Adoption Information: Ghana

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) went into effect in Ghana on January 1, 2017. After reviewing Ghana’s implementing legislation and meeting with the Central Authority in Ghana, the U.S Department of State determined that the United States is able to partner with Ghana as a Convention country and begin processing Hague adoptions. As of March 3, 2017, we are now accepting:

If you started the intercountry adoption process before January 1, 2017, by filing a Form I-600A or a Form I-600 or obtaining a final adoption of a child in Ghana, you may be able to continue using the non-Hague process (known as the Orphan process) to process your intercountry adoption with USCIS. We refer to cases in this scenario as transition cases. If your case is not eligible to proceed as a transition case, you will need to use the Hague process.

Please note that Ghana’s Central Authority has indicated that the Births and Deaths Registry in Accra may not provide a new birth certificate that corresponds with a child’s adopted name unless the case has a clearance letter from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, indicating the Ministry’s assent to a particular adoption. While U.S. adoption processing procedures do not currently require this letter in order to approve a Form I-600 or issue an immigrant visa, adoptive families and adoption service providers (ASPs) may wish to consider contacting the Ministry before beginning the adoption process to obtain the most updated information about the specific steps in the intercountry adoption process in Ghana.

We continue to work closely with the government of Ghana to understand how cases that are changed to the Hague process will be processed. We will share additional information about this process as it becomes available.

Determining Which Adoption Process to Use

The information in the chart below explains whether your case may proceed as a transition case under the Orphan process or whether you must use the Hague process.

Your USCIS Filing Status

What Process Do I Use?

and

You may proceed under the Orphan process.  

Adoptive families and ASPs may wish to contact Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to obtain the most updated information about specific steps in the intercountry adoption process in Ghana before accepting or proceeding with a match for a specific child.

You may also choose to change your case to the Hague process. See the instructions below under Changing an Orphan Process Case to the Hague Process.

  • You filed Form I-600 before January 1, 2017, which identifies the child you intend to adopt, and USCIS approves this Form I‑600.

You may proceed under the Orphan process.

Adoptive families and ASPs may wish to contact Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to obtain the most updated information about specific steps in the intercountry adoption process in Ghana before accepting or proceeding with a match for a specific child.

You may also choose to change your case to the Hague process. See the instructions below under Changing an Orphan Process Case to the Hague Process.

  • You completed a final adoption of a child from Ghana before January 1, 2017.

You may use the Orphan process since the Hague Adoption Convention was not yet in force between the United States and Ghana at the time you completed the adoption.

  • You obtained only legal custody or guardianship of a child in Ghana before January 1, 2017

but

  • You did NOT complete the adoption or file a Form I-600A or a Form I-600 before January 1, 2017.

You must use the Hague process.

  • You filed Form I-600A before January 1, 2017,

but

  • Your Form I-600A approval expired before you filed a Form I-600 for a specific child.

You will need to begin the Hague process to continue the intercountry adoption process.

  • You did NOT complete a final adoption of a child from Ghana;

or

  • You did NOT file a Form I-600A or Form I‑600 before January 1, 2017.

You must use the Hague process.

Changing an Orphan Process Case to the Hague Process

If you need to change from the Orphan process to the Hague process, you must first file Form I‑800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country and include:

  • The appropriate filing fee;
  • A home study specifying the designated Hague country (such as Ghana) where you intend to adopt; and
  • All other documentation required in the Form I-800A instructions.

You may not simply request a transfer of your Form I-600A approval to initiate a Hague adoption with USCIS. If you choose to pursue a Hague adoption, you must submit a Form I‑800A because there are Hague-specific requirements that must be evaluated.  

Additional Information

  • Change in adoption service providers: If you have a transition case, you may change ASPs before completing the adoption process. Changing ASPs will not impact the transition status of your case for USCIS purposes. 
  • Extensions: We will continue to grant one-time extensions of Form I-600A approvals to prospective adoptive parents who continue to demonstrate that they are suitable and eligible to adopt.
  • Changing the number of children you plan to adopt: In general, you may request to amend a valid Form I-600A approval to increase the number of children you are approved to adopt. However, because Ghana is now a Hague Adoption Convention country, you may only adopt children from Ghana up to the number of children reflected on the approval notice for a Form I-600A filed before January 1, 2017. Therefore, if you receive an amended Form I-600A approval notice after January 1, 2017, that increases the number of children you are approved to adopt, the additional child(ren) must be adopted from non-Convention countries.
  • Filing a second Form I-600A: You cannot file a second Form I-600A to extend your case approval in order to continue using the Orphan process. However, you may still file a one-time, no-fee extension of the original Form I-600A approval, as explained above.
  • Filing a Form I-130 for your adopted child: The Hague Adoption Convention may impact whether we can approve a Form I-130 petition that you filed for an adopted child who is habitually resident in a Hague Adoption Convention country. See our website (PDF, 99 KB) for more information.

Contact Information

  • If you filed Forms I-600A, I-600, I-800A or I-800 with the USCIS National Benefits Center, you may contact the Adoption Unit directly for more information about your specific case at 877-424-8374, TTY (800) 877-8339 or by email at nbc.adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov.
  • If you filed Forms I-600A or I-600 with a USCIS international office, please contact that office directly by phone or mail. Contact information for USCIS international offices can be found at uscis.gov/international.

Please visit uscis.gov/adoption and adoption.state.gov for the most up-to-date information on the intercountry adoption process in Ghana.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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