U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso
Avenue John F. Kennedy
Secteur 6, Koulouba
01 BP 35, Ouagadougou 01
Tel: (226) 50-30-67-23
Fax: (226) 50-30-77-75

Burkina Faso’s Adoption Authority
Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale
La Direction des Placements et des Adoptions
Immeuble Baoghin, Secteur 10
01 BP 515, Ouagadougou 01
Burkina Faso
Tel: (226) 50 30 68 80 (Switchboard)
Fax: (226) 50 31 67 37

Embassy of Burkina Faso
2340 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 332-5577/6895
Fax: (202) 667-1882


Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW SA-29
Washington, DC 20520
Tel:  1-888-407-4747


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

(TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Burkina Faso Flag
Burkina Faso

Map of Burkina Faso


Burkina Faso is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Therefore all adoptions between Burkina Faso and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention. 

PLEASE NOTE: It could take twelve to eighteen months to complete an adoption process in Burkina Faso.  Also, special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.  Learn more.



Adoption between the United States and Burkina Faso is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention.  Therefore to adopt from Burkina Faso, you must first 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).  Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Burkina Faso also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements: With the Hague Convention now implemented, American citizens residing in the United States can apply to adopt a child from Burkina Faso.
  • Age Requirements: Each prospective adoptive parent must be at least 15 years older than the prospective adoptee, unless the prospective adoptee is the biological child of one of the spouses, in which case the age difference between the child and the other spouse must be at least 10 years.
  • Marriage Requirements: Married, cohabiting couples who have been married for at least five years may adopt a child.  Single applicants are almost never permitted to adopt children in Burkina Faso.
    Note: Married prospective adoptive parents without children of their own are given priority.
  • Other Requirments: The authorities must be convinced that an adoption will not generate a material profit for anyone involved in the adoption (except service providers such as lawyers).

Because Burkina Faso is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Burkina Faso must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption.  For example, the Convention requires that Burkina Faso attempt to place a child with a family in Burkina Faso before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.  In addition to Burkina Faso’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States. 

In Burkina Faso, children identified for adoption are mostly from one of the following categories: orphans whose parents are unknown or have died, children with mentally ill mothers, abandoned children, and children who were born of incestuous or adulterous relationships.


  • ·         Relinquishment/Abandonment Requirements: If the child’s biological parents are known, there must be a consent act, a family council report or a declaration of abandonment.


  • ·         Age Requirements: Under local law, children can be adopted at any time up to age 18.  If the adoptive child is aged 15 or above, however, he/she must give his/her personal consent before the adoption can take place.


Important Note:  U.S. citizens considering adopting a Burkinabe child aged 16 or older should contact the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou prior to initiating the adoption process, as U.S. law requires a child to be under the age of sixteen to qualify for a U.S. immigrant visa.


Burkina Faso’s Adoption Authority
The office of Placements and Adoptions at the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Solidarity (La Direction de la Protection de l’Enfant et de L’Adolescent, Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale)

The Process

Because Burkina Faso is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Burkina Faso must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.   A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below.  You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE:  If you filed your I-600a with Burkina Faso before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption.  Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions.  Learn more.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child (or gain legal custody) in Burkina Faso
  6. Bringing your Child Home

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:  

The first step in adopting a child from Burkina Faso is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited.   Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Burkina Faso.  Learn more.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, and specifically its Placements and Adoptions office, provides adoption services in Burkina Faso.  In addition, adoptive parents may find it helpful to hire an attorney suggested by the aforementioned office to assist them with the adoption process.  The U.S. Embassy also has a list of attorneys, which is available on our website at

2.  Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:  

After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).   Learn how.   

Once the U.S. government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Burkina Faso.  Burkina Faso’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Burkinabe law. 

3.  Be Matched with a Child: 

If both the United States and Burkina Faso determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Burkina Faso may provide you with a referral for a child.  Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.   

Burkinabe law does not permit prospective adoptive parents to choose or identify a specific child they would like to adopt.  Social Service Agencies throughout Burkina Faso are authorized to conduct social and psychological studies on children to certify that they are eligible for adoption. Lists of these children are forwarded to the Placements and Adoptions Office.

When branches of the Ministry of Social Affairs have adoptable children, that are placed in local orphanages, in day nurseries or in host families, they send the appropriate files to the Office of Placements and adoptions which is in charge of verifying the “adoptability” of the child (social study report, deadline, child birth certificate, child health) and then matches a child to a family that best corresponds.

The following criteria are taken into account:

  • ·         The age of the prospective parents compared to the child’s (making sure that the age difference is not excessive)
  • ·         Gender of the child as requested by the prospective parents
  • ·         The order in which files were received (they operate on a first come first served basis)
  • ·         The clauses of their proposal.

As soon as a family is identified, a letter proposing a child is sent to the prospective parents by the Director of the Office of Placements and adoptions.  Prospective parents must wait for this official letter, which goes through the accredited Agencies. This is the article 16 Report.

After reading the report on the child’s history and health condition, prospective parents must respond to the Ministry of Social Affairs on whether or not they want to proceed with the adoption.

4.  Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption: 

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800).  USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.   Learn how

After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy.  The Consular Officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities.  If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Burkina Faso’s adoption authority (Article 5 letter).  For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

Remember:  The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process. 

5.  Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Burkina Faso:

Remember:  Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Burkina Faso, you must have completed the above four steps.  Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Burkina Faso. 

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Burkina Faso generally includes the following:

  • Role of The Adoption Authority: The office of Placements and Adoptions at the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Solidarity (La Direction de la Protection de l’Enfant et de L’Adolescent, Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale) receives and examines all adoption applications and identifies adoptable children.

    When the prospective parents agree to adopt the child that is proposed to them, the Office of Placements and Adoptions then drafts an agreement to pursue the procedure together with the child’s birth certificate and home study. If the child’s biological parents are known, there must be a consent act, a family council report or a declaration of abandonment.  The agreement to pursue the adoption procedure is given to the local representative of the accredited agency.

    This exchange of agreement to pursue the procedure must be completed before the adoption court hearing.  Unless this condition is respected, the adoption cannot be recognized by the authorities of Burkina Faso.

    At the end of the procedure, the adoptive family must travel to Burkina Faso to get the child. The adoptive parents must remain in the country for at least 10 to 15 business days to finalize the adoption process.
  • Role of the Court: After committing themselves to adopt the child, the prospective parents hire a lawyer in Burkina Faso to follow the procedure in court. The Office of Placements and Adoptions forwards the completed adoption file to the tribunal where the child resides or to the main tribunal in Ouagadougou.

    When the file is received by the tribunal, they contact a notary to establish an act of adoption. This act of adoption is first sent to the institution that is responsible for the welfare of the child to initial and sign the act before it is forwarded to the Office of Placement and adoption for a final signature.  There is a three month waiting period after the signature of the act before the court announces the final adoption.

    The lawyer then gets a copy of the judgment to request the issuance of a new birth certificate and a new passport for the child. In Burkina Faso, birth certificates are issued by the local mayor’s office (the “Mairie”).  Passports are issued by the Ministry of Security’s “Division du Contrôle des Migrations” upon presentation of the child’s birth certificate with name changes and the adoption decree.  The passport costs about $65.

    Copies of the judgment and the certificate of non appeal are sent to the Office of Placement and Adoptions for the issuance of the certificate of conformity and the authorization to leave the country. The certificate of non appeal is delivered 1 month after the final court decision.

    Unless all the conditions are met, the office of placement and adoptions is unable to issue the certificate of conformity and the authorization to leave the country.  These documents can only be given to the adoptive parents when they get to Burkina Faso.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: Accredited Adoption Agencies may have fully accredited representatives in Burkina Faso who act on behalf of prospective adoptive parents.
  • Time Frame: It takes about twelve months from the time the prospective parents submit their initial application until the child is identified and custody is given to the adoptive family.  It takes six months or more for the case to be finalized in court.  Finalization includes the final adoption decree, the issuance of child’s new birth certificate, the issuance of the “Certificat de Conformité” and the authorization for the child to leave the country.

    Generally, the child is placed in the adoptive parents’ care as soon as s/he is identified, and lives with them until the final court hearing. In the absence of those parents (for Americans who reside in the U.S. and are adopting in Burkina Faso) the child is placed in a host family or in an orphanage. The court hearing is usually just a formality, as the government Social Service Agency has already vetted the parents.

    Adoption cases may take longer when not properly followed up with the court. The Placements and Adoptions Office suggests that adoptive parents hire a lawyer, especially when cases fall under the jurisdiction of the civil court in Ouagadougou.  The Placements and Adoptions office maintains a list of local lawyers who can be consulted.  In small cities, prospective adoptive parents might not need to hire a lawyer.
  •  Adoption Application: Prospective adoptive parents should understand that there are two kinds of adoption available in Burkina Faso, and for U.S. immigration purposes, the “full” adoption option is the only one that can confer immigrant status to an adopted child. An “open” adoption—one which gives a biological parent the right to revoke the adoption at any time—does not meet the requirements established by U.S. immigration law for issuing visas to adopted orphans.

    There are two ways to submit adoption applications in Burkina Faso: 
  1. Through accredited Adoption Agencies who have a fully accredited representative in Burkina Faso to act on their behalf.
  2. Apply directly to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Infant and Adolescent Welfare office.  Applications are evaluated with respect to the following factors:
      • The family’s ability to financially support the child;
      • The family’s way of life;
      • The findings of a social and psychological report on the prospective adoptive parents;
      • The family’s motivations and their attitude towards adoption; 
      • The marital status, age and state of health of the adoptive parents;
      • The point of view and welfare of children already members of the adoptive family;
      • The size of the family (applications from families with more than two children may not be given priority)
  • Adoption Fees:  In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.  

    The U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso 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 Burkina Faso at risk.

    The following adoption fees are covered by the adoptive parents:
  • Fees for home study conducted on the child: 20 000 F (about 50 USD)
  • Medical exam (Tests that are compulsory include hepatitis A and B, HIV, blood and sickle cells detection): 40 000 (about 100 USD)
  • Food allowance: 60 000 (about 120 USD) per month. This amount is payable from the time the adoptive family commits themselves to adopting the child.

In the event of a serious illness, the adoptive parents may be asked to bear the cost of hospitalization and or the transportation of the child.

Adoptive parents must also cover the expenses of lawyers’ and notary services.

  • Documents Required: Only certified copies of these documents are acceptable to the Burkinabe authorities
    • Two motivation letters stamped with 200 fcfa revenue stamps (available at the local mayor’s office), one addressed to the Chief Judge of the court in Ouagadougou and the other to the Ministry of Social Affairs, explaining in detail the motivation for adopting, and specifying the profile of the child they would like to adopt.
    • A marriage certificate for the couple showing that they have been married for more than 5 years;
    • A copy of the family book (official record of spouse, children) when/if available;
    • Proof of residence;
    • Proof of income;
    • Birth certificate for each prospective parent
    • An authorization to adopt (agreement) issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs
    • Medical documents certifying that both prospective adoptive parents are physically and psychologically health;
    • A home study report done by a Social Services agency of the adoptive parents habitual residence;
    • A commitment to send a report twice a year during the two first years of adoption and then once a year until the child reaches the age of 18;
    • Police certificates for both prospective parents;
    • A copy of the first two pages of both prospective parents’ passports.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.  If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.  Learn how. 

6.  Bringing 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 three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport.  Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. 


The lawyer will get a copy of the judgment to request the issuance of a new birth certificate. In Burkina Faso, birth certificates are issued by the local mayor’s office (the “Mairie”). 


Burkinabe Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Burkina Faso. 


The lawyer will get a copy of the judgment to request the issuance of a new passport for the child. Passports are issued by the Ministry of Security’s “Division du Contrôle des Migrations” upon presentation of the child’s birth certificate with name changes and the adoption decree.  The passport costs about $65.


U.S. Immigrant Visa 
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.  Learn more.     

Adoptive parents will need to submit the following documents during their visa interview:

  •  Approved I-800 A form;
  •  Approved provisional I-800 form;
  • Completed form DS 230 part I and II;
  • The child’s original birth certificate showing the child’s new name and the adoptive parents’ names;
  • A full and final adoption decree from a competent court in Burkina Faso;
  • Certificate of conformity and the authorization to leave the country issued by the Office of Placements and Adoptions;
  • Proof of “orphan” status consistent with U.S. law (see the following Immigration and Nationality Act section linked here:  INA 101(b)(1)(F)), which may as appropriate include: death certificates of the orphan’s parent(s), proof that the orphan’s sole or surviving parent cannot give the orphan proper care and has, in writing, forever or irrevocably released the orphan for emigration and adoption, or proof that the orphan has been unconditionally abandoned to an orphanage;
  • Medical exam results from panel physician;
  • Proof that application fees have been paid;
  •  A valid Burkina Faso passport for the child in the child’s adopted name;
  • Two full-faced passport size pictures in a white background.

Additional information on processing immigrant visas at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou is available at  Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to e-mail any questions they may have regarding this process to

Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.  Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad:  The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 


For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree.  We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.


*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. 

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act. 


Statisitcs about adoption from Burkina Faso


Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Burkina Faso. 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 Burkina Faso, 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 Burkina Faso, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.


What does Burkina Faso require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

When the adoption procedure is completed and the child joins the adoptive family, a periodic follow-up on the integration of the child in the family must be done by the competent social services of the child place of residence.

The office of placements and adoptions at the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Solidarity must hear about the child twice a year during the first 2 years of the child’s life with the adoptive family and once a year up to the child’s 18th birthday.

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Burkina Faso and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

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. 

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Congrats on starting your apodtion process!! That is so exciting!! My oldest is now 12, so I will give you a few things I wish I has known along the way Newborns: Lack of sleep wrecks you in ways never thought possible! But it does end and is worth every minute of it.Toddlers: The terrible 2 s are a myth. 3 is when the terribles start.1st grade is when you get attitude, the rest is just funpre teen drama- bite your tongue and remember you were once 12 and thought you knew EVERYTHING as well.I also wish I knew how much drama and stress technology (txting, fb, etc) cause.Enjoy it. Even the hard times aren't so bad. Just remember to laugh.