MoroccoLast Updated: September 2009
Hague Adoption Convention Country?NO
Alerts & Notices
Morocco Alert March 8, 2013
- Hague Convention Information
Morocco 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 Morocco did not change.
Please note: Although this website uses the term "adoption" throughout, persons considering adopting a Moroccan child should think of the Moroccan process more as custody in advance of adoption. In Morocco, this guardianship is referred to as "kefala". Americans considering adoption of Moroccan children must obtain kefala custody from a Moroccan court and subsequently adopt the child in the United States.
- Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Morocco, you must first 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.
A visit to the U.S. Consulate to obtain the Immigrant Visa is the last step in the process.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Morocco also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
- MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must either be a single female or a married couple. Morocco does not recognize same sex marriages or domestic partnerships.
- INCOME REQUIREMENTS: The Government of Morocco requires that people seeking legal guardianship of Moroccan children be employed.
- OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents of Moroccan children must be Muslim. Prospective adoptive parents must have a letter from a doctor practicing in Morocco indicating that they are in good mental and physical heath and capable of caring for an adopted child.
- Who Can Be Adopted
In order to qualify for immigration to the U.S., the child must meet the definition of orphan under both Moroccan and U.S. law.
Children living in Moroccan orphanages are more likely to meet the definition of orphan under U.S. law and therefore are more likely to qualify for immigration to the United States than children who do not live in orphanages.
Learn more about these U.S. requirements.
- How To Adopt
The process for adopting a child from Morocco generally includes the following steps:
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt in the United States(I-600A petition submitted to USCIS).
- Be matched with a child that meets the U.S. definition of an orphan
- Obtain certificate of abandonment from issuing authority
- Obtain "kefala" custody of the child in a Moroccan court
- Obtain permission from Moroccan court to travel/immigrate and obtain a passport
- Apply for an Immigrant Visa for the child at the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca.
- Bring the child home to the U.S. and adopt the child in your home state.
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
To bring an adopted child from Morocco 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 Morocco as described above in the Who Can Adopt section.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The orphanage where the child resides should be able to provide you with an exact list of the documents required to adopt in Morocco. The documents required may vary and prospective adoptive parents should expect delays and the probability of supplementary requirements. They will most likely require that any English language documents, to include your home study, be accompanied by a sworn Arabic translation by a Moroccan translator. A list of sworn translators located throughout Morocco can be obtained by contacting the Immigrant Visa Unit at the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco at email@example.com. The following is a list of basic documents required for the kefala procedure:
- Islam Conversion Document for the prospective adoptive parents
- Birth Certificate for each prospective parent
- Marriage certificate for the prospective parents (if applicable)
- Health statement from a doctor practicing in Morocco
- Work and salary statements for each prospective adoptive parent (if applicable)
- Home study completed by a licensed U.S. home study provider
- Photographs (the exact number and size required varies)
copy of passports of each prospective adoptive parent
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 how.
Be Matched with a Child
Once your I-600A has been approved by USCIS, you will need to locate a Moroccan orphanage to be matched with a child that meets the suitability criteria noted in your approval notice or form I-600A (age, gender, special needs, number of children, etc.) 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.
- Obtain certificate of abandonment from issuing authority
Most children residing in Moroccan orphanages will have a judgment of abandonment issued in their name. In most orphanages, this judgment of abandonment will be given to the prospective adoptive parents along with the kefala custody documentation. However, procedures may vary depending on the region. Be prepared to contact regional authorities.
- Gain Kefala Custody in-country
In order to obtain kefala custody of the child they have chosen, both prospective adoptive parents will need to appear in person in a Moroccan court. Their documents will be reviewed and the custody documents will be issued and executed. This process can take anywhere from 2 days to several weeks, depending on the local court procedures.
- ATTORNEYS/AGENCIES: Many orphanages in Morocco have their own legal staff that can assist you in the kefala custody process, thus alleviating the need to hire a private attorney in Morocco. Many American prospective adoptive parents who have adopted from Morocco in the last year have used orphanages that provide this service. It is always possible, however, for prospective adoptive parents to hire a private attorney to assist them in the process.
- TIME FRAME: The time required to complete the kefala custody of a Moroccan child can vary from 3 weeks to 6 months, perhaps longer depending on the particular details of the case.
- ADOPTION FEES: Although orphanages do not officially charge fees in Morocco, many of them may request a donation from adoptive parents. Orphanages that provide legal assistance in obtaining kefala custody usually have fees associated with this service. Anyone using an attorney can expect to pay attorneys fees for services rendered,
- DOCUMENTING A CHILD'S ELIGIBILITY FOR KEFALA: If the child's biological parents are known, their names will usually appear on the child's birth certificate. In cases where the child was born out of wedlock to an unknown father, the father's name on the birth certificate will contain a fictitious name starting with "Abd" (Abdellah, Abdelhamid, etc) and no last name. This is a place holder name to avoid the father's portion of the birth certificate being left blank, and has no relation to the actual name of the biologic father.
Obtain permission from Moroccan court to travel/immigrate and obtain child's passport
The prospective adoptive parents should receive a document from the Moroccan courts giving them permission to obtain a Moroccan passport and immigrate to the U.S. with the child. Prospective adoptive parents will need the child's birth certificate, kefala custody document, and permission from the court to obtain a passport. These documents are submitted to the municipality in the region where the kefala was obtained. The passport is normally ready within one week, although expedited processing can be requested. Most prospective adoptive parents who receive assistance from the orphanage in obtaining custody of the child also receive assistance in obtaining the child's Moroccan passport.
Apply for the Child's Immigrant Visa
After you have obtained the certificate of abandonment, the kefala custody of the child, the permission for the child to immigrate to the United States, and the child's Moroccan passport, you may make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca for an Immigrant Visa interview. Please note that you must have an I-600A or I-600 approved by USCIS on file at the Consulate in order to make an Immigrant Visa interview. Please contact the Immigration Visa Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details regarding the documents required to obtain an Immigrant Visa for the child.
The U.S. Embassy in Rabat does not perform consular services.
Bring Your Child Home Once you have obtained the IR-4 Immigrant Visa for your child, you may travel to the United States where you will need to start the procedure to adopt the child in your home state. Once you enter the U.S. on the IR-4 visa, the child will automatically become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and a legal permanent resident card (green card) will be mailed to you. Once you have adopted the child in the United States, you will need to petition USCIS for a Certificate of Citizenship. It may be advisable to engage the services of an adoption attorney before you travel to Morocco to ensure that you have all required documents to adopt once you return to the United States.
Child Citizenship Act
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 (as is the for all orphans issued IR-4 visas), 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 with a minimum of six-months validity is required for prospective adoptive parents to enter and leave Morocco. No visa is required. 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.
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 Morocco, registration assists the U.S. Consulate General in reaching you. Registration is free and can be done online.
- After Adoption
What does Morocco require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Morocco has no post-adoption requirements.
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.
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
- Contact Information
U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca, Morocco
Address: 8, Boulevard Moulay Youssef
Embassy of Morocco in the United States of America
Address: 1601 21 st Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
*Morocco also has a consulate located in New York City at the following address:
10 East 40th Street,
New York, NY 10016
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov or Adoption USCA@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)