Ghana is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Ghana did not change.
The Department of Social Welfare may consider an application for intercountry adoption as an alternative means of child care, if a child cannot be placed in a foster or adoptive family in Ghana or cannot in any suitable matter be cared for in Ghana. A court may grant an intercountry adoption order if it is in the best interests of the child.
Last Updated: February 2009
WHO CAN ADOPT
To bring an adopted child to United States from Ghana, you must 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, Ghana also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Ghana a minimum of three months prior to adopting a child. The prospective adoptive parents may request a waiver of the residency requirement through the court. The courts will approve a waiver of the residency requirement with the recommendation of the Ministry of Social Welfare if it is in the best interest of the child.
AGE REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be at least 25 years of age and at least 21 years older than the child.
MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: An application for adoption may be made jointly by a husband and wife. Application for adoption may be made by a single person, but only if that person is a citizen of Ghana. Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children in Ghana, nor are single males unless the child to be adopted is their biological child.
INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be gainfully employed.
OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must be of sound mind and must undergo a medical exam as part of the pre-approval process.
WHO CAN BE ADOPTED
Ghana has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Ghana unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.
In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her immediately to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.
HOW TO ADOPT
Ghanian Adoption Authority
The Department of Social Welfare, Client Services Unit
The process for adopting a child from Ghana generally includes the following steps:
Choose an Adoption Service Provider
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
Be Matched with a Child
Adopt the Child in Ghana
Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
Bringing Your Child Home
1.) Choose an Adoption Service Provider:
Prospective adoptive parents will work with a Ghanaian Social Welfare Officer in the region from which they will adopt to be pre-approved for adoption. Prospective adoptive parents must work with an attorney to complete the legal requirements for adoption in Ghana. The GOG does not accredit foreign adoption service providers. The Ministry of Social Welfare is the only agency to provide adoption services.
2.) Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
To bring an adopted child from Ghana to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Ghana as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
Applicants purchase the adoption form from the Director of Social Welfare ad any regional Social Welfare office for 10 Cedis (subject to change but current as of February 2009) and submit the completed form along with the attachments specified in the form to the Director of Social Welfare or his/her representative at the Regional Office for processing.
The processing of the application begins with visits to the applicant’s home by a Social Welfare Officer who interviews the applicants and submits the report to the Placement Committee, the head officer for adoptions in the Department of Social Welfare. The Placement Committee will review the application and determine eligibility. This process can take approximately three months.
3.) Be Matched with a Child:
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Ghana will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
Depending on the availability of children, a suitable child is placed with would-be parents for a trial period of three months, during which time the Social Welfare Officer undertakes monthly visits.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Ghana’s requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn how.
The Director of Social Welfare submits the comprehensive report, which covers the social investigation of the applicants, background checks, mental stability, financial stability, etc. to the High Court. An adoption order may then be granted by the High Court upon recommendations from the Director of Social Welfare. (Note: The adoption is incomplete without the granting of an Adoption Order by the Court.)
4.) Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-country:
The adoption is incomplete without the granting of an Adoption Order by the High Court. The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Ghana generally includes the following:
TIME FRAME: It takes one year to complete an adoption in Ghana. An additional one to six months may be required for the U.S. immigration petition and visa process. USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security in Accra, conducts investigations of all adoption cases in Ghana, which can prolong the process.
In general, the documents required are the same as for an adoption in the United States, including birth, marriage and divorce records, medical examination and clearance, and evidence of financial stability and gainful employment
Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help
5.) Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status:
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Ghana, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must determine whether the child qualifies as an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law. Learn how.
6.) Bring 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 several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
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.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Ghana.
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. U.S. citizens are required to use a valid U.S. passport to enter or depart the United States. 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.
Once the Ghanaian adoption is final, adoptive parents should contact the DHS/USCIS office at the U.S. Embassy in Accra to schedule an appointment via telephone. See contact information below.
Once DHS/USCIS approves the I-600 petition, they will contact adoptive parents directly by telephone, notifying them to contact the consular section to schedule an immigrant visa interview.
Note: The U.S. Embassy cannot issue visas the same day. Visas are normally issued on the Friday of the week the final interview takes place.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire U.S. citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States on an IR-3 or IH-3 immigrant visa.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire U.S. citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
*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.
about the Child Citizenship Act.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States 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. Visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.
To find information about obtaining a visa for Ghana, 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-country, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Registration is free and can be done online.
What does Ghana require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Ghana has no post-adoption requirements.
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.
Here is a good place to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.