GuineaLast Updated: October 10, 2012
Hague Adoption Convention Country?YES
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- Hague Convention Information
Guinea is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Hague countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations, as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Guinea.
Guinea does not allow adoption service providers or orphanages to assist with intercountry adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents must work with an accredited or approved adoption service provider for U.S. processing elements, but should expect to work directly with Guinean authorities or a licensed Guinean attorney for services in Guinea.
Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read about Transition Cases.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Guinea, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
- Who Can Adopt
In addition to the U.S. requirements, Guinea obliges prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Guinea:
- RESIDENCY: The Government of Guinea requires prospective adoptive parent(s) to be present for the final step in the adoption process in order to witness the child's acceptance of the prospective adoptive parent(s). Prospective adoptive parent(s) should plan to be in Guinea for one to three weeks.
- AGE OF ADOPTING PARENTS: Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be at least 15 years older than the child they propose to adopt.
- MARRIAGE: A married couple must have been together at least five (5) years.
- INCOME: None specified.
- OTHER: There is no statutory bar to adoption by a single parent or same-sex parents apart from the age requirement above.
- Who Can Be Adopted
Because Guinea is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Guinea must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Guinea have determined that placement of the child within Guinea has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Guinea’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.
- Relinquishment: An Affidavit of Consent must be obtained from the parent in the case of a single parent relinquishing a child for intercountry adoption, or from a representative of the child's family if the parents are deceased or abandoned the child.
- Abandonment: Local police authorities will obtain an Order of Abandonment from the court for any child found to be without parents or known family.
- Age of Adoptive Child: To be adopted, a child must be under the age of 15; a child age 13 or 14 must consent to a prospective adoption.
- Sibling Adoptions: Nothing specified.
- Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Nothing specified.
- Waiting Period or Foster Care: Nothing specified.
- How To Adopt
WARNING: Guinea is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Guinea before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Guinea’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social Affairs, Women and Children
Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying Guinea as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or, 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases.
Because Guinea is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Guinea must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may not confer immigration benefits on the adopted child (i.e. it is possible the child would not qualify for an immigrant visa if adopted out of order).
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
- Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Guinea
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
- Adopt the child in Guinea
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
- Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider:
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Guinea is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may provide adoption services between the United States and Guinea. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with The Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
Note: No adoption agency or orphanage, foreign or domestic, is approved or accredited to assist prospective adoptive parents with the in-country process.
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, you should provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Guinea as part of your adoption dossier. Guinea’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Guinea’s law.
Be Matched with a Child:
If both the United States and Guinea determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Guinea may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Guinea. The adoption authority in Guinea will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Guinea. Learn more about this critical decision.
- Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption:
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.
After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Guinea. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.
WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Guinean Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Guinea where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Guinean Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Guinea before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
- Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody) of Child in Guinea:
Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Guinea, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Guinea.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Guinea generally includes the following:
- Role of Adoption Authority: Adoptions from Guinea begin with a letter addressed to the Minister of Social Affairs. After conducting an investigation into the background of the child to be adopted and determining that the child is eligible for adoption, the Ministry will send an Article 16 report on the child for inclusion with the Form I-800 filed with USCIS. After an adoption is finalized, the Ministry will certify that everything was done according to the provisions of the Hague Convention (Article 23 Certificate). You will need to take this certificate with you when you appear for the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
- Role of the Court: A court in Conakry, called the Tribunal of First Instance, will issue the Decree of Adoption. The Tribunal can also issue a Jugement Suppletif in place of a birth certificate, if needed.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: An adoption agency or orphanage in Guinea may offer or attempt to assist in processing your application for adoption in Guinea. Note that no adoption agency or orphanage in Guinea is approved or accredited to assist you, and no payment should be made to anyone other than a Guinean attorney hired by you to undertake specific tasks, or to the Government of Guinea for specific assessed fees.
- Time Frame: There is no set time frame for an adoption from Guinea.
- Adoption Application: Adoptions from Guinea begin with a letter addressed to the Minister of Social Affairs, accompanied by your dossier and the Form I-800A approval notice.
If you have already identified a child that you would like to adopt, you should be prepared to supply the Guinean Central Authority with all known information about the child and the child's family.
- Adoption Fees: The Government of Guinea is working to publish a schedule of fees. In the meantime, fees are assessed on a case-by-case basis according to an estimation of actual costs. For example, an investigation that requires travel to a distant location would incur a higher fee that an investigation undertaken in the capital.
In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Guinea include those charged by the Government of Guinea for investigations.
- Documents Required: Prospective adoptive parent(s) should provide a letter addressed to the Minister of Social Affairs stating the desire to adopt a child in Guinea. The letter must be signed by both prospective adoptive parents (if a married couple), and by every child in the household age 13 or older. The letter should accompany your dossier and the Form I-800A approval notice.
- Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications office may be able to assist. Read more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
- Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home:
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
If you have finalized the adoption in Guinea, you will firstneed to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.
If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
Birth certificates are issued by the Civil Register in the community in which the child was born based on a Declaration of Birth, which is issued by a hospital. If no birth certificate was ever issued for a child, or the child was not born in a hospital, a "Jugement Suppletif tenant lieu d'acte de naissance" can be requested from the court.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Guinea.
An application for a Guinean passport should be submitted to the Central Immigration Office in Conakry, along with the child's birth certificate (or Jugement Suppletif), a residency statement for either the child or the child's parents (or a Police Report of abandonment), and two passport-sized photographs. An application for a Guinean passport may be submitted at any point prior to or after the adoption. The fee for a passport is the equivalent of approximately 20 USD, and the passport will be available within two to four weeks.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy in Dakar for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, final approval of the child’s I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s visa. 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. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
POST-ADOPTION/POST-PLACEMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Guinea's Central Authority has stated its intention to request post-placement reporting, but no reporting requirement is known at this time.
We strongly urge you to comply with any potential 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 U.S. citizen parents.
- Traveling Abroad
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Guinea
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Guinea, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Guinea, 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).
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- North American Council on Adoptable Children
- Adoption Services Support Groups for adopting Persons
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
- Contact Information
U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal
Address: Embassy of the United States of America
Avenue Jean XXIII
Tel: + (221) 33-829-2100
Fax: + (221) 33-822-5903
Guinea’s Adoption Authority
Address: Ministry of Social Affairs, Women and Children
B. P. 527
Conakry, Republic of Guinea
Tel: + (224) 64-36-4299
Embassy of Republic of Guinea
Address: Embassy of the Republic of Guinea
2112 Leroy Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 986-4300
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)