Friday, October 16, 2009

Ethiopia Adoption Notice
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

Adoption Processing at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa

October 15, 2009

Taking into consideration recent allegations of misconduct in intercountry adoptions in Ethiopia the Department of State would like to remind adoptive parents that before an immigrant visa may be issued to an adopted child, a U.S. consular officer must ensure that the adoption is legal under Ethiopian law and that the child is qualified under U.S. immigration law to immigrate to the United States.

The Department of State reminds adoptive parents that consular officers are required by law to conduct an orphan investigation (I-604) to verify the child's orphan status prior to the issuance of an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa. Depending on the circumstances of a case, this investigation may take up to several months to complete. Adoptive parents should therefore carefully consider whether to file their Form I-600 Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative at the USCIS district office closest to their place of residence in the U.S. or at Embassy Addis Ababa, and are urged to work with their adoption service provider to confirm the status of their case before traveling to Ethiopia.

Prospective adoptive parents and their adoption service providers should also be aware that on March 23, 2009 the U.S. Embassy began implementing the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for screening and treating tuberculosis for all immigrant visa applicants, including adopted children. Children who are found to have active TB will be required to submit to six months of Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) provided at the clinic of IOM in Addis Ababa, or obtain a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), after review by the CDC, in order to travel to the U.S. An addendum to this new procedure was implemented on October 1, 2009 for all children under 10 years of age. You may obtain full information on the addendum by clicking on the following link: For the vast majority of children, implementation of these new requirements will cause no significant delay in the processing of their cases.

Furthermore, children determined to have a Class A medical condition, such as HIV (as diagnosed by the Embassy’s designated panel physician), will be required to have an approved waiver from the DHS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before an immigrant visa can be issued.

All prospective adoptive parents are strongly urged to work with an adoption service provider instead of arranging a direct adoption through an orphanage or family member. The Embassy's Adoptions Unit can be reached at

Please continue to monitor for updated information as it becomes available.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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