Egypt

Last Updated: August 2009

Hague Adoption Convention Country?

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Hague Convention Information

Egypt is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention ). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Egypt did not change.

Laws in Egypt regarding adoption are unclear and may vary according to a prospective adoptive parent's religious background. Islamic Shari'a law does not allow for full adoption of a child, as generally understood in the United States. (Please refer to our flyer on Islamic Family Law for more information on this issue.) U.S. citizens wishing to adopt a non-Muslim child may wish to seek legal advice from a local Egyptian attorney.

Fostering, which assumes no blood relationship, is sometimes permitted in Egypt through the Ministry of Social Affairs. Most commonly, a foster parent will agree to partially or fully support a child who remains in an orphanage. On occasion, however, a foster parent will enter into a contract with the orphanage, and will be permitted to raise the child at home. To begin this process, the foster family submits a request to the Ministry of Social Services. If the Ministry of Social Affairs approves the request, it will grant permission to allow an orphanage to release a child to be fostered at the home of the foster family.

Egypt has both Muslim and Christian orphanages, though not all orphanages release orphans to be fostered at one's home. Prospective guardians may only foster children of their same religion.

The Egyptian government assigns names to all orphans of unknown parentage. In some circumstances, an orphan may be issued a birth certificate that also contains fictitious names for the mother and father. Christians may request that the child's name be changed during the fostering process.

Who Can Adopt

To bring an adopted child to United Stated from Egypt, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Egypt also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There are no residency requirements provided that the prospective parents have satisfied the Egyptian legal requirements and are awarded legal custody with the right to remove the child from Egypt for immigration. For guardianship, a lawyer can move the prospective parent's case through the court system without the guardians being present. However, at least one of the prospective parents applying for guardianship or fostering needs to be able to show proof of Egyptian citizenship (e.g. an Egyptian passport or national ID card).
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and not more than 55 years old.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Only married couples can foster or obtain guardianship of an orphan in Egypt.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: While there are no specific income requirements, the prospective adoptive family's income should be enough to cover the basic needs of the family including the child.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS:
    • At least one of the prospective parents should be of Egyptian nationality.
    • The number of children in the family should not exceed two unless they are old enough to depend on themselves.
    • The family is not allowed to provide care for more than one child until they obtain an approval from the Ministry of Social Affairs.
    • The foster mother should have enough time to take care of the child as well as the other family members.
    • Egyptian law does not allow for same-sex couples to apply for adoption.
Who Can Be Adopted

Egypt has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for fostering and or guardian. You cannot adopt a child in Egypt unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States.
Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:


  • Relinquishment Requirements: A relinquished child is determined by the Ministry of Social Affairs to be a child whose parents are incapable of taking care of them and who do not have any relatives to take the parents' place. In this case the foster parent will enter into a contract with the orphanage and agree to fully support the child. To begin this process, the foster family is asked to submit a fostering request to the Ministry of Social Affairs with all documentation proving that they are capable of supporting the child.
  • Abandonment Requirements: Abandoned children include: children born out-of-wedlock who were abandoned by their parents, lost children, and children who were abandoned by their divorced parents. There are two ways to foster these children. The most common way is that a person would benevolently agree to partially or fully support the child who remains in an orphanage. It is also possible to foster a child in one's home, in which case the foster parent will enter into a contract with the orphanage and agree to fully support the child. To begin this process, the foster family is asked to submit a fostering request to the Ministry of Social Affairs with all documentation and with proof that they are able to support the child.
  • Age Requirements: There are no age requirements.
  • Sibling Requirements: The number of children in a prospective family should not exceed two unless they are old enough to depend on themselves. Prospective parents are not allowed to foster more than one child except after obtaining permission from the Ministry of Social Affairs.
  • Waiting Period: Impossible to predict. To satisfy the requirements of the Egyptian family law and be awarded legal custody or permission to foster an orphan at home with an approval to remove the child for immigration is a long and difficult process. However, once a child has been identified, an I-600A application for advance processing of orphan petition has been approved by the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the prospective parents' place of residence, and prospective parents have satisfied Egyptian law and been awarded legal custody, the immigration process takes between 1-2 weeks.
How To Adopt

Egypt's Adoption Authority:
Obtaining permission to foster an Egyptian child is a difficult process. Prospective foster parents are required to undergo a pre-qualification process through the Ministry of Social Affairs. This is similar to the U.S. screening process for foster parents and includes, among other things, regular visits by a social worker to determine whether prospective parents are able to care for the child properly. The number of visits is determined by the social worker.

The Process

The process for fostering a child from Egypt generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Foster and or obtain guardianship of a Child in Egypt
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The first step in fostering a child from Egypt is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

    Not all orphanages release orphans to be fostered at one's home. Adoptive parents are encouraged to seek the advice of the Ministry of Social Affairs about orphanages which release orphans to be fostered in the foster family's home.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring a fostered child from Egypt to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Egypt as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
  3. Be Matched with a Child

    If you are eligible to adopt (foster), and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central fostering authority in Egypt will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child. .

    The child must be eligible to be fostered according to Egypt's requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Egypt

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Egypt generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: All prospective parents are required to apply to the Ministry of Social Affairs to qualify to become foster parents. To begin the process, foster parents need to submit the following documents:
      • A copy of the marriage decree.
      • Employment status and proof that they will be able to financially support a child (proof of income).
      • Proof that one of the parents is infertile.
      • Proof that one of the foster parents is an Egyptian citizen.

        A social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs will visit the parents to make sure that the foster family will be able to provide all types of support to the child. Once all documents are complete, they will be sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs Committee for adjudication. If all conditions are met, the Ministry of Social Affairs will issue an approval or denial. Foster parents are notified and then are free to visit an orphanage and choose a child.

        The foster family will sign a contract with the orphanage showing that the orphanage is officially releasing the child to the foster family and that the foster family will allow a social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs to visit the child on a regular basis to determine whether the foster parents are able to care for the child properly. (If the parents are planning to move the child permanently to the U.S., they should discuss this in detail with the Ministry of Social Affairs in advance.)
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Christians wishing to adopt in Egypt should seek legal counsel from an Egyptian attorney in order to receive the most updated information regarding the proper procedures and documentation for adopting or acquiring custody of an Egyptian orphan.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: There are no adoption agencies in Egypt. Attorneys and/or prospective adoptive parents handle the cases themselves.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: All prospective parents are required to apply to the Ministry of Social Affairs to qualify to become foster parents. A social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs will visit the parents to make sure that the foster family will be capable to provide all types of support to an infant. Once all documents are complete, they will be sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs Committee for adjudication. If all conditions are met, Ministry of Social Affairs will issue an approval or denial. Foster parents are notified and then are free to visit an orphanage to choose a child.

      The foster family will sign a contract with the orphanage showing that the orphanage is officially releasing the child to the foster family and that the foster family will allow a social worker from the Ministry of Social Affairs to visit the infant on a regular basis to determine whether the foster parents are able to care for the child properly. (This issue should be discussed in detail with the Ministry of Social Affairs in advance, if the parents are planning to move the child permanently to the U.S.). Christians wishing to foster in Egypt should seek legal counsel from an Egyptian attorney in order to receive the most updated information regarding the proper procedures and documentation for fostering or acquiring custody of an Egyptian orphan.
    • TIME FRAME: The time frame is typically impossible to predict. To satisfy the requirements of the Egyptian family law and be awarded legal custody or permission to foster an orphan at home with an approval to remove the child for immigration is a long and difficult process. However, once a child has been identified, an I-600A application for advance processing of orphan petition has been approved by the U.S Citizenship of Immigration Services (CIS) office having jurisdiction over the prospective parents' place of residence, and prospective parents have satisfied Egyptian law and been awarded legal custody, the immigration process takes between 1-2 weeks.
    • ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in Egypt discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective fostering parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby, this is criminalized by the 2008 Child Law, and may put all future fostering in Egypt at risk.
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: To begin the process, foster parents need to submit the following documents:
      • A copy of the marriage decree.
      • Employment status and proof that they will be able financially to support a child (proof of income).
      • Proof that one of the parents is infertile (can not give birth).
      • Proof that one of the foster parents is an Egyptian citizen.

        NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn more on the Judicial Assistance section of our website
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

    After you finalize the fostering process (or gain legal custody) in Egypt, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your fostering process is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Please note: Sharia's law does not allow for an orphan to take the family name of a non-biological parent. Christians may request that the child's name be changed during the fostering process. However, we strongly advise the prospective foster parents to seek legal advice from an Egyptian Attorney before trying to change the child's name in Egypt. Foster families can obtain a birth certificate for the child from the Egyptian Passport Office.

    • Egyptian Passport

      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Egypt. Once prospective parents have satisfied the requirements of Egyptian law and are awarded legal custody with the right to remove the child from Egypt for immigration from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the prospective parent may apply for an Egyptian passport for the child from the Egyptian Passport Authority.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

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

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Egypt. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

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

Obtaining Your Visa

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Egypt, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Egypt registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

After Adoption

What does Egypt require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

The Ministry of Social Affairs conducts regularly scheduled visits after the fostering of the child to determine whether the foster parents are able to care for the child properly. However, if parents are planning to travel to the United States, they should discuss the possibility of waiving the visit requirements.

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Egypt and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country's history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

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

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Egypt
Address: Consular Section, IV Unit
Embassy of the United States of America
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Egypt
Tel: +(202) 2797-2200 or +(202) 2797-2201
Fax: +(202) 2797-2472
Email: ConsularCairoIV@state.gov
ConsularCairoACS@state.gov
Internet: http://cairo.usembassy.gov

Egypt's Adoption Authority
Address: Ministry of Social Affairs
Main office: 19, AlMarghani Street, Agouza
Cairo, Egypt
Tel: +202-3761-8183 / +202-3337-5404

Embassy of Egypt
Address: 3521 International Ct. N.W. Washington DC 20008
Tel: 202.895.5400
Fax: 202.244.4319 / 202.244.5131
Email:Embassy@egyptembassy.net
Internet: http://www.egyptembassy.net

*EGYPT also has consulates in: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston.

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

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)