Ongoing Concerns Related to Intercountry Adoptions from Nigeria

Last Updated: June 30, 2023

The Office of Children’s Issues and the U.S. Mission in Nigeria recommend that prospective adoptive parents reconsider plans to adopt in Nigeria. The Department previously issued notices on June 8, 2014, and October 13, 2016, to highlight concerns about practices that may place children and families at risk and result in difficulty immigrating an adopted child to the United States. In addition to these ongoing concerns, the Department has continued to observe evidence of systemic fraud and corruption throughout the country, including:

  • Organized illegal adoption through imprisonment of pregnant women, coercion, bribery, and child-buying (see the 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report for additional information); and
  • Poor record-keeping and unreliable or non-existent documentation of the child’s background, birth parent consent, and other documents material to the adoption and immigration process (see the Visa Office’s website for more information about Nigerian civil documents).

Due to systemic fraud and poor record-keeping identified around intercountry adoptions in Nigeria, processing times for adoption cases are significantly delayed.  Many adoptees have been found ineligible for an immigrant visa following the denial of the underlying orphan petition (I-600) because the child did not meet the definition of orphan under immigration law. In cases where the immigration petition is denied, even if the adoption is legally completed in Nigeria, our Consular Officers in Nigeria will not be able to issue the child a visa to immigrate to the United States. For more information, please visit our website.

Furthermore, per the Department’s travel information page, all travelers, including prospective adoptive parents, must be aware of significant security concerns involved in travel within Nigeria, which include crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime with increased risk in certain regions. Because of security concerns, U.S. Embassy Abuja was on ordered departure last year until January 20, 2023.  

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to review our website for information about completing a legal adoption in Nigeria, including how to find an adoption service provider (ASP) to facilitate an intercountry adoption

The Department of State will continue providing updated information on as it becomes available. Email inquiries may be directed to