Notice: Update on Intercountry Adoptions from Nigeria and Important Cautionary Notes

Last Updated: October 13, 2016

The Department of State (Department) and the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wish to advise U.S. prospective adoptive parents (PAPs), adoptive parents, and adoption service providers (ASPs) of information recently provided by the Ministry of Social Welfare (Ministry) and the High Court Family Division in Lagos State, Nigeria. In April 2016, the Ministry stated it will no longer require PAPs to be Nigerian citizens or of Nigerian descent in order to pursue an intercountry adoption of a Nigerian child in Lagos State. Specifically, the High Court Family Division of Lagos State confirmed that when it is in the best interest of the child, the court may waive the legal requirement that at least one adoptive parent must be a Nigerian citizen.

Effective 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 intercountry adoption 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. The applicable accreditation standards include the requirement to supervise foreign providers that provide, or facilitate the provision of, adoption services.  Agencies working in Nigeria should review the Guidance on Supervising Foreign Providers posted on our website.  

Please note that the information in this notice applies only to intercountry adoptions from Lagos State and does not reflect laws and procedures that may be in effect in other states in Nigeria. For additional information on the general requirements for intercountry adoption in Nigeria, visit the Department’s website.

Please continue to monitor our website for updates on adoptions in Nigeria and state specific information.

For further information regarding this notice, please contact the Department’s Office of Children’s Issues via email at For specific inquiries about cases pending with the Department please contact the U.S. Consulate General at, or for cases pending with the USCIS National Benefits Center at NBC