Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for immigration), you need a birth certificate and a Ghanaian passport for your child before you can file an immigrant visa petition and then apply for an immigrant visa to bring your child to the U.S. Please note that Ghanaian law requires that adoptive parents fulfill a three-month residency requirement before the final adoption is approved. After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child from the Ghanaian authorities, you can file Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with USCIS (see www.uscis.gov/i-600 for details).
If the petition is approved by USCIS, it is then time to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Accra. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.
Immigrant visa interviews for adopted children are available by appointment every Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 am. Once you have been informed by USCIS that the U.S. Embassy in Accra has received your approved I-600 petition, please send an email to AccraAdoption@state.gov to request an adoption packet which gives detailed instructions on how to apply for the visa, including details on the required documentation.
Please note, as part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
Adoptive parents should be aware that an I-604 Investigation (Determination on Child for Adoption, sometimes referred to as “orphan investigation”) must be completed in connection with every I-600 application. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this investigation can be completed in short order or it may take up to several weeks or even months to complete. Since no advance assurances can be given that a visa will be issued, we strongly advise adoptive parents NOT to make any final travel arrangements for their adoptive child until after a visa has been issued.
Please be aware that there is no way to predict how long it may take to adjudicate and issue a visa since some cases take longer to process than others. Barring medical emergency, the U.S. Embassy does not have the resources to issue visas the same day, however we do endeavor to issue approved visas the same week of the interview. Embassy Accra distributes immigrant visas, including orphan visas, on Friday mornings.
We encourage all prospective adoptive parents to review recent updates at www.travel.state.gov and www.adoption.state.gov on the adoptions process in Ghana, particularly in regard to possible processing times and procedures.
For additional information, you may contact us by e-mail by writing to AccraAdoption@state.gov.
(updated January 2013)