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International Travel

English

Country Information

Djibouti

Country Information

Djibouti
Republic of Djibouti
Last Updated: December 29, 2016
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

 None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Djibouti
Lotissement Haramous, Lot # 350-B
P.O. Box 185
Djibouti City, Republic of Djibouti
Telephone: +(253) 21-45-30-00 (Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(253) 77-87-72-29
Fax: +(253) 21-45-33-40
Email: ConsularDjibouti@state.gov

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheets on Djibouti for information on U.S. - Djibouti relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Visit the Embassy of Djibouti website for the most current visa information.
  • Obtain your visa prior to travel. Thirty-day visas may be issued on arrival at the discretion of immigration authorities (fee is 15,000 Djiboutian francs/$90) but cannot be guaranteed.
  • Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Djiboutian embassy or consulate.
  • Contact the French embassy in countries where there is no Djiboutian consular presence.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination, if you have arrived from a yellow-fever prone country
  • If you are traveling to Djibouti in support of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) activities, follow directions per the Foreign Clearance Guide.

Journalists require a letter of accreditation approved in advance by the Ministry of Communication and Culture. U.S. journalists and other journalists working for U.S.-based media institutions should contact the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs section at least two weeks prior to travel to facilitate this accreditation process. Journalists who fail to receive an accreditation letter risk arrest, seizure of equipment, and/or expulsion.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Djibouti.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Regional terrorist groups continue to threaten Western interests and can easily cross borders to conduct attacks in public places where Westerners congregate. Civil unrest or armed conflict in the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, and Somalia affect the security situation in Djibouti. A large number of refugees and asylum seekers from across the region, including Somali refugees and asylum seekers from Ethiopia, have settled in the Ali Addeh Camp near Ali Sabieh, and refugees from Yemen continue to settle in the Markazi refugee camp near Obock.

Tensions along the Djibouti-Eritrea border exist from an ongoing border dispute, necessitating approval from the Djibouti government before travel north of Obock. Border skirmishes may occur intermittently.

Many border areas between Djibouti and both Ethiopia and Somalia lack visible demarcation and may still contain landmines.

  • Avoid demonstrations and use vigilance during your movements around the country. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent. Security forces have at times relied on force to disperse protesters
  • Maintain caution at large gatherings and in areas frequented by foreigners.
  • Monitor news and consular messages

Crime:  Crimes of opportunity are most common and include pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft from or of vehicles, and identity theft (by stealing credit card information).

  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and displaying cash and valuable personal property.
  • Dress conservatively.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
  • Travel with a copy of your U.S. passport and Djibouti visa to prevent the originals from being taken. Keep original documents in a secure location.
  • Keep your credit card in your sight at all times while it is being processed. Consider using prepaid credit cards with limited funds when traveling.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:  Legal response or recourse for victims of crime is extremely limited. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 18 throughout Djibouti (French/Arabic) and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(253) 77-877-229. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. 

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for travel back to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs result in long prison sentences and heavy fines. Although the narcotic khat is legal in Djibouti, it is illegal in many countries, including the United States. Some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

The Embassy operates within the legal and administrative framework of Djibouti, and cannot intervene in criminal and civil matters including judicial proceedings, private contract, employment or commercial disputes.

Photography:  It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations or personnel, and other infrastructure such as air and sea ports, bridges, and public buildings, as well as of religious sites, such as mosques. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, and risk detention and/or expulsion. Do not take photos of Djiboutians without their permission.

Children:  Dual Somali or Djiboutian-U.S. citizens should be aware that moving children to Djibouti or Somalia (including Somaliland) from the United States for the purpose of having Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) performed can be prosecuted in both countries. FGM/C is illegal under both Djiboutian and U.S. law.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information. Djiboutian law enforcement officials occasionally prevent foreigners from contacting anyone while in detention. Because of this, the U.S. Embassy may not receive notification of an arrest or may not be allowed access to you if you are detained.

Phone Service:  Although land lines do exist in parts of Djibouti, cellular phones are the norm. You may purchase a SIM card locally for use in an unlocked GSM cell phone. The national cellular phone provider is Djibouti Telecom. Telecommunications systems outside of Djibouti City are unreliable or non-existent.

Currency:  The Djiboutian Franc (DJF) is the official currency. It is cash economy; credit cards are accepted at major hotels and supermarkets only. Most vendors and banks will only take bills printed after 2006 due to counterfeiting. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. ATMs are limited and may not recognize U.S. issued credit cards, including MasterCard, though Visa generally works.

Firearms: Strict regulations may be enforced on the temporary import and export of firearms. Contact the Embassy of Djibouti in Washington, D.C. or the Djibouti National Police for specific information regarding customs and registration requirements prior to travel. Hunting without a permit is illegal.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers:  While there are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events, societal norms do not allow for the public discussion of homosexuality and there are no known LGBTI organizations. Authorities may prosecute public display of same-sex sexual conduct under laws prohibiting attacks on “good morals.” No antidiscrimination law exists to protect LGBTI individuals.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, communication, accommodations, and public buildings. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack functioning elevators

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips

Women Travelers:  The law prohibits female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), but the practice remains prevalent with rates estimated at 78 percent nationally. Reliable rape statistics are not available, and laws for sentencing perpetrators are not enforced effectively. Domestic violence is common but underreported. Rather than the courts, families and the informal clan-based justice system generally handle cases of domestic abuse or violence. Police rarely intervene in domestic violence incidents, The National Union of Djiboutian Women operates a walk-in counseling center (Cellule d’Ecoute) in Djibouti City that provides services and referrals for women and men.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Consult the CDC website for Djibouti prior to travel.

Medical facilities in the capital of Djibouti are limited, and facilities are nonexistent in many outlying areas. Trauma care is only intended to stabilize a patient prior to medical evacuation. Medicines are expensive and often in short supply. Carry medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Dual U.S.-Djiboutian citizens with disabilities may qualify for special education and health services through the Ministry of National Solidarity and the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Family Planning.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas. Most care providers expect payment in U.S. dollars or Djiboutian francs before treatment is provided.

Medical Insurance:  If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans. Dual U.S.-Djiboutian citizens with disabilities may qualify for education and health services through the Ministry of National Solidarity and the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Family Planning.

Malaria is endemic. Use CDC recommended mosquito repellents including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR-3535. Sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is strongly recommended for all travelers.

Given Djibouti’s proximity to the Arabian peninsula, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is also a risk. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Although main roads in Djibouti City are well maintained, others are unpaved or in poor repair and subject to unexpected flooding. Highways are prone to frequent rock slides. Many roads wind through steep ravines and lack guardrails.

Police occasionally set up random roadblock stops on major roads to conduct inspections of vehicle registration and insurance.

Outside of Djibouti City, hazards include narrow roads, insufficient lighting, poor vehicle maintenance (missing headlights) and wayward pedestrians and livestock. Police set up roadblocks on major roads which are not clearly visible at night. Other risks include excessive speeding and erratic driving habits. The widespread use of the narcotic khat by drivers contributes to speeding and unsafe driving habits.

When driving outside Djibouti City, avoid all travel after dark and use convoys of two vehicles in case one car becomes disabled. Carry additional fuel and provisions (water, satellite phone, first aid kit). Gas stations are located at a considerable distance from one another and sell only diesel fuel in rural areas. There are few professional roadside assistance services.

Landmines: Stay on paved roads. Unmarked land mines exist in the border region with Eritrea, though most landmines have been marked or cleared from border regions.

Traffic Laws: A U.S. driver’s license or International Driving Permit is required to drive in Djibouti. The use of cell phones while driving is prohibited. Exercise caution at intersections; drivers often run red lights and do not stop at intersections. Third-party liability insurance is required and you must display the insurance sticker.

Accidents: Remain inside the vehicle and wait for the traffic police or gendarmes. If a hostile mob forms or you feel you are in danger, leave the scene in your vehicle if possible and proceed directly to the nearest police station to report the incident. If you are injured, drive to the nearest hospital or clinic.

Public Transportation: Avoid all travel by public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source. Public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe. Hotel and airport shuttle services are a safe alternative. Taxis are available but are considered unsafe. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from riding in buses or taxis.

The capital city and the towns of Obock and Tadjoura have intercity bus and ferry services. An electric limited rail, replacing the century old Ethio-Djibouti railway, began operation in October 2016 with freight service.

Hiring a vehicle: Reputable car rental firms can include the services of a driver. Be particularly vigilant at airports where criminals use luggage tag information to present themselves as pre-arranged drivers. Do not use your passport as a security deposit. If you allow your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Sea Travel: The threat of piracy remains significant. Pirates have held foreigners hostage for ransom. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in Djiboutian coastal waters continue. Djiboutian military ships are clearly marked, and may turn away small craft or divert vessels to verify citizenship of passengers.

  • Use established sea lanes, and pilot vessels in groups to reduce the risk of being hijacked.
  • See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
  • In case of emergency, contact the Djiboutian Coast Guard or Djiboutian Navy on UHF marine channel 16, or the Yemeni Coast Guard on channel 16 or at 967 1-562-402.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Djibouti, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Djibouti’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. See the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Djibouti
Lotissement Haramous, Lot # 350-B
P.O. Box 185
Djibouti City, Republic of Djibouti
Telephone: +(253) 21-45-30-00 (Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(253) 77-87-72-29
Fax: +(253) 21-45-33-40
Email: ConsularDjibouti@state.gov

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Djibouti, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Djibouti.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Djibouti is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Djibouti and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Djibouti and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a crime in Djibouti according to the Law on the Fight against the Traffic of Human Beings of 2007, Article 2.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Djibouti and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Djibouti for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Djibouti are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

U.S. Department of State is not aware of any government agencies or non-governmental organizations that offer mediation programs.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Djibouti is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Adoption in Djibouti is a complicated, time consuming process with many legal hurdles.  There are no adoption agencies to facilitate the process.  Many legal procedures must be completed in-person, and in French or Somali.  There is no clear, uniform adoption procedure.  Generally, only non-Djiboutian children considered to be abandoned in Djibouti are available for adoption; and even in these cases, restrictions abound.  Djiboutian children can be adopted only in very exceptional cases (mostly by family members), and at the discretion of the Djiboutian government.  Adoption in Djibouti is divided into two types: simple and plénier.  Simple adoption is when someone cares for the child as his/her own, but the child’s name is not changed and the biological parents retain parental rights.  A plénier adoption is when the biological parents irrevocably relinquish parental rights and the child’s last name is changed to match the adoptive parents.  For the purposes of U.S. immigration law, a plénier adoption is required.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Djibouti, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Djibouti:

  • RESIDENCY :Prospective adoptive parents must be physically present in Djibouti at the time of the proposed adoption, but need not be residents.  The child must be both physically present and a resident of Djibouti.
  • AGE OF ADOPTING PARENTS:Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and must be at least 15 years older than the child.  If the prospective adoptive parent is a relative, he/she need only be 21 years old.  The prospective adoptive parent(s) must also be morally and physically sound, as determined by the Government of Djibouti.
  • MARRIAGE: Prospective adoptive parents do not need to be married in order to complete the adoption process.  Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals adopting as individuals or couples are not eligible to adopt in Djibouti.
  • INCOME: Djiboutian law does not stipulate any specific income requirements; only that prospective adoptive parents should demonstrate that they have a steady, monthly income.
  • OTHER: Djiboutian Sharia law only allows for adoption of Djiboutian national children within a family or clan. Adoption of Djiboutian children by non-family members is not permitted. It is unclear whether the Government of Djibouti would allow non-Muslim prospective parents to adopt a child that was born to Muslim biological parents - this has been historically prohibited.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Djibouti has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • RELINGQUISHMENT:Only children whose parents are willing to irrevocably relinquish their parental rights are eligible for adoption – the adoption must be a “plenary adoption”.
  • ABANDONMENT: Only non-Djiboutian children are considered to be abandoned. Djiboutian children are automatically assigned a Djiboutian guardian within their family or clan if their parent or guardian is unable to care for them. In the case of non-Djiboutian children, they must be declared abandoned by a court – standard criteria do not exist.
  • AGE OF ADOPTIVE CHILD: Children must be 17 years of age or younger. Please note, however, that in order for a child to meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600 petition must be filed while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if adopted, or to be adopted, together with a sibling under the age of 16). 
  • SIBLING ADOPTIONS: There are no known sibling requirements; however this may vary on a case by case basis.
  • SPECIAL NEEDS OR MEDICAL CONDITIONS: There are no known requirements.
  • WAITING PERIOD OR FOSTER CARE: There is no defined waiting period; however, the process may take a year or more.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. 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 their child(ren)’s adoption.

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How to Adopt

DJIBOUTI'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Tribunal de Première Instance de Djibouti

THE PROCESS

The process for adopting a child from Djibouti generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an adoption service provider
  2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child
  4. Adopt the child in Djibouti
  5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
  6. Bring your child home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
    The recommended first step in adopting a child from Djibouti is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption.  Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

    There are no adoption service providers in Djibouti to assist with the Djiboutian portion of the adoption process. A U.S. adoption service provider can assist in the U.S. immigration portion of an adoption from Djibouti. According to court officials, adoptions do not require the participation of a lawyer, but may be beneficial to engage someone familiar with Djiboutian family law.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
    In order to adopt a child from Djibouti; you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Djibouti and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the Tribunal de Première Instance de Djibouti. 

    Please see instructions below under Adoption Application.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

  3. Be Matched with a Child
    There is no official process for matching you with a Djiboutian child, and there are no agencies available to assist you in Djibouti. Most matches are done through family connections. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Djibouti’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. 

  4. Adopt or Gain Legal Custody of Child in Djibouti
    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Djibouti generally includes the following:
    • Role of Adoption Authority: All adoptions are facilitated through the Tribunal de Première Instance de Djibouti, which serves as Djibouti's adoption authority.
    • Role of the Court: The court will issue final paperwork stating that the child has been adopted and that legal custody has been transferred to the prospective adoptive parents.
    • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption service providers in Djibouti to assist with an adoption.
    • Adoption Application: Once a child has been identified, adoption procedures must be initiated with a written request from the prospective adoptive parent(s) to the President of Tribunal de Première Instance to open an adoption case on their behalf. The court has two responsibilities: it must verify whether the necessary legal conditions have been met, and that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. To that effect, it is mandatory that adoptive parent(s) attach the U.S. documents listed in the section below to their application. The court can order an additional social investigation report to complement the one already attached to the initial request (see below), and one or more types of specific medical examinations. The clerk of the District Court will then forward the request to the police for a background check to be performed (if the prospective adoptive parents are resident in Djibouti).
    • Procedures for a child with identified biological parent(s): The biological parents must agree to irrevocably relinquish their parental rights (i.e. a plénier adoption).
      • The biological parents must appear before the court with their identification and the child's birth certificate and sign a consent document. A three-month appeal period follows, during which time the biological parents may reclaim their parental rights or the prospective adoptive parents may decide to cancel the adoption.
      • At the end of that period, if no appeal is made, the prospective adoptive parents must submit a request to the court to continue the process, at which time the court will fix a hearing date. At the hearing, the judge will rule whether to grant a delegation of parental authority, which technically shifts parental authority from the biological to the adoptive parents. If the adoptive parents are residents of Djibouti, or if they plan to stay for some time, they may be granted temporary custody of the child, to allow the child to physically live with them.
      • The biological parents then have an additional two-month window within which they may reclaim the child. If they do not, the adoptive parents have to submit to the court a request for finalizing the adoption. At the hearing, the court will make a final ruling to grant the adoption. However, for an additional two months the Public Ministry (Office of the District Attorney) or any other concerned individual (family member), excluding the natural parents, may appeal for reversal if they can provide “serious evidence” that the adoption will adversely affect the child.
      • Note: The court can refuse to grant an adoption and may order the adoptive parents not to break the child's bonds with its biological family. The judgment is always given in a public hearing. Whether the adoption is approved or rejected, the decision can be appealed, and the ensuing appeal may also be subject to a final appeal at the Supreme Court.

      Procedure for an abandoned child with unknown parents:The process is similar to that of a child with identified biological parents, excluding steps pertaining to the biological parents. Instead, after the prospective adoptive parents have submitted a written request to the court, the court will order a police investigation to try and find the biological parents and establish their identity (this may take up to a month). If biological parents cannot be found and no one claims the child, the police will deliver a certificate of abandonment to the court, after which the court will proceed with the case.

    • Time Frame: It may take a year or more from the time the adoption application is submitted to the Tribunal de Première Instance until the prospective adoptive parents receive the final documents. Factors bearing on the length of time may include court-ordered investigations, parents' citizenship, court calendar, appeals, and individual case anomalies.
    • Adoption Fees: The Government of Djibouti processes all adoptions. All procedures undertaken by the court (Adoption Authority) are free of charge. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay for any/all required medical examinations for the child, as well as for their own travel expenses.
    • Adoption Fees: The Government of Djibouti processes all adoptions. All procedures undertaken by the court (Adoption Authority) are free of charge. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay for any/all required medical examinations for the child, as well as for their own travel expenses.
    • Documents Required:
      • Police clearance (indicating no arrest record);
      • Home study report;
      • Proof of adequate financial means and stability (last three pay slips, tax return, etc.)

      Note: Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Djibouti, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
  6. Bring Your Child Home
    Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate
      If you have finalized the adoption in Djibouti you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. Adoptive parents must go to the Djiboutian Office of Vital Records (Bureau d'Etat Civile) to apply for a new birth certificate.
    • Djibouti Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Djibouti.

      Adoptive parents who are not also Djiboutian citizens cannot apply for Djiboutian passports for their adoptive children. The biological parents will need to apply for the passport, or in the cases of abandoned and orphaned children, the U.S. Consular Officer processing the Immigrant Visa must request authorization for a passport waiver or travel letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    • 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 in Djibouti City. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

      Note: Because a passport waiver must be obtained from DHS, immigrant visas for children without Djiboutian passports may take up to six weeks to issue.

      To schedule an immigrant visa appointment with the Embassy, please call +(253) 35-39-95.

      You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti City’s website.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship. 

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. 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 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 DJIBOUTI

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Djibouti, 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 of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual 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 register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Djibouti, 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).

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After Adoption

The government of Djibouti does not have any post-adoption requirements.

POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES

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. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents. 

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Djibouti
Lot Number 350-B
Lotissement Haramous
Djibouti City
Tel: (253) 21-453-000
Fax: (253) 21-453-340
E-mail: ConsularDjibouti@state.gov
Internet: dj.usembassy.gov/

Djibouti’s Adoption Authority
Office of the Secretary
Tribunal de Première Instance
Ministère de la Justice
B.P. 12
Djibouti
République de Djibouti
Tel: (253) 21-353-389

Embassy of Djibouti
Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti
1156 15th St., NW, Suite 515
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-331-0270

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  AskCI@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 36 Months
A-2 None Multiple 36 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 $23.00 One 1 Months
C-1/D $23.00 One 1 Month
C-2 None One 1 Month
C-3 None One 1 Month
D None One 1 Month
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
F-1 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
F-2 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 36 Months
G-2 None Multiple 36 Months
G-3 None Multiple 36 Months
G-4 None Multiple 36 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 36 Months
H-1B $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-1C $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2A $34.00 N/A N/A3
H-2B $34.00 N/A N/A3
H-2R $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-3 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-4 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
I $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
L-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
M-1 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
M-2 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 3 Months
N-9 None Multiple 3 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
O-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
O-3 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-3 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-4 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
Q-1 6 $34.00 Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
R-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Note: Bearers of diplomatic, special, or service passports should be issued B-2 visas gratis

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. (Extrait de Naissance) Request should be addressed to the respective region of birth "Commandant du Cercle" of Dikhil, Ali Sabieth, Tajourah, and Obock. If born in Djibouti request should be addressed to Police Nationale, Service de la Population, Section Etat Civile, B.P. 37 Djibouti.

Request should contain applicant's full name, father's full name, and date of birth. There may be a fee for this service.

Death/Burial

Available (Acte de Deces): See Birth Certificate.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available (Extrait d'Acte de Mariage) For civil marriages (Mariage du Droit Commun) performed before 1973, available from the regional authorities (see birth certificate). For marriages performed after 1973 in all regions, available from Police Nationale, Service de la Population, Section Etat Civile, B.P. 37, Djibouti. For Muslem marriages, available from the Khadi of the region or, in Djibouti, from the Tribunal du Charia.

Divorce

Available. Divorces of civil marriages are normally entered on the marriage certificate. Divorce of Muslim marriages are available from the Khadi of the region or, in Djibouti, from the Tribunal du Charia. Copies of Divorce Decrees (Jugement de Divorce) may be obtained from the Greffe du Tribunal Civil, Djibouti.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. (Extrait de Casier Judiciare) Requests from outside Djibouti must include name of applicant, names of both parents, date of birth and places of residence. Requests should be sent to the Greffe du Tribunal, Djibouti. Requests from within Djibouti must be made in person. A copy of any judgment is included with the police record. There may be a fee for this service.

Court Records

Unavailable.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

French passports are not valid for nationals of Djibouti. Such nationals may obtain Djibouti passports by making application to the authorities of Djibouti through the consulate of France having jurisdiction over their place of residence.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti (Embassy)

Street Address:
Lot Number 350-B
Lotissement Haramous
Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti

Mailing Address:
Ambassade Americaine
B.P. 185
Djibouti, Republique de Djibouti

Tel: (253) 35-39-95
(253) 35-13-43 (after hours)

Fax: (253) 35-39-40

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Djibouti.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 331-0270 (202) 331-0302

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Djibouti
Lotissement Haramous, Lot # 350-B
P.O. Box 185
Djibouti City, Republic of Djibouti
Telephone
+(253) 21-45-30-00
Emergency
+(253) 77-87-72-29
Fax
+(253) 21-45-33-40
Djibouti Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Djibouti
Republic of Djibouti
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

 None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Djibouti
Lotissement Haramous, Lot # 350-B
P.O. Box 185
Djibouti City, Republic of Djibouti
Telephone: +(253) 21-45-30-00 (Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(253) 77-87-72-29
Fax: +(253) 21-45-33-40
Email: ConsularDjibouti@state.gov

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheets on Djibouti for information on U.S. - Djibouti relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Visit the Embassy of Djibouti website for the most current visa information.
  • Obtain your visa prior to travel. Thirty-day visas may be issued on arrival at the discretion of immigration authorities (fee is 15,000 Djiboutian francs/$90) but cannot be guaranteed.
  • Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Djiboutian embassy or consulate.
  • Contact the French embassy in countries where there is no Djiboutian consular presence.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination, if you have arrived from a yellow-fever prone country
  • If you are traveling to Djibouti in support of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) activities, follow directions per the Foreign Clearance Guide.

Journalists require a letter of accreditation approved in advance by the Ministry of Communication and Culture. U.S. journalists and other journalists working for U.S.-based media institutions should contact the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs section at least two weeks prior to travel to facilitate this accreditation process. Journalists who fail to receive an accreditation letter risk arrest, seizure of equipment, and/or expulsion.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Djibouti.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Regional terrorist groups continue to threaten Western interests and can easily cross borders to conduct attacks in public places where Westerners congregate. Civil unrest or armed conflict in the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, and Somalia affect the security situation in Djibouti. A large number of refugees and asylum seekers from across the region, including Somali refugees and asylum seekers from Ethiopia, have settled in the Ali Addeh Camp near Ali Sabieh, and refugees from Yemen continue to settle in the Markazi refugee camp near Obock.

Tensions along the Djibouti-Eritrea border exist from an ongoing border dispute, necessitating approval from the Djibouti government before travel north of Obock. Border skirmishes may occur intermittently.

Many border areas between Djibouti and both Ethiopia and Somalia lack visible demarcation and may still contain landmines.

  • Avoid demonstrations and use vigilance during your movements around the country. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent. Security forces have at times relied on force to disperse protesters
  • Maintain caution at large gatherings and in areas frequented by foreigners.
  • Monitor news and consular messages

Crime:  Crimes of opportunity are most common and include pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft from or of vehicles, and identity theft (by stealing credit card information).

  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and displaying cash and valuable personal property.
  • Dress conservatively.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
  • Travel with a copy of your U.S. passport and Djibouti visa to prevent the originals from being taken. Keep original documents in a secure location.
  • Keep your credit card in your sight at all times while it is being processed. Consider using prepaid credit cards with limited funds when traveling.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:  Legal response or recourse for victims of crime is extremely limited. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 18 throughout Djibouti (French/Arabic) and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(253) 77-877-229. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. 

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for travel back to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs result in long prison sentences and heavy fines. Although the narcotic khat is legal in Djibouti, it is illegal in many countries, including the United States. Some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

The Embassy operates within the legal and administrative framework of Djibouti, and cannot intervene in criminal and civil matters including judicial proceedings, private contract, employment or commercial disputes.

Photography:  It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations or personnel, and other infrastructure such as air and sea ports, bridges, and public buildings, as well as of religious sites, such as mosques. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, and risk detention and/or expulsion. Do not take photos of Djiboutians without their permission.

Children:  Dual Somali or Djiboutian-U.S. citizens should be aware that moving children to Djibouti or Somalia (including Somaliland) from the United States for the purpose of having Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) performed can be prosecuted in both countries. FGM/C is illegal under both Djiboutian and U.S. law.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information. Djiboutian law enforcement officials occasionally prevent foreigners from contacting anyone while in detention. Because of this, the U.S. Embassy may not receive notification of an arrest or may not be allowed access to you if you are detained.

Phone Service:  Although land lines do exist in parts of Djibouti, cellular phones are the norm. You may purchase a SIM card locally for use in an unlocked GSM cell phone. The national cellular phone provider is Djibouti Telecom. Telecommunications systems outside of Djibouti City are unreliable or non-existent.

Currency:  The Djiboutian Franc (DJF) is the official currency. It is cash economy; credit cards are accepted at major hotels and supermarkets only. Most vendors and banks will only take bills printed after 2006 due to counterfeiting. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. ATMs are limited and may not recognize U.S. issued credit cards, including MasterCard, though Visa generally works.

Firearms: Strict regulations may be enforced on the temporary import and export of firearms. Contact the Embassy of Djibouti in Washington, D.C. or the Djibouti National Police for specific information regarding customs and registration requirements prior to travel. Hunting without a permit is illegal.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers:  While there are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events, societal norms do not allow for the public discussion of homosexuality and there are no known LGBTI organizations. Authorities may prosecute public display of same-sex sexual conduct under laws prohibiting attacks on “good morals.” No antidiscrimination law exists to protect LGBTI individuals.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, communication, accommodations, and public buildings. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack functioning elevators

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips

Women Travelers:  The law prohibits female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), but the practice remains prevalent with rates estimated at 78 percent nationally. Reliable rape statistics are not available, and laws for sentencing perpetrators are not enforced effectively. Domestic violence is common but underreported. Rather than the courts, families and the informal clan-based justice system generally handle cases of domestic abuse or violence. Police rarely intervene in domestic violence incidents, The National Union of Djiboutian Women operates a walk-in counseling center (Cellule d’Ecoute) in Djibouti City that provides services and referrals for women and men.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Consult the CDC website for Djibouti prior to travel.

Medical facilities in the capital of Djibouti are limited, and facilities are nonexistent in many outlying areas. Trauma care is only intended to stabilize a patient prior to medical evacuation. Medicines are expensive and often in short supply. Carry medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Dual U.S.-Djiboutian citizens with disabilities may qualify for special education and health services through the Ministry of National Solidarity and the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Family Planning.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas. Most care providers expect payment in U.S. dollars or Djiboutian francs before treatment is provided.

Medical Insurance:  If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans. Dual U.S.-Djiboutian citizens with disabilities may qualify for education and health services through the Ministry of National Solidarity and the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Family Planning.

Malaria is endemic. Use CDC recommended mosquito repellents including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR-3535. Sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is strongly recommended for all travelers.

Given Djibouti’s proximity to the Arabian peninsula, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is also a risk. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Although main roads in Djibouti City are well maintained, others are unpaved or in poor repair and subject to unexpected flooding. Highways are prone to frequent rock slides. Many roads wind through steep ravines and lack guardrails.

Police occasionally set up random roadblock stops on major roads to conduct inspections of vehicle registration and insurance.

Outside of Djibouti City, hazards include narrow roads, insufficient lighting, poor vehicle maintenance (missing headlights) and wayward pedestrians and livestock. Police set up roadblocks on major roads which are not clearly visible at night. Other risks include excessive speeding and erratic driving habits. The widespread use of the narcotic khat by drivers contributes to speeding and unsafe driving habits.

When driving outside Djibouti City, avoid all travel after dark and use convoys of two vehicles in case one car becomes disabled. Carry additional fuel and provisions (water, satellite phone, first aid kit). Gas stations are located at a considerable distance from one another and sell only diesel fuel in rural areas. There are few professional roadside assistance services.

Landmines: Stay on paved roads. Unmarked land mines exist in the border region with Eritrea, though most landmines have been marked or cleared from border regions.

Traffic Laws: A U.S. driver’s license or International Driving Permit is required to drive in Djibouti. The use of cell phones while driving is prohibited. Exercise caution at intersections; drivers often run red lights and do not stop at intersections. Third-party liability insurance is required and you must display the insurance sticker.

Accidents: Remain inside the vehicle and wait for the traffic police or gendarmes. If a hostile mob forms or you feel you are in danger, leave the scene in your vehicle if possible and proceed directly to the nearest police station to report the incident. If you are injured, drive to the nearest hospital or clinic.

Public Transportation: Avoid all travel by public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source. Public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe. Hotel and airport shuttle services are a safe alternative. Taxis are available but are considered unsafe. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from riding in buses or taxis.

The capital city and the towns of Obock and Tadjoura have intercity bus and ferry services. An electric limited rail, replacing the century old Ethio-Djibouti railway, began operation in October 2016 with freight service.

Hiring a vehicle: Reputable car rental firms can include the services of a driver. Be particularly vigilant at airports where criminals use luggage tag information to present themselves as pre-arranged drivers. Do not use your passport as a security deposit. If you allow your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Sea Travel: The threat of piracy remains significant. Pirates have held foreigners hostage for ransom. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in Djiboutian coastal waters continue. Djiboutian military ships are clearly marked, and may turn away small craft or divert vessels to verify citizenship of passengers.

  • Use established sea lanes, and pilot vessels in groups to reduce the risk of being hijacked.
  • See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
  • In case of emergency, contact the Djiboutian Coast Guard or Djiboutian Navy on UHF marine channel 16, or the Yemeni Coast Guard on channel 16 or at 967 1-562-402.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Djibouti, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Djibouti’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. See the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Djibouti
Lotissement Haramous, Lot # 350-B
P.O. Box 185
Djibouti City, Republic of Djibouti
Telephone: +(253) 21-45-30-00 (Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(253) 77-87-72-29
Fax: +(253) 21-45-33-40
Email: ConsularDjibouti@state.gov

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Djibouti, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Djibouti.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Djibouti is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Djibouti and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Djibouti and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a crime in Djibouti according to the Law on the Fight against the Traffic of Human Beings of 2007, Article 2.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Djibouti and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Djibouti for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Djibouti are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

U.S. Department of State is not aware of any government agencies or non-governmental organizations that offer mediation programs.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Djibouti is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

Adoption in Djibouti is a complicated, time consuming process with many legal hurdles.  There are no adoption agencies to facilitate the process.  Many legal procedures must be completed in-person, and in French or Somali.  There is no clear, uniform adoption procedure.  Generally, only non-Djiboutian children considered to be abandoned in Djibouti are available for adoption; and even in these cases, restrictions abound.  Djiboutian children can be adopted only in very exceptional cases (mostly by family members), and at the discretion of the Djiboutian government.  Adoption in Djibouti is divided into two types: simple and plénier.  Simple adoption is when someone cares for the child as his/her own, but the child’s name is not changed and the biological parents retain parental rights.  A plénier adoption is when the biological parents irrevocably relinquish parental rights and the child’s last name is changed to match the adoptive parents.  For the purposes of U.S. immigration law, a plénier adoption is required.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Djibouti, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Djibouti:

  • RESIDENCY :Prospective adoptive parents must be physically present in Djibouti at the time of the proposed adoption, but need not be residents.  The child must be both physically present and a resident of Djibouti.
  • AGE OF ADOPTING PARENTS:Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and must be at least 15 years older than the child.  If the prospective adoptive parent is a relative, he/she need only be 21 years old.  The prospective adoptive parent(s) must also be morally and physically sound, as determined by the Government of Djibouti.
  • MARRIAGE: Prospective adoptive parents do not need to be married in order to complete the adoption process.  Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals adopting as individuals or couples are not eligible to adopt in Djibouti.
  • INCOME: Djiboutian law does not stipulate any specific income requirements; only that prospective adoptive parents should demonstrate that they have a steady, monthly income.
  • OTHER: Djiboutian Sharia law only allows for adoption of Djiboutian national children within a family or clan. Adoption of Djiboutian children by non-family members is not permitted. It is unclear whether the Government of Djibouti would allow non-Muslim prospective parents to adopt a child that was born to Muslim biological parents - this has been historically prohibited.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Djibouti has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • RELINGQUISHMENT:Only children whose parents are willing to irrevocably relinquish their parental rights are eligible for adoption – the adoption must be a “plenary adoption”.
  • ABANDONMENT: Only non-Djiboutian children are considered to be abandoned. Djiboutian children are automatically assigned a Djiboutian guardian within their family or clan if their parent or guardian is unable to care for them. In the case of non-Djiboutian children, they must be declared abandoned by a court – standard criteria do not exist.
  • AGE OF ADOPTIVE CHILD: Children must be 17 years of age or younger. Please note, however, that in order for a child to meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600 petition must be filed while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if adopted, or to be adopted, together with a sibling under the age of 16). 
  • SIBLING ADOPTIONS: There are no known sibling requirements; however this may vary on a case by case basis.
  • SPECIAL NEEDS OR MEDICAL CONDITIONS: There are no known requirements.
  • WAITING PERIOD OR FOSTER CARE: There is no defined waiting period; however, the process may take a year or more.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. 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 their child(ren)’s adoption.

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How to Adopt

DJIBOUTI'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Tribunal de Première Instance de Djibouti

THE PROCESS

The process for adopting a child from Djibouti generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an adoption service provider
  2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child
  4. Adopt the child in Djibouti
  5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
  6. Bring your child home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
    The recommended first step in adopting a child from Djibouti is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption.  Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

    There are no adoption service providers in Djibouti to assist with the Djiboutian portion of the adoption process. A U.S. adoption service provider can assist in the U.S. immigration portion of an adoption from Djibouti. According to court officials, adoptions do not require the participation of a lawyer, but may be beneficial to engage someone familiar with Djiboutian family law.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
    In order to adopt a child from Djibouti; you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Djibouti and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the Tribunal de Première Instance de Djibouti. 

    Please see instructions below under Adoption Application.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

  3. Be Matched with a Child
    There is no official process for matching you with a Djiboutian child, and there are no agencies available to assist you in Djibouti. Most matches are done through family connections. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Djibouti’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. 

  4. Adopt or Gain Legal Custody of Child in Djibouti
    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Djibouti generally includes the following:
    • Role of Adoption Authority: All adoptions are facilitated through the Tribunal de Première Instance de Djibouti, which serves as Djibouti's adoption authority.
    • Role of the Court: The court will issue final paperwork stating that the child has been adopted and that legal custody has been transferred to the prospective adoptive parents.
    • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption service providers in Djibouti to assist with an adoption.
    • Adoption Application: Once a child has been identified, adoption procedures must be initiated with a written request from the prospective adoptive parent(s) to the President of Tribunal de Première Instance to open an adoption case on their behalf. The court has two responsibilities: it must verify whether the necessary legal conditions have been met, and that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. To that effect, it is mandatory that adoptive parent(s) attach the U.S. documents listed in the section below to their application. The court can order an additional social investigation report to complement the one already attached to the initial request (see below), and one or more types of specific medical examinations. The clerk of the District Court will then forward the request to the police for a background check to be performed (if the prospective adoptive parents are resident in Djibouti).
    • Procedures for a child with identified biological parent(s): The biological parents must agree to irrevocably relinquish their parental rights (i.e. a plénier adoption).
      • The biological parents must appear before the court with their identification and the child's birth certificate and sign a consent document. A three-month appeal period follows, during which time the biological parents may reclaim their parental rights or the prospective adoptive parents may decide to cancel the adoption.
      • At the end of that period, if no appeal is made, the prospective adoptive parents must submit a request to the court to continue the process, at which time the court will fix a hearing date. At the hearing, the judge will rule whether to grant a delegation of parental authority, which technically shifts parental authority from the biological to the adoptive parents. If the adoptive parents are residents of Djibouti, or if they plan to stay for some time, they may be granted temporary custody of the child, to allow the child to physically live with them.
      • The biological parents then have an additional two-month window within which they may reclaim the child. If they do not, the adoptive parents have to submit to the court a request for finalizing the adoption. At the hearing, the court will make a final ruling to grant the adoption. However, for an additional two months the Public Ministry (Office of the District Attorney) or any other concerned individual (family member), excluding the natural parents, may appeal for reversal if they can provide “serious evidence” that the adoption will adversely affect the child.
      • Note: The court can refuse to grant an adoption and may order the adoptive parents not to break the child's bonds with its biological family. The judgment is always given in a public hearing. Whether the adoption is approved or rejected, the decision can be appealed, and the ensuing appeal may also be subject to a final appeal at the Supreme Court.

      Procedure for an abandoned child with unknown parents:The process is similar to that of a child with identified biological parents, excluding steps pertaining to the biological parents. Instead, after the prospective adoptive parents have submitted a written request to the court, the court will order a police investigation to try and find the biological parents and establish their identity (this may take up to a month). If biological parents cannot be found and no one claims the child, the police will deliver a certificate of abandonment to the court, after which the court will proceed with the case.

    • Time Frame: It may take a year or more from the time the adoption application is submitted to the Tribunal de Première Instance until the prospective adoptive parents receive the final documents. Factors bearing on the length of time may include court-ordered investigations, parents' citizenship, court calendar, appeals, and individual case anomalies.
    • Adoption Fees: The Government of Djibouti processes all adoptions. All procedures undertaken by the court (Adoption Authority) are free of charge. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay for any/all required medical examinations for the child, as well as for their own travel expenses.
    • Adoption Fees: The Government of Djibouti processes all adoptions. All procedures undertaken by the court (Adoption Authority) are free of charge. Prospective adoptive parents should expect to pay for any/all required medical examinations for the child, as well as for their own travel expenses.
    • Documents Required:
      • Police clearance (indicating no arrest record);
      • Home study report;
      • Proof of adequate financial means and stability (last three pay slips, tax return, etc.)

      Note: Additional documents may be requested.

    • Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Djibouti, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
  6. Bring Your Child Home
    Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate
      If you have finalized the adoption in Djibouti you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. Adoptive parents must go to the Djiboutian Office of Vital Records (Bureau d'Etat Civile) to apply for a new birth certificate.
    • Djibouti Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Djibouti.

      Adoptive parents who are not also Djiboutian citizens cannot apply for Djiboutian passports for their adoptive children. The biological parents will need to apply for the passport, or in the cases of abandoned and orphaned children, the U.S. Consular Officer processing the Immigrant Visa must request authorization for a passport waiver or travel letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    • 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 in Djibouti City. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

      Note: Because a passport waiver must be obtained from DHS, immigrant visas for children without Djiboutian passports may take up to six weeks to issue.

      To schedule an immigrant visa appointment with the Embassy, please call +(253) 35-39-95.

      You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti City’s website.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship. 

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. 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 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 DJIBOUTI

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Djibouti, 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 of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual 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 register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Djibouti, 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).

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After Adoption

The government of Djibouti does not have any post-adoption requirements.

POST-ADOPTION RESOURCES

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. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents. 

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Djibouti
Lot Number 350-B
Lotissement Haramous
Djibouti City
Tel: (253) 21-453-000
Fax: (253) 21-453-340
E-mail: ConsularDjibouti@state.gov
Internet: dj.usembassy.gov/

Djibouti’s Adoption Authority
Office of the Secretary
Tribunal de Première Instance
Ministère de la Justice
B.P. 12
Djibouti
République de Djibouti
Tel: (253) 21-353-389

Embassy of Djibouti
Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti
1156 15th St., NW, Suite 515
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-331-0270

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  AskCI@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 36 Months
A-2 None Multiple 36 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 $23.00 One 1 Months
C-1/D $23.00 One 1 Month
C-2 None One 1 Month
C-3 None One 1 Month
D None One 1 Month
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
F-1 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
F-2 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 36 Months
G-2 None Multiple 36 Months
G-3 None Multiple 36 Months
G-4 None Multiple 36 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 36 Months
H-1B $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-1C $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2A $34.00 N/A N/A3
H-2B $34.00 N/A N/A3
H-2R $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-3 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
H-4 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
I $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
L-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
M-1 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
M-2 $34.00 Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 3 Months
N-9 None Multiple 3 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
O-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
O-3 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-3 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
P-4 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months 3
Q-1 6 $34.00 Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
R-2 $34.00 Multiple 36 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Note: Bearers of diplomatic, special, or service passports should be issued B-2 visas gratis

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. (Extrait de Naissance) Request should be addressed to the respective region of birth "Commandant du Cercle" of Dikhil, Ali Sabieth, Tajourah, and Obock. If born in Djibouti request should be addressed to Police Nationale, Service de la Population, Section Etat Civile, B.P. 37 Djibouti.

Request should contain applicant's full name, father's full name, and date of birth. There may be a fee for this service.

Death/Burial

Available (Acte de Deces): See Birth Certificate.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available (Extrait d'Acte de Mariage) For civil marriages (Mariage du Droit Commun) performed before 1973, available from the regional authorities (see birth certificate). For marriages performed after 1973 in all regions, available from Police Nationale, Service de la Population, Section Etat Civile, B.P. 37, Djibouti. For Muslem marriages, available from the Khadi of the region or, in Djibouti, from the Tribunal du Charia.

Divorce

Available. Divorces of civil marriages are normally entered on the marriage certificate. Divorce of Muslim marriages are available from the Khadi of the region or, in Djibouti, from the Tribunal du Charia. Copies of Divorce Decrees (Jugement de Divorce) may be obtained from the Greffe du Tribunal Civil, Djibouti.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. (Extrait de Casier Judiciare) Requests from outside Djibouti must include name of applicant, names of both parents, date of birth and places of residence. Requests should be sent to the Greffe du Tribunal, Djibouti. Requests from within Djibouti must be made in person. A copy of any judgment is included with the police record. There may be a fee for this service.

Court Records

Unavailable.

Prison Records

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

French passports are not valid for nationals of Djibouti. Such nationals may obtain Djibouti passports by making application to the authorities of Djibouti through the consulate of France having jurisdiction over their place of residence.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti (Embassy)

Street Address:
Lot Number 350-B
Lotissement Haramous
Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti

Mailing Address:
Ambassade Americaine
B.P. 185
Djibouti, Republique de Djibouti

Tel: (253) 35-39-95
(253) 35-13-43 (after hours)

Fax: (253) 35-39-40

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Djibouti.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 331-0270 (202) 331-0302

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Djibouti
Lotissement Haramous, Lot # 350-B
P.O. Box 185
Djibouti City, Republic of Djibouti
Telephone
+(253) 21-45-30-00
Emergency
+(253) 77-87-72-29
Fax
+(253) 21-45-33-40
Djibouti Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.