Democratic Republic of the Congo

December 20, 2013

Alert: Congolese Authorities Confirm the Suspension on Exit Permit Issuances Continues and Advise of Delays in Processing Grandfathered Cases

On December 19, the Congolese Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior and Security, and the General Direction of Migration (DGM) confirmed to members of the diplomatic corps, including the U.S. Ambassador, that the current suspension on the issuance of exit permits continues. This announcement confirmed information reported in the Department of State's October 23 adoption alert regarding the suspension of issuance of exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.

The Ministers announced that even those adoptive families whose cases meet the DGM’s criteria for receiving exit permits during the suspension will experience significant processing delays. Applications for exit permits for adopted children are facing increased scrutiny following reports of an apparently falsely backdated bordereau letter submitted by a U.S. family. The DGM reported that a number of additional applications appear to include fraudulently-obtained documentation as well. The Ministers stressed that adoptive parents “must be patient” as the DGM is reviewing applications thoroughly and cannot predict when exit permits may be issued.

The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa continues to seek information about why some families whose adoptions were approved by the Ministry of Gender and Family before September 25 have reportedly not been able to submit applications for exit permits. Adoptive parents are cautioned that the processing delays may impact the DGM’s ability to accept and process additional applications.

The DGM continues to estimate that the suspension will last a year. Adoptive families, prospective adoptive families, and adoption service providers are cautioned that the DGM has not committed to processing applications for exit permits within a given timeframe once the suspension ends.

Reminder of prohibition on adoptions by single parents: 

On December 19, the Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior and Security, and DGM reiterated the October 22 announcement that children adopted by single parents will no longer be eligible for exit permits, unless the adoptions were approved by the Ministry of Gender and Family before September 25. This prohibition applies to single individuals from all countries and is intended to be permanent.

Please direct questions related to this notice or a specific adoption 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 AskCI@state.gov. We will also post new information as it becomes available on www.adoption.state.gov.