U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
Status of Adoptions from Uganda
February 17, 2010
Contrary to rumors that have been circulating, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala has NOT ceased processing adoption cases, but legal complications in Uganda have arisen that are likely to cause significant delays in the processing of most adoption cases.
On February 2, 2010 The Honorable Lady Justice Margaret C. Oguli Oumo, Family Court Judge, informed the U.S. Embassy in Kampala that legal guardianship orders issued by the High Court of Uganda are issued with the understanding that United States citizens will not adopt Ugandan children in the United States and that the Ugandan children will not change their citizenship.
A key requirement of IR-4 immigrant visa eligibility is that the prospective adoptive parent(s) (PAPs) obtain legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption abroad. Guardianship orders that merely permit the guardians to travel with the child outside of Uganda and do not permit the guardians to fix the abode of the child may not meet the requirements of U.S. immigration law for the purpose of IR-4 visa issuance.
If there is a doubt as to the meaning of a custody order, consular officers must seek clarification from appropriate government authorities. If the consular officer ultimately determines the order to be sufficient to meet the requirements for IR-4 visa issuance, the case can be processed to conclusion. If the consular officer determines the order to be insufficient, the embassy is required to submit the I-600 petition to USCIS for review. (If the I-600 was locally filed it would go to the USCIS office with jurisdiction as not clearly approvable; if it was approved in the United States it would be returned through the National Visa Center to the USCIS office in the United States that originally approved the petition.)
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.