Democratic Republic of the Congo

July 11, 2014

Alert: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Announces End to Exit Permit Exceptions Until New Law is Promulgated

On July 10, Ambassador James Swan met with Director General Beya of the Congolese General Direction of Migration (DGM) to seek clarification on the DGM’s decision to no longer issue exit permits to any adopted Congolese children until a new adoption law is promulgated. DGM Beya stated that his office will not accept any cases for consideration in the interim, even those involving children with medical conditions or those cases that met the DGM’s October 2013 exception criteria.

During the meeting, the DGM stressed that it considers no intercountry adoptions from the DRC to be completely free of fraud. The DGM said it believes all the bordereaux letters it recently reviewed to be falsified or back-dated and therefore invalid for purposes of seeking an exit permit.

Over the July 4 weekend, the Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, raised the exit permit suspension and all the pending cases with Congolese parliamentarians and the Minister of Gender and Family, all of whom emphasized their concerns about problems in the adoption process. The parliamentarians further cautioned that they consider many Congolese judges to be corrupt and that few government officials have confidence in completed adoptions.

The Department of State deeply regrets that families are once again forced to wait indefinitely for exit permits. On July 3, the DGM accepted eight medical cases from the U.S. Embassy for humanitarian consideration. In the July 10 meeting, the DGM stated that it will not consider exit permits for any of these eight medical cases. To date, the DGM issued exit permits for four children whose cases were submitted to the DGM prior to July 3. At the July 3 meeting, the DGM refused to accept 29 grandfathered cases received from adoptive families in response to our June 13 Adoption Alert.

The Department of State will continue to engage the DRC government on ways we can address its concerns about intercountry adoptions. Our offers to provide technical expertise, and to bring a delegation of Congolese officials to the United States, remain on the table and will be reiterated at every opportunity. We will also continue to strongly emphasize our message that all children whose adoptions were completed in Congolese courts should be allowed to obtain exit permits and join their adoptive families in the United States.

Please direct questions related to this alert or a specific adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States. Email inquiries may be directed to ExitPermitSuspensionDRC@state.gov.