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International Travel

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Country Information

Liberia

Country Information

Liberia
Republic of Liberia
Last Updated: February 14, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per entry 

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Report more than $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

No more than $7,500 at one time

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Monrovia

502 Benson Street
Monrovia, Liberia

Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Fax:+(231) 77-677-7370

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Destination Description

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

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport with one blank page
  • Visa obtained before arrival
  • World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination

If you do not obtain a Liberian visa prior to arrival, you may be deported immediately. Visit the Embassy of Liberia website for the most current visa information.

Sums in excess of $10,000 USD must be reported at the port of entry, and no more than $7,500 USD in foreign currency banknotes can be moved out of the country at one time. Larger sums must be transferred via bank drafts or other financial instruments.

Expect strict enforcement of border controls, and occasional border crossing closings, by Liberian, Ivorian, Sierra Leonean, and Guinean authorities. Corruption has been reported at many border locations and you may be asked for money prior to crossing the border. Some travelers have found that asking for official signed receipts for the payment of any unexpected “fines” can deter requests for bribes.

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

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Liberia's police force has limited resources. The Liberia National Police have a strong presence in Monrovia, but less of a presence outside of the capital city. The police can be both a source of assistance and a source of problems for visitors. Travelers may be detained by police officers soliciting bribes. You are encouraged to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times as proof of identity and citizenship. If detained or arrested, you should ask to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.

You should be aware of your surroundings at all times and use caution when moving around, especially at night. Travel outside of Monrovia after dark is strongly discouraged, as roads are in poor condition and there are few public street lights.

Avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness.

Crime: Crimes of opportunity, such as residential burglary or armed robbery (typically using a knife or machete) have affected U.S. citizens and are more common at night. Criminal activity has been reported in both urban and rural areas. The Liberia National Police have limited capacity to respond to crime events.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Liberia is also 911. However, emergency services are not provided reliably or consistently. Also, there is no landline telephone service in Liberia, and cellular phone communication is subject to occasional disruptions in service. A call to 911 in Liberia may go unanswered, and you should employ other resources to obtain emergency assistance.

Corruption: Petty corruption is rampant. Poorly paid government officials and private company employees may ask for “fees” for doing their job, and travelers may be inconvenienced for not paying bribes.  Requesting official signed receipts for the payment of any unexpected “fines” or “fees” can sometimes deter such improper behavior.

Scams: Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to use common sense – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. U.S. citizens should carefully check any unsolicited business proposal originating in Liberia before committing any funds, providing any goods or services, or undertaking any travel, particularly if the proposal involves mining or the sale of gold and diamonds. There has also been an increase in romance fraud as Liberians initiate internet relationships with a U.S. citizen for the purpose of eventually requesting money.

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

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical assistance as needed, and should contact the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible. 

Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (231) 77-677-7000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

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 repatriation 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 may 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. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Liberia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

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.

Photographs: Photographing military installations, air and sea ports, and important government buildings is prohibited. You should not take photographs of sites or activities that may be considered sensitive, as police may confiscate the camera.

Infrastructure: Lodging, fuel, transportation, utilities, and telephone services are not consistently available, especially outside of Monrovia. Hotel rooms can be difficult to find without an advance reservation. There is no working landline telephone system in Liberia. You should rent or purchase a local cellular phone. Commercial air courier service is available.

Financial Issues: The Liberian dollar is the official currency; however, the U.S. dollar is accepted as legal tender. Liberian dollars are preferred for smaller purchases, especially outside of Monrovia. Wire transfers may be limited and subject to fees if you do not have a Liberian bank account. ATMs are not widely available. Traveler's checks and credit cards are not regularly accepted, except at some major hotels in Monrovia. There have been some reports of financial information being compromised even at hotels where credit cards are routinely accepted.

Swimming Hazard: Do not swim in the Atlantic if you are unfamiliar with swimming in water where very strong rip currents occur. Rip tides can occur anywhere on the coastThe Liberia Weather Service does not provide information on where and when these tides form, and there are no lifeguards posted on beaches.

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

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Liberia. Voluntary sodomy is a first degree misdemeanor with penalties ranging up to one year in prison.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There are no accommodations for individuals with disabilities in Liberia. U.S. citizens with disabilities that hinder mobility should take this into consideration before planning travel to Liberia.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Liberia punishable by up to life in prison. However, the Liberian government does not effectively enforce the law, and rape is a serious and pervasive problem. Domestic violence also remains a serious problem despite being punishable by up to six months in prison.

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is not specifically against the law in Liberia and is often performed during initiation into the Sande secret societies.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Hospitals and medical facilities in Liberia are poorly equipped and are incapable of providing many services. Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, you should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. Within Liberia, medicines are scarce, often beyond expiration dates, possibly counterfeit, and generally unavailable in most areas.

Malaria and yellow fever are prevalent throught the country. Yellow fever immunization is required to enter Liberia and recommended for all residents. Chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) is recommended for all travelers, even for short stays. 

You should:

  • Carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. 
  • Treat clothing and tents with permethrin
  • Sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Liberia to ensure the medication is legal in Liberia. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

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: Expect time-consuming detours around the many bridges and roads damaged by war, neglect, or the heavy annual rains occurring between May and November. Traffic accidents are frequent and often result in injury or loss of life. Approach intersections with extreme caution. Potholes and poor road surfaces are common. Vehicles are often overloaded with people and goods, and make frequent stops without signaling. Drivers overtake on the right and left lanes. Many vehicles operate with threadbare tires, and blowouts are frequent.

Traffic Laws: Drivers in Liberia are expected to hold either a Liberian or an international driver’s license; a driver’s license from your home country will not be sufficient. At the same time, traffic laws are either nonexistent or not enforced. You are required to pull off the road to make way for high-speed car convoys carrying government officials. Be aware that mob violence is not uncommon if you are involved in a traffic accident. If you are involved in an accident, unless it is physically unsafe to remain in your vehicle, it is often safest to stay in your locked car and call the police immediately.

Public Transportation: Public taxis are poorly maintained and usually overloaded. Taxis have been occasionally targeted for robbery. If you must travel as a passenger, it is best to ask a trusted friend to drive you in his or her personal vehicle, and to travel with all doors locked and all windows rolled up. Public buses are crowded and may make you vulnerable to pick-pockets or robbers. Three-wheeled “kekes” (motorized rickshaws) are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

For more information, please visit our Road Safety page. Visit the website of Liberia’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

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

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Liberia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
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 Monrovia

502 Benson Street
Monrovia, Liberia

Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Fax:+(231) 77-677-7370

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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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?
Yes, Adoptions to the United States from Liberia and from the United States to Liberia are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
No
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Hague Convention Information

Liberia is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the requirement that adoption service providers be accredited or approved, and therefore meet the accreditation standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also applies in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as the primary provider in every Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Liberia, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

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

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Liberia must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum Residency: At present, there are no residency requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia. However, the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has proposed that the law be amended to require a 60-day residency before an adoption order may be issued. This page will be updated if that proposal becomes law.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: There are no age requirements for prospective adoptive parents in Liberia.
  • Marriage: There are no marriage requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia. If you are married, both parents must adopt the child. Adoption by same-sex couples – whether married or unmarried – is not addressed in Liberian law.
  • Minium Income: There are no income requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Under the INA 101(b)(1)(F), a child can be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from both parents, or in the case where there is a sole or surviving parent who is incapable of providing the proper care and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements of Liberia:

Please note: Full and final adoption must take place in Liberia. Liberia does not allow legal custody / guardianship for the purpose of adoption in the United States. Adoption by proxy is also prohibited by Liberian law.

  • Eligibility for Adoption:
    • Relinquishment: In addition to obtaining a statement of relinquishment from the birth parent or legal guardian of the child being adopted, no adoption decree can be issued without an approved case summary from the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP). A case summary from the MGCSP is issued only after a social worker has investigated the case thoroughly and concluded that adoption is in the best interest of the child, and the Minister has reviewed all the legal paperwork necessary to process an adoption in Liberia.
    • Abandonment: If the child was born in wedlock, the consent of both parents is required. If the child was born out of wedlock, only the mother must consent. Parental consent is not required if the parents have abandoned the child, if the parental rights have been legally terminated, if the parents are deceased, or if a legal guardian has been appointed by the court.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: There are no minimum or maximum age requirements. If the child is 16 years or older, the child must consent to the adoption. Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is currently no waiting period or foster care requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia. However, the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has proposed that the law be amended to require a 60-day residency for the prospective adoptive parents before an adoption order may be issued.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Liberia’s Adoption Authority

The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection

The Process

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

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Liberia’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Liberia
  5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan (Form I-600)
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Liberia, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for any supervised providers, and otherwise complying with the requirements regarding the provision of adoption services using other providers (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

Note: The Government of Liberia also accredits adoption agencies, and (with the sole exception of kinship adoptions, as described in “4. Adopt the Child in Liberia,” below) only adoption agencies accredited by the Government of Liberia are permitted to operate in Liberia. At present, there are six such agencies operating in Liberia: New Horizons Adoption Agency; Small World Adoption; Life Adoption Services; Americans for African Adoption, Across the World Adoptions, and Angels’ Haven. Across the World Adoptions and Angels’ Haven are partners; Americans for African Adoption works in partnership with the U.S.-based organization Joyful World Ministries, Inc.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Liberia, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Liberia and U.S. immigration law.

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt. If you have already identified the child you wish to adopt, you may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition for the child and include all the required supporting documentation for the Form I-600A application (i.e. an approved home study) so USCIS can make a determination on your suitability and eligibility to adopt before reviewing the child’s eligibility as an orphan.  Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3. Apply to Liberia’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, Liberia requires you to submit an adoption application to the Probate Court, which informs Liberia’s Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection. The Ministry of Justice evaluates your eligibility to adopt a child under Liberian law. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection independently evaluates the child’s eligibility to be adopted.

The competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Liberia will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, may provide you with a referral. We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child, but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child. You must also ultimately adhere to the USCIS’ suitability determination (i.e. typically the Form I-600A approval notice) with respect to the number of children you are approved to adopt and the characteristics of the child(ren) (such as age, gender, nationality, and/or special need, disability, and/or impairment) that you are approved to adopt. Learn more about Health Considerations.

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

4. Adopt the Child in Liberia

The process for finalizing the adoption in Liberia generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: No adoption decree can be issued by the Probate Court without an approved case summary from the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP).
  • Role of the Court: A petition for adoption must be filed with the Probate Court. The petition must contain the name, age, residence and marital status of the petitioners. The name, date and place of birth of the child, the date and manner in which the petitioners acquired custody of the child, facts (if any) that render consent of either birth parent unnecessary, the petitioners' desire to adopt the child and the child's change of name, should also be contained in the petition.

Upon receipt of a petition for adoption, the Probate Court schedules a hearing and serves notice on all interested parties. The petitioners or their legal representative, the birth parent(s), or guardian(s) of the child, and the child are required to attend the hearing, though the court may waive the appearance of the child for good cause. This waiver must be stated in the order of adoption. All hearings are public, and held in open court. The court must be satisfied that the "moral and temporal interests" of the child will be satisfied by the adoption. If the court is satisfied the Probate Court orders the adoption.

  • Role of Accredited Adoption Service Providers: Most prospective adoptive parents work with an adoption agency in the U.S., which in turn liaises with an orphanage or organization in Liberia prior to initiating the adoption process. The organization in Liberia must be registered with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP). At present, there are six such agencies operating in Liberia: New Horizons Adoption Agency; Small World Adoption; Life Adoption Services; Americans for African Adoption, Across the World Adoptions, and Angels’ Haven. Across the World Adoptions and Angels’ Haven are partners; Americans for African Adoption works in partnership with the U.S.-based organization Joyful World Ministries, Inc.

When the adoption is a kinship adoption (i.e. adoption of a blood relative), the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has indicated that adoptive parents may use any accredited adoption agency in the United States. The agency will then supervise a private Liberian attorney. Please note that all requirements, including the child’s status as an orphan, continue to apply and that a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider must act as the primary provider, even if a private Liberian attorney handles the adoption in Liberia. This paragraph applies to kinship adoptions only (i.e. adoptions of a blood relative).

Adoption service means any one of the following six services:

  1. Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
  2. Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
  3. Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
  4. Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
  5. Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
  6. When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.

Note: See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. 

  • Adoption Application: Please contact the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP) directly to request the most recent information about the adoption application process. Their 2016 Standard Operating Procedures are available here.
  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Liberia take approximately three months to complete from the time a dossier accepted by the adoption authority in Liberia to the time the final adoption order is issued by the Probate Court.
  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. Official Government fees for adoptions in Liberia are minimal and consist mainly of court filing fees, which are $1,500 for intercountry adoptions. The cost of employing local counsel varies, but prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay several hundred dollars at a minimum for an attorney. The approved adoption agencies often charge from $7,000 to $12,000 per case.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Liberia, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. Improper payments violate applicable law, or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Liberia at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the UAA and IAA make certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

  •  Documents Required: The following documents are required for adoption in Liberia:
    • Petition for Adoption
    • Written consent of the birth parents
    • Copy of prospective adoptive parents' passports
    • A case summary prepared by the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP).

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. The U.S Department of State’s Authentications Office has information on the subject.

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption in Liberia, USCIS must determine if the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative on behalf of the child and unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.

If you have a valid Form I-600A approval, you may file your Form I-600 petition in the United States with USCIS National Benefits Center or at the U.S.Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. If you choose to file at the U.S.Embassy in Monrovia, you must make an appointment in advance by sending a message to ConsularMonrovia@state.gov.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Monrovia, Liberia, must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination) to verify the child’s orphan status. When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.

When a Form I-600 petition is filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, to verify the child’s orphan status. Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. It can take approximately two months or more to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.

6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed, finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have finalized the adoption in Liberia, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate as the child’s parent.

Birth certificates are currently available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia, Liberia. Certificates are free for those age 12 and under, and cost 500 LD (approx. US $7) for others. 

Liberian Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Liberia.

A Liberian passport must be issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Office in Monrovia, Liberia, and must be accompanied by either a Liberian birth certificate or a Liberian naturalization certificate. The passport issuance fee is currently US $50.

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 Monrovia. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least three business days. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s admission into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s admission into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

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 to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child acquires U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Liberia

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Liberia, 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 in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Liberia, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Liberia, 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

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Liberian law currently has no post-adoption reporting requirements for adoptive parents. Parents should confirm any post-adoption requirements with their legal representatives.

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. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-600/A process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Liberia
502 Benson Street, Monrovia, Liberia
Tel: (+231) 77-677-7428
Fax: (+231) 77-677-7370
Email: ConsularMonrovia@state.gov
Internet: lr.usembassy.gov/

Liberia’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection
Sekou Toure Avenue and Gurley Street
P. O. Box 10-9009, 1000
Monrovia 10, Liberia
Tel: +231886 404 919; +231 886 450 891
Fax: none
Email: genderministry@yahoo.com
Internet: none

Embassy of Liberia
5201 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Tel: (202) 723-0437
Fax: (202) 723-0436
Email: none
Internet: www.liberianembassyus.org/

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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with the

USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local)
Fax:1- 913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with a USCIS international field office:

Please visit http://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-uscis-office/international-immigration-offices and select the appropriate office.

For general questions about immigration procedures:

USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.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 12 Months
A-2 None Multiple 12 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None One 6 Months
C-3 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 12 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A $100.00 N/A N/A 3
H-2B $100.00 N/A N/A 3
H-2R $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
I None 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 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months
L-2 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 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

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Birth Certificates are currently available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia.  Certificates are free for those 12 and under, and cost 500 LD (approx. US $7).  Under Liberian law, anyone with knowledge of a birth can register that birth.  Supporting documentation is required (such as medical facility records or sworn affidavits), but the origins of this documentation are rarely investigated.  Certificates are generally processed in about three (3) business days.

There are no reliable checks and balances in the Liberian birth certificate application process.  Applicants could easily procure a birth certificate with any information (date of birth, location of birth, parents) desired.  Because of this, adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.

Death Certificates

Death Certificates are available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia.  In order to file for a death certificate, an applicant must either have an official record of death from a medical facility, or a confirmed record of the disposition of the body (i.e. funeral home record, photos of burial, etc.)  Applications must be made IN PERSON and carry a 500 LD (approx. US $7) fee.  Certificates are generally processed in about three (3) business days.

Burial Certificates 

Please check back for updates. 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage/Divorce Certificates

Liberia recognizes two different types of marriage and divorce: traditional and western.  In order to be legally recognized by the Government of Liberia, marriage or divorce MUST be registered (and given the accompanying certificate) in one of these two ways.

Note:  Liberian law requires at least one party in a divorce application be resident in Liberia at the time of the application.

Traditional:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs governs all traditional marriages and divorces in Liberia.  The application for each must be made IN PERSON and carries a US $50 fee for marriages and a US $75 fee for divorces.  Certificates are generally processed in about one week.

As recently as June 2011, local police have charged several current and former Ministry of Internal Affairs staff members with forging marriage documents.  Adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.

Western:

The National Archives governs all western marriages, while the resident civil law court handles divorces for such cases.  The application for each must be made IN PERSON (though divorce proceedings are usually handled exclusively by legal representatives) and carries a US $50 fee for marriages and a US $150 fee for divorces.  Certificates are generally processed in about one week, however, there is typically an additional two to three (2-3) business days of processing after the certificates have been signed.

The marriage process requires signatures from two witnesses and an officiant, but DOES NOT require any secondary proof of relationship.  In practice, the divorce process does not always mandate that either party be present (sworn affidavits can be provided.)  Adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.

Adoption Certificates

Adoption certificates, commonly referred to as Adoption Decrees, are available from the Probate Court at the Temple of Justice and registered with the National Archives in Monrovia.  Parties must appear at the court but are allowed to execute an adoption through their attorney or legal representation.  Prior to issuance of the decree, parties must provide evidence that they have conducted a home study with Ministry of Health and filed all required petitions, relinquishment statements, and affidavits with the Probate Court.  The Probate Court will charge a filing fee, in addition to the legal fees or execution fee charged by the attorney.  

Decrees are issued by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Court for that term.  As with other court documents, the decrees are issued on white legal-size paper and will have several rubber stamps (usually red or gold in color) bearing the court seal.  Once issued by the court, parties must register the adoption decree at the National Archives and pay the required $40 USD authentication and registration fees.  Once registered, the decree will also bear a numerical coding and seal/signature from the Registrar of Deeds and Titles at the National Archives.  Certified copies of the adoption decree are available from the National Archives for $75 USD. 

As with other legal documents issued in Liberia, there is no system to check that the process is followed correctly.  Often, adoption decrees are issued before any of the required paperwork has been filed with the appropriate ministries.  Adjudicators are encouraged to request to see the relinquishment statements and other associated affidavits which should have accompanied the adoption petition at the court.

Note:  While the 2009 Presidential Moratorium on inter-country adoptions remains in place, it is not unusual to see recently issued adoption decrees.

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Identity Card

Not available.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Court/Prison Records

Not available.

Police Records

Applications for Liberian police clearances must be made IN PERSON at the Records and Identification Section of the Liberia National Police Headquarters in Monrovia.  The cost is 200 LD or US $5 per application.  The record review process is done manually and typically takes one to two (1-2) weeks.  In practice, however, the review process can take as little as five (5) business days and as long as three (3) weeks.

Applicants not resident in Liberia can request that their biographic information and fingerprints be sent to the Liberia National Police via the police headquarters of their home country, however, in practice, these requests are rarely completed.

Note: The Liberia National Police does not maintain a nationwide criminal database.  As a result, the Headquarters typically does not have records of crimes committed in the outer counties of the country.  As of 2014, two (2) letters of support – one from a community leader and one from the community police station are required to begin the police clearance process.

Military Records

Not available.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Liberia has certified that all passports issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hand written, biometric and ECOWAS) are valid for international travel.  Though the ECOWAS passport was previously only authorized for use within the region, it is currently the primary passport issued by the Government of Liberia.  Passport applications must be made at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Office and must be accompanied by either a Liberian birth certificate or a Liberian naturalization certificate.  The passport issuance fee is US $23.

Note: The Liberia Nationality Law requires that one be “of Negro descent” in order to qualify for Liberian citizenship.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Monrovia, Liberia (Embassy)

502 Benson Street
Mamba Point
Monrovia, Liberia

Tel: (231) 77-677-7000 or (231) 77-677-7001

Fax: (231) 77-677-6370

Visa Services

The consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia processes non-immigrant, immigrant, follow-to-join refugee and asylee and diversity visa applications for all individuals resident in Liberia. 

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 723-0437 (202) 723-0436

New York, NY (212) 687-1025 (212) 599-3189

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Monrovia
502 Benson Street
Monrovia, Liberia
Telephone
+(231) 77-677-7000
Emergency
+(231) 77-677-7000
Fax
+(231) 77-677-7370
Liberia 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

Liberia
Republic of Liberia
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per entry 

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

Report more than $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

No more than $7,500 at one time

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Monrovia

502 Benson Street
Monrovia, Liberia

Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Fax:+(231) 77-677-7370

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Destination Description

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

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport with one blank page
  • Visa obtained before arrival
  • World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination

If you do not obtain a Liberian visa prior to arrival, you may be deported immediately. Visit the Embassy of Liberia website for the most current visa information.

Sums in excess of $10,000 USD must be reported at the port of entry, and no more than $7,500 USD in foreign currency banknotes can be moved out of the country at one time. Larger sums must be transferred via bank drafts or other financial instruments.

Expect strict enforcement of border controls, and occasional border crossing closings, by Liberian, Ivorian, Sierra Leonean, and Guinean authorities. Corruption has been reported at many border locations and you may be asked for money prior to crossing the border. Some travelers have found that asking for official signed receipts for the payment of any unexpected “fines” can deter requests for bribes.

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

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Liberia's police force has limited resources. The Liberia National Police have a strong presence in Monrovia, but less of a presence outside of the capital city. The police can be both a source of assistance and a source of problems for visitors. Travelers may be detained by police officers soliciting bribes. You are encouraged to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times as proof of identity and citizenship. If detained or arrested, you should ask to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.

You should be aware of your surroundings at all times and use caution when moving around, especially at night. Travel outside of Monrovia after dark is strongly discouraged, as roads are in poor condition and there are few public street lights.

Avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness.

Crime: Crimes of opportunity, such as residential burglary or armed robbery (typically using a knife or machete) have affected U.S. citizens and are more common at night. Criminal activity has been reported in both urban and rural areas. The Liberia National Police have limited capacity to respond to crime events.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Liberia is also 911. However, emergency services are not provided reliably or consistently. Also, there is no landline telephone service in Liberia, and cellular phone communication is subject to occasional disruptions in service. A call to 911 in Liberia may go unanswered, and you should employ other resources to obtain emergency assistance.

Corruption: Petty corruption is rampant. Poorly paid government officials and private company employees may ask for “fees” for doing their job, and travelers may be inconvenienced for not paying bribes.  Requesting official signed receipts for the payment of any unexpected “fines” or “fees” can sometimes deter such improper behavior.

Scams: Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to use common sense – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. U.S. citizens should carefully check any unsolicited business proposal originating in Liberia before committing any funds, providing any goods or services, or undertaking any travel, particularly if the proposal involves mining or the sale of gold and diamonds. There has also been an increase in romance fraud as Liberians initiate internet relationships with a U.S. citizen for the purpose of eventually requesting money.

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

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical assistance as needed, and should contact the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible. 

Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (231) 77-677-7000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

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 repatriation 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 may 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. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Liberia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

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.

Photographs: Photographing military installations, air and sea ports, and important government buildings is prohibited. You should not take photographs of sites or activities that may be considered sensitive, as police may confiscate the camera.

Infrastructure: Lodging, fuel, transportation, utilities, and telephone services are not consistently available, especially outside of Monrovia. Hotel rooms can be difficult to find without an advance reservation. There is no working landline telephone system in Liberia. You should rent or purchase a local cellular phone. Commercial air courier service is available.

Financial Issues: The Liberian dollar is the official currency; however, the U.S. dollar is accepted as legal tender. Liberian dollars are preferred for smaller purchases, especially outside of Monrovia. Wire transfers may be limited and subject to fees if you do not have a Liberian bank account. ATMs are not widely available. Traveler's checks and credit cards are not regularly accepted, except at some major hotels in Monrovia. There have been some reports of financial information being compromised even at hotels where credit cards are routinely accepted.

Swimming Hazard: Do not swim in the Atlantic if you are unfamiliar with swimming in water where very strong rip currents occur. Rip tides can occur anywhere on the coastThe Liberia Weather Service does not provide information on where and when these tides form, and there are no lifeguards posted on beaches.

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

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Liberia. Voluntary sodomy is a first degree misdemeanor with penalties ranging up to one year in prison.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There are no accommodations for individuals with disabilities in Liberia. U.S. citizens with disabilities that hinder mobility should take this into consideration before planning travel to Liberia.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Liberia punishable by up to life in prison. However, the Liberian government does not effectively enforce the law, and rape is a serious and pervasive problem. Domestic violence also remains a serious problem despite being punishable by up to six months in prison.

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is not specifically against the law in Liberia and is often performed during initiation into the Sande secret societies.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Hospitals and medical facilities in Liberia are poorly equipped and are incapable of providing many services. Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, you should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. Within Liberia, medicines are scarce, often beyond expiration dates, possibly counterfeit, and generally unavailable in most areas.

Malaria and yellow fever are prevalent throught the country. Yellow fever immunization is required to enter Liberia and recommended for all residents. Chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) is recommended for all travelers, even for short stays. 

You should:

  • Carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. 
  • Treat clothing and tents with permethrin
  • Sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Liberia to ensure the medication is legal in Liberia. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

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: Expect time-consuming detours around the many bridges and roads damaged by war, neglect, or the heavy annual rains occurring between May and November. Traffic accidents are frequent and often result in injury or loss of life. Approach intersections with extreme caution. Potholes and poor road surfaces are common. Vehicles are often overloaded with people and goods, and make frequent stops without signaling. Drivers overtake on the right and left lanes. Many vehicles operate with threadbare tires, and blowouts are frequent.

Traffic Laws: Drivers in Liberia are expected to hold either a Liberian or an international driver’s license; a driver’s license from your home country will not be sufficient. At the same time, traffic laws are either nonexistent or not enforced. You are required to pull off the road to make way for high-speed car convoys carrying government officials. Be aware that mob violence is not uncommon if you are involved in a traffic accident. If you are involved in an accident, unless it is physically unsafe to remain in your vehicle, it is often safest to stay in your locked car and call the police immediately.

Public Transportation: Public taxis are poorly maintained and usually overloaded. Taxis have been occasionally targeted for robbery. If you must travel as a passenger, it is best to ask a trusted friend to drive you in his or her personal vehicle, and to travel with all doors locked and all windows rolled up. Public buses are crowded and may make you vulnerable to pick-pockets or robbers. Three-wheeled “kekes” (motorized rickshaws) are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

For more information, please visit our Road Safety page. Visit the website of Liberia’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

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

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Liberia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
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U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
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Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters.
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 Monrovia

502 Benson Street
Monrovia, Liberia

Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000

Fax:+(231) 77-677-7370

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General Information
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Hague Abduction Convention
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Return
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Visitation/Access
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Retaining an Attorney
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Mediation
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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?
Yes, Adoptions to the United States from Liberia and from the United States to Liberia are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
No
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Hague Convention Information

Liberia is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the requirement that adoption service providers be accredited or approved, and therefore meet the accreditation standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also applies in non-Convention (“orphan”) cases under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider act as the primary provider in every Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case, and that adoption service providers providing any adoption services, as defined at 22 CFR Part 96.2, on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on the impact of the UAA on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the home study requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.311, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Liberia, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

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

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Liberia must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum Residency: At present, there are no residency requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia. However, the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has proposed that the law be amended to require a 60-day residency before an adoption order may be issued. This page will be updated if that proposal becomes law.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: There are no age requirements for prospective adoptive parents in Liberia.
  • Marriage: There are no marriage requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia. If you are married, both parents must adopt the child. Adoption by same-sex couples – whether married or unmarried – is not addressed in Liberian law.
  • Minium Income: There are no income requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Under the INA 101(b)(1)(F), a child can be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from both parents, or in the case where there is a sole or surviving parent who is incapable of providing the proper care and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements of Liberia:

Please note: Full and final adoption must take place in Liberia. Liberia does not allow legal custody / guardianship for the purpose of adoption in the United States. Adoption by proxy is also prohibited by Liberian law.

  • Eligibility for Adoption:
    • Relinquishment: In addition to obtaining a statement of relinquishment from the birth parent or legal guardian of the child being adopted, no adoption decree can be issued without an approved case summary from the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP). A case summary from the MGCSP is issued only after a social worker has investigated the case thoroughly and concluded that adoption is in the best interest of the child, and the Minister has reviewed all the legal paperwork necessary to process an adoption in Liberia.
    • Abandonment: If the child was born in wedlock, the consent of both parents is required. If the child was born out of wedlock, only the mother must consent. Parental consent is not required if the parents have abandoned the child, if the parental rights have been legally terminated, if the parents are deceased, or if a legal guardian has been appointed by the court.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: There are no minimum or maximum age requirements. If the child is 16 years or older, the child must consent to the adoption. Please note that for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is currently no waiting period or foster care requirements for intercountry adoptions in Liberia. However, the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has proposed that the law be amended to require a 60-day residency for the prospective adoptive parents before an adoption order may be issued.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Liberia’s Adoption Authority

The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection

The Process

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

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-600A)
  3. Apply to Liberia’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Liberia
  5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible to Immigrate to the United States as an Orphan (Form I-600)
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider

Before taking steps to adopt a child from Liberia, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for any supervised providers, and otherwise complying with the requirements regarding the provision of adoption services using other providers (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

Note: The Government of Liberia also accredits adoption agencies, and (with the sole exception of kinship adoptions, as described in “4. Adopt the Child in Liberia,” below) only adoption agencies accredited by the Government of Liberia are permitted to operate in Liberia. At present, there are six such agencies operating in Liberia: New Horizons Adoption Agency; Small World Adoption; Life Adoption Services; Americans for African Adoption, Across the World Adoptions, and Angels’ Haven. Across the World Adoptions and Angels’ Haven are partners; Americans for African Adoption works in partnership with the U.S.-based organization Joyful World Ministries, Inc.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Liberia, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Liberia and U.S. immigration law.

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt. If you have already identified the child you wish to adopt, you may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition for the child and include all the required supporting documentation for the Form I-600A application (i.e. an approved home study) so USCIS can make a determination on your suitability and eligibility to adopt before reviewing the child’s eligibility as an orphan.  Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3. Apply to Liberia’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. immigration law, Liberia requires you to submit an adoption application to the Probate Court, which informs Liberia’s Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection. The Ministry of Justice evaluates your eligibility to adopt a child under Liberian law. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection independently evaluates the child’s eligibility to be adopted.

The competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Liberia will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, may provide you with a referral. We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child, but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child. You must also ultimately adhere to the USCIS’ suitability determination (i.e. typically the Form I-600A approval notice) with respect to the number of children you are approved to adopt and the characteristics of the child(ren) (such as age, gender, nationality, and/or special need, disability, and/or impairment) that you are approved to adopt. Learn more about Health Considerations.

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

4. Adopt the Child in Liberia

The process for finalizing the adoption in Liberia generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: No adoption decree can be issued by the Probate Court without an approved case summary from the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP).
  • Role of the Court: A petition for adoption must be filed with the Probate Court. The petition must contain the name, age, residence and marital status of the petitioners. The name, date and place of birth of the child, the date and manner in which the petitioners acquired custody of the child, facts (if any) that render consent of either birth parent unnecessary, the petitioners' desire to adopt the child and the child's change of name, should also be contained in the petition.

Upon receipt of a petition for adoption, the Probate Court schedules a hearing and serves notice on all interested parties. The petitioners or their legal representative, the birth parent(s), or guardian(s) of the child, and the child are required to attend the hearing, though the court may waive the appearance of the child for good cause. This waiver must be stated in the order of adoption. All hearings are public, and held in open court. The court must be satisfied that the "moral and temporal interests" of the child will be satisfied by the adoption. If the court is satisfied the Probate Court orders the adoption.

  • Role of Accredited Adoption Service Providers: Most prospective adoptive parents work with an adoption agency in the U.S., which in turn liaises with an orphanage or organization in Liberia prior to initiating the adoption process. The organization in Liberia must be registered with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP). At present, there are six such agencies operating in Liberia: New Horizons Adoption Agency; Small World Adoption; Life Adoption Services; Americans for African Adoption, Across the World Adoptions, and Angels’ Haven. Across the World Adoptions and Angels’ Haven are partners; Americans for African Adoption works in partnership with the U.S.-based organization Joyful World Ministries, Inc.

When the adoption is a kinship adoption (i.e. adoption of a blood relative), the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection has indicated that adoptive parents may use any accredited adoption agency in the United States. The agency will then supervise a private Liberian attorney. Please note that all requirements, including the child’s status as an orphan, continue to apply and that a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider must act as the primary provider, even if a private Liberian attorney handles the adoption in Liberia. This paragraph applies to kinship adoptions only (i.e. adoptions of a blood relative).

Adoption service means any one of the following six services:

  1. Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
  2. Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
  3. Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
  4. Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
  5. Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
  6. When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.

Note: See additional guidance for limited situations when a primary provider may not be required. 

  • Adoption Application: Please contact the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP) directly to request the most recent information about the adoption application process. Their 2016 Standard Operating Procedures are available here.
  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in Liberia take approximately three months to complete from the time a dossier accepted by the adoption authority in Liberia to the time the final adoption order is issued by the Probate Court.
  • Adoption Fees: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. Official Government fees for adoptions in Liberia are minimal and consist mainly of court filing fees, which are $1,500 for intercountry adoptions. The cost of employing local counsel varies, but prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay several hundred dollars at a minimum for an attorney. The approved adoption agencies often charge from $7,000 to $12,000 per case.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to U.S. law, or the law of Liberia, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry. Improper payments violate applicable law, or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Liberia at risk. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Further, the UAA and IAA make certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

  •  Documents Required: The following documents are required for adoption in Liberia:
    • Petition for Adoption
    • Written consent of the birth parents
    • Copy of prospective adoptive parents' passports
    • A case summary prepared by the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP).

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. The U.S Department of State’s Authentications Office has information on the subject.

5. Apply for Your Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States as an Orphan

After you finalize the adoption in Liberia, USCIS must determine if the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative on behalf of the child and unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider.

If you have a valid Form I-600A approval, you may file your Form I-600 petition in the United States with USCIS National Benefits Center or at the U.S.Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. If you choose to file at the U.S.Embassy in Monrovia, you must make an appointment in advance by sending a message to ConsularMonrovia@state.gov.

When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Monrovia, Liberia, must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination) to verify the child’s orphan status. When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.

When a Form I-600 petition is filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, to verify the child’s orphan status. Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the non-Convention adoption process. It can take approximately two months or more to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.

6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete and the Form I-604 determination has been completed, finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have finalized the adoption in Liberia, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate as the child’s parent.

Birth certificates are currently available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia, Liberia. Certificates are free for those age 12 and under, and cost 500 LD (approx. US $7) for others. 

Liberian Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Liberia.

A Liberian passport must be issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Office in Monrovia, Liberia, and must be accompanied by either a Liberian birth certificate or a Liberian naturalization certificate. The passport issuance fee is currently US $50.

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 Monrovia. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least three business days. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s admission into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s admission into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

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 to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child acquires U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Liberia

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Liberia, 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 in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Liberia, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Liberia, 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

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Liberian law currently has no post-adoption reporting requirements for adoptive parents. Parents should confirm any post-adoption requirements with their legal representatives.

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. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-600/A process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Liberia
502 Benson Street, Monrovia, Liberia
Tel: (+231) 77-677-7428
Fax: (+231) 77-677-7370
Email: ConsularMonrovia@state.gov
Internet: lr.usembassy.gov/

Liberia’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection
Sekou Toure Avenue and Gurley Street
P. O. Box 10-9009, 1000
Monrovia 10, Liberia
Tel: +231886 404 919; +231 886 450 891
Fax: none
Email: genderministry@yahoo.com
Internet: none

Embassy of Liberia
5201 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Tel: (202) 723-0437
Fax: (202) 723-0436
Email: none
Internet: www.liberianembassyus.org/

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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with the

USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local)
Fax:1- 913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or a Form I-600 petition with a USCIS international field office:

Please visit http://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-uscis-office/international-immigration-offices and select the appropriate office.

For general questions about immigration procedures:

USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.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 12 Months
A-2 None Multiple 12 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None One 6 Months
C-3 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 12 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A $100.00 N/A N/A 3
H-2B $100.00 N/A N/A 3
H-2R $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months 3
I None 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 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months
L-2 $100.00 Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 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

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Birth Certificates are currently available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia.  Certificates are free for those 12 and under, and cost 500 LD (approx. US $7).  Under Liberian law, anyone with knowledge of a birth can register that birth.  Supporting documentation is required (such as medical facility records or sworn affidavits), but the origins of this documentation are rarely investigated.  Certificates are generally processed in about three (3) business days.

There are no reliable checks and balances in the Liberian birth certificate application process.  Applicants could easily procure a birth certificate with any information (date of birth, location of birth, parents) desired.  Because of this, adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.

Death Certificates

Death Certificates are available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia.  In order to file for a death certificate, an applicant must either have an official record of death from a medical facility, or a confirmed record of the disposition of the body (i.e. funeral home record, photos of burial, etc.)  Applications must be made IN PERSON and carry a 500 LD (approx. US $7) fee.  Certificates are generally processed in about three (3) business days.

Burial Certificates 

Please check back for updates. 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage/Divorce Certificates

Liberia recognizes two different types of marriage and divorce: traditional and western.  In order to be legally recognized by the Government of Liberia, marriage or divorce MUST be registered (and given the accompanying certificate) in one of these two ways.

Note:  Liberian law requires at least one party in a divorce application be resident in Liberia at the time of the application.

Traditional:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs governs all traditional marriages and divorces in Liberia.  The application for each must be made IN PERSON and carries a US $50 fee for marriages and a US $75 fee for divorces.  Certificates are generally processed in about one week.

As recently as June 2011, local police have charged several current and former Ministry of Internal Affairs staff members with forging marriage documents.  Adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.

Western:

The National Archives governs all western marriages, while the resident civil law court handles divorces for such cases.  The application for each must be made IN PERSON (though divorce proceedings are usually handled exclusively by legal representatives) and carries a US $50 fee for marriages and a US $150 fee for divorces.  Certificates are generally processed in about one week, however, there is typically an additional two to three (2-3) business days of processing after the certificates have been signed.

The marriage process requires signatures from two witnesses and an officiant, but DOES NOT require any secondary proof of relationship.  In practice, the divorce process does not always mandate that either party be present (sworn affidavits can be provided.)  Adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.

Adoption Certificates

Adoption certificates, commonly referred to as Adoption Decrees, are available from the Probate Court at the Temple of Justice and registered with the National Archives in Monrovia.  Parties must appear at the court but are allowed to execute an adoption through their attorney or legal representation.  Prior to issuance of the decree, parties must provide evidence that they have conducted a home study with Ministry of Health and filed all required petitions, relinquishment statements, and affidavits with the Probate Court.  The Probate Court will charge a filing fee, in addition to the legal fees or execution fee charged by the attorney.  

Decrees are issued by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Court for that term.  As with other court documents, the decrees are issued on white legal-size paper and will have several rubber stamps (usually red or gold in color) bearing the court seal.  Once issued by the court, parties must register the adoption decree at the National Archives and pay the required $40 USD authentication and registration fees.  Once registered, the decree will also bear a numerical coding and seal/signature from the Registrar of Deeds and Titles at the National Archives.  Certified copies of the adoption decree are available from the National Archives for $75 USD. 

As with other legal documents issued in Liberia, there is no system to check that the process is followed correctly.  Often, adoption decrees are issued before any of the required paperwork has been filed with the appropriate ministries.  Adjudicators are encouraged to request to see the relinquishment statements and other associated affidavits which should have accompanied the adoption petition at the court.

Note:  While the 2009 Presidential Moratorium on inter-country adoptions remains in place, it is not unusual to see recently issued adoption decrees.

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Identity Card

Not available.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Court/Prison Records

Not available.

Police Records

Applications for Liberian police clearances must be made IN PERSON at the Records and Identification Section of the Liberia National Police Headquarters in Monrovia.  The cost is 200 LD or US $5 per application.  The record review process is done manually and typically takes one to two (1-2) weeks.  In practice, however, the review process can take as little as five (5) business days and as long as three (3) weeks.

Applicants not resident in Liberia can request that their biographic information and fingerprints be sent to the Liberia National Police via the police headquarters of their home country, however, in practice, these requests are rarely completed.

Note: The Liberia National Police does not maintain a nationwide criminal database.  As a result, the Headquarters typically does not have records of crimes committed in the outer counties of the country.  As of 2014, two (2) letters of support – one from a community leader and one from the community police station are required to begin the police clearance process.

Military Records

Not available.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Liberia has certified that all passports issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hand written, biometric and ECOWAS) are valid for international travel.  Though the ECOWAS passport was previously only authorized for use within the region, it is currently the primary passport issued by the Government of Liberia.  Passport applications must be made at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Office and must be accompanied by either a Liberian birth certificate or a Liberian naturalization certificate.  The passport issuance fee is US $23.

Note: The Liberia Nationality Law requires that one be “of Negro descent” in order to qualify for Liberian citizenship.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Monrovia, Liberia (Embassy)

502 Benson Street
Mamba Point
Monrovia, Liberia

Tel: (231) 77-677-7000 or (231) 77-677-7001

Fax: (231) 77-677-6370

Visa Services

The consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia processes non-immigrant, immigrant, follow-to-join refugee and asylee and diversity visa applications for all individuals resident in Liberia. 

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 723-0437 (202) 723-0436

New York, NY (212) 687-1025 (212) 599-3189

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Monrovia
502 Benson Street
Monrovia, Liberia
Telephone
+(231) 77-677-7000
Emergency
+(231) 77-677-7000
Fax
+(231) 77-677-7370
Liberia 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.