TanzaniaLast Updated: July 2011
Hague Adoption Convention Country?NO
Alerts & Notices
No Current Alerts or Notices
- Hague Convention Information
Tanzania 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 Tanzania did not change.
In order to adopt a child from Tanzania, prospective adoptive parent(s) must be residents of Tanzania for at least three consecutive years. The Tanzanian Department of Social Welfare considers a person to be resident if that person holds a Resident Permit (Class A, B or C),a Dependent's Pass or an Exemption Permit and lives in Tanzania. This requirement is never waived.
- Who Can Adopt
To bring an adopted child to United States from Tanzania, 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). Who Can Adopt.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Tanzania also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
- RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parent(s) must be residents of Tanzania in order to adopt a Tanzanian orphan. This requirement is waived only in cases where the applicant is a Tanzanian citizen residing abroad. Also, prospective adoptive parents need to continuously have the prospective adoptive child in their care for at least three consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the submission of application. Finally, prospective adoptive parents need to notify the Commissioner for Social Welfare of their intention to apply for an adoption order for the child at least three months before the date of the order.
- AGE REQUIREMENTS: Under Tanzanian law, an applicant, or in the case of a joint application, one of the applicants, must have attained the age of 25 years and must be at least 21 years older than the child to be adopted. If the prospective adoptive parent is a relative of the child, he or she must be at least 25 years of age, but there is no requirement as to minimum age difference between the prospective adoptive parent and the child.
- MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Married couples are permitted to adopt in Tanzania. In case an application is lodged by one of the spouses, the other spouse must consent to the adoption. An adoption order cannot be made to authorize more than one person to adopt a child unless the applicants are husband and wife. A single woman, who is a citizen of Tanzania, may adopt. A male applicant can be granted an adoption order if the application is made in respect of his son, or the court is satisfied that special circumstances warrant the order.
- OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents should not have a criminal record in their country of origin or any other country and should have a recommendation concerning his or her suitability to adopt a child from his country's social welfare officer or other competent authority of his or her permanent country of residence. Social Welfare Department (Tanzania) uses International Social Service (ISS) to conduct its vetting for aspiring adopting parents.
- Who Can Be Adopted
Tanzania has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Tanzania unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.
IN ADDITION TO THESE REQUIREMENTS, A CHILD MUST MEET THE DEFINITION OF ORPHAN UNDER U.S. IMMIGRATION LAW FOR THE CHILD TO IMMIGRATE TO THE UNITED STATES. Find out more about who can be adopted and these U.S. requirements.
The District Social Welfare Officer will work with the Police Department to confirm whether the child has any living relatives. In circumstances where family members are located, formal written consent must be obtained before the child is released for adoption.
In circumstances where no living relatives can be located, the Police Department will issue a Certificate of Abandonment.
- How To Adopt
Tanzania's Adoption Authority
Department of Social Welfare
The process for adopting a child from Tanzania generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child in Tanzania
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The first step in adopting a child 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.
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
Before prospective adoptive parents can apply to adopt a child, they must first apply to the Department of Social Welfare to foster the child for a period of no less than three months. After the foster care period has been successfully completed, an adoption petition can be filed.
Prospective adoptive parents complete the application form and provide their District Social Welfare Officer with the names and contact details of at least three references who have known the prospective adoptive parent for at least three years, and one family reference. The District Social Welfare Officer will interview the references. If prospective adoptive parents cannot provide local references, they must provide references from their home country. The District Social Welfare Officer will coordinate with International Social Services in the home country to interview those references.
Prospective adoptive parents must arrange to complete the home study process. The home study will consist of at least four interviews by the District Social Welfare Officer, including at least one visit to the family's home. The home study will evaluate the prospective adoptive parents' physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as financial and marital (if the parent is married) stability.
In general, to bring an adopted child 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). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Tanzania as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
The District Social Welfare Officer will send the foster care application, home study, and other relevant supporting documents to the Commissioner for Social Welfare for approval.
Be Matched with a Child
When the foster care application has been approved by the Commissioner for Social Welfare, the District Social Welfare Officer will identify children who are eligible for adoption and who meet the criteria of the prospective parents. Both parties will work together to identify a child who is eligible and is best suited for the prospective adoptive family.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Tanzania'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.
Once a child has been identified and accepted by the prospective adoptive parents, the District Social Welfare Officer will place the identified child with the prospective adoptive parents for the foster care period of no less than three months.
After the foster care period, the prospective adoptive parents will meet with the District Social Welfare Officer to discuss whether they wish to adopt a child and whether the Officer intends to approve the prospective adoptive parents' application. Provided that the District Social Welfare Officer approves the adoption, he/she will submit a report and recommendation to the Commissioner.
Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Tanzania
If they have not already done so, prospective adoptive parents should retain a Tanzanian attorney experienced in adoption procedures. The Tanganyika Law Society (The Tanzania Mainland Bar Association) should be able to recommend an attorney or firm. Also, the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam maintains a list of attorneys. Take note that the Adoptions Law does apply to Tanzania Mainland only.
The attorney will assist the prospective adoptive parents in filing a petition to legally adopt their foster child and obtain an order from the High Court. The prospective adoptive parents and attorney should maintain close contact with the Social Welfare Department during this period, as that agency will submit a report to the Court in its capacity as the court-appointed Guardian ad Litem of the child.
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Tanzania generally includes the following:
ROLE OF THE COURT: After the District Social Welfare Officer approves the adoption and the District Social Welfare Officer submits a report and recommendation to the Commissioner of Social Welfare, prospective adoptive parents should retain a Tanzanian attorney experienced in adoption procedures. The Tanganyika Law Society should be able to recommend an attorney or a firm of attorneys to the prospective adoptive parents. Also, the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam maintains a list of attorneys that adoptive parents may consult.
The prospective adoptive parent's attorney will assist them in filing a petition to legally adopt their foster child and obtain a court order from the High Court. Close contact should be maintained with the Social Welfare Department during this period, as that agency will submit a report to the Court in its capacity as the court-appointed Guardian ad Litem of the child.
In addition to the High Court Adoption Order, the prospective adoptive parent's attorney should also assist you in obtaining an Adoption Certificate for the adopted child. This certificate is issued by the Registrar of Insolvency and Trusteeship (RITA). All children will need a valid passport issued by their country of origin.
- ADOPTION APPLICATION: Before prospective adoptive parents can apply to adopt a child, they must first apply to the Department of Social Welfare to physically foster the child for a period of no less than three months. After the foster care period has been successfully completed, an adoption petition can be lodged.
- TIME FRAME: Adoptions may take up to 6 months in Tanzania, depending on the issues of a case.
- ADOPTION FEES: The Government of Tanzania does not charge a fee for adoption.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: No specific documents are required, although it may be prudent to carry documents relating to identity, marital status, family status and financial means. Passports must include valid residency permits.
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
In order to bring an adopted child to the U.S., the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child qualifies as an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law (Form I-600).
Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption 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:
You will first need to apply for a certificate of adoption for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the certificate of adoption.
Applications for birth certificates are filed with Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) at:
Notice of Intention to take the adopted child outside Tanzania
The adoptive parent must notify the Commissioner for Social Welfare in writing when the adopted child is to be taken out of the country after an adoption order has been made by the court. This notice must be communicated to the Commissioner no less than ninety (90) days before the departure of the adoptive parent/s and adopted child from Tanzania. The commissioner, if satisfied with the notice of intention to travel with the adopted child, will issue a letter allowing the adopting parents to process travel documents and any other immigration processes. Failure to notify the Commissioner is an offence which can, upon conviction, lead to a fine and/or imprisonment of up to two years.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Tanzania. All children will need a valid passport issued by their country of origin.
The Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs' Immigration Services issues all passports. For more information contact the Office of Immigration at:
Director of Immigration Services
DAR ES SALAAM
Tel No: +255 - 22 - 2118637
+255 - 22 - 2118640
+255 - 22 - 2118643
Fax: +255 - 22 - 2112174
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain a new birth certificate and Tanzanian passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam for your child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. After the adoption is granted, PAP(s) should visit the U.S. Embassy any Monday afternoon to schedule an immigrant visa interview. The Consular Section will schedule the child for the next available appointment, usually within two working days. The child must be present at the Embassy for the immigrant visa interview. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child. Learn more.
On June 5, 2008, the U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam's panel physicians began using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening for all immigrant visa applicants from Tanzania, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website for further information regarding the 2007 Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians.
Parents should not make final, non-refundable travel plans to depart Tanzania until they have their child's immigrant visa in hand.
The U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam will conduct the investigation and complete an I-604 only if the child appears in person at the Embassy. Children that have been taken to the United States or other countries, and adopted there, must return to Tanzania in order for the I-604 to be completed.
After the Visa is Issued:
Adoptive parents will need to arrange for a visa for their Tanzanian citizen child to transit Europe or South Africa on the way to the United States. South Africa and all major European countries have embassies in Dar es Salaam which can process transit visa applications.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire U.S. citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States on an IR-3 immigrant visa for the purpose of legal permanent residence
For adoptions finalized in the United States : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child who entered the U.S. on an IR-4 immigrant visa to acquire U.S. 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. Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
- Traveling Abroad
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required to use a valid U.S. passport to enter or depart the United States. 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 Tanzania, 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 Tanzania, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
- After Adoption
What does Tanzania require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
There are no post-adoption requirements for adoption in Tanzania.
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 Tanzania
Embassy of the United States of America
686 Old Bagamoyo Road
Msasani, P.O. Box 9123
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Tanzania's Adoption Authority
Department of Social Welfare
4 th Floor NSSF Building
Corner of Morogoro and Bibi Mohamed Roads
P.O. Box 1949
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel: (+255) 2135572
Embassy of Tanzania
Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania
1232 22nd Street NW, Washington D.C 20037
Telephone: (202)884-1080, (202)939-6125/7
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)