Adoption Update

The most up-to-date adoption news


PATTERNS OF IMMIGRATION OF ADOPTED CHILDREN TO THE UNITED STATES:  Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics indicate that twelve immigrant visas were issued to Rwandan orphans in the last five fiscal years.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Adoptive parents must be under age 50.  However, a judge can waive the age requirement.  Prospective parents currently must send the required documents (listed below) to the Ministry of Gender and Family for initial approval before commencing the adoption process in Rwanda .

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There are no residency requirements for foreign adoptive parents.

TIME FRAME: Allow at least 6 months to complete the Rwandan adoption and subsequent U.S. immigration procedures.  

ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS:  The Ministry of Family and Gender has previously refused to work with attorneys in the adoption process.

No American adoption agencies are currently officially registered by the Government of Rwanda; only one, the Gladney Center , has informal approval from the Ministry of Family and Gender.

Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services.  For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the licensing authority in the U.S. state where the agency is located or licensed.  Please also see Important Notice Regarding Adoption Agents and Facilitators at the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web site

ADOPTION FEES IN RWANDA : There are no Rwandan government fees associated with intercountry adoptions. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay attorneys’ fees for services rendered.

The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, “donations,” or “expediting” fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents.  Such fees have the appearance of “buying” a baby and put all future adoptions in Rwanda at risk.

ADOPTION PROCEDURES IN RWANDA : After receiving an advance approval to adopt (I-600A) from the Department of Homeland Security in their district in the U.S. , prospective adoptive parents must petition the local Rwandan court having jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive child’s residence. Once the adoption is approved, the adoption decree is filed at the local vital records registry for the child’s place of residence.

Documents are filed with the Ministry of Family and Gender.  A travel letter from that office is required for the child to exit Rwanda . Documents from the Government of Rwanda are in French.  Prospective adoptive parents will need English translations of the birth certificates and death certificates (if applicable) of the adopted child’s birth parents to complete immigrant visa processing in Nairobi . The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda can assist in locating translation services, but no U.S. Government resources are available for translating documents.  Adoptive parents should file their I-600 forms at the US Embassy in Kigali upon completing the adoption and prior to traveling to the US Embassy in Nairobi for the immigrant visa.


  1. Birth certificate(s) of the adoptive parent(s). If a birth certificate is unavailable, a legal or administrative certificate that proves date of birth and identity may be submitted;
  2. Original birth certificate of the child to be adopted;
  3. Marriage Certificate of adoptive parents
  4. Waiver of age limit certificate, if applicable (for adoptive parents over the age of 50);
  5. The “Act of Adoption,” which is prepared by the local Bureau de l’Etat Civil (Vital Statistics Office);
  6. Declaration of the adoptive parent’s spouse and adult children consenting to the adoption;
  7. The Adoption Act. The act must reference the information on the birth and death certificates, whichever are applicable, as well as the identities/documents of the adopting persons (passports and International Adoptive Home Study);
  8. Authorization letter for departing Rwanda (issued by the Ministry of Family and Gender)
  9. Legal Judgment Document (a court order approving the adoption), which is prepared by the local court having jurisdiction where the child is located.
  10. Recommendation from Rwandan Embassy in Washington, DC
  11. Home Study Report
  12. Certificate of Good Behavior / Police Record
  13. Certificate of Complete Identification
  14. Household Composition
  15. Proof of Income
  16. Adoption acceptance letter from US Department of State (because Rwanda has not ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, available from US Embassy Consular Office)

Note: Documents should be certified by a notary public as well as by the Rwandan Embassy in the U.S. , if possible.

AUTHENTICATING DOCUMENTS TO BE USED ABROAD:  For more information on authenticating U.S. documents to be used abroad, please see the Judicial Assistance section of our website.

(All information taken from the US Department of State website

1 Comment »

  1. I would like to know if there has been any movement on implementing the Hague Convention in Kigali Rwanda? It has been 2 1/2 years already since inter country adoption has been suspended.

    Comment by Sonya Major-Piercey | February 3, 2013 | Reply

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