition filing or visa application, will likely require further investigation. More information on adoption investigations conducted by the U.S. Consulate General, including approximate wait times, can be found here.
Adoption laws in Nigeria are complex. Even in states in which adoption laws exist, specific requirements can differ from state to state. All Nigerian states that have adoption laws, with the sole exception of Lagos State, require the prospective adoptive parent(s) to be of Nigerian heritage. As a result, non-Nigerians are not allowed to adopt in most states.
The Department advises U.S. citizens interested in pursuing an adoption from Nigeria to research U.S. immigration laws and the relevant Nigerian federal and state laws and procedures by consulting with a reputable, licensed agency or experienced facilitator in the United States, and with the appropriate state social welfare office (usually named the State Ministry of Women’s or Family Affairs) in Nigeria.