International Adoption: Nigeria


Nigerian adoption laws are complex and the system is not transparent. In general, foreigners who intend to adopt a specific child must first obtain temporary custody of the child (i.e., foster care). Foster care requirements differ from Nigerian state to state, and can be as long as one year before an adoption will be granted. Other states have citizenship or other requirements to adopt. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain more information on adopting in individual states through their Nigerian attorneys or Social Welfare offices for the state where the adoption will take place. The U.S. Consulate in Lagos is not aware of any legally recognized agencies in Nigeria that assist adopting parents, or of any licensed Nigerian adoption agencies. However, there are orphanages, hospitals and other institutions that are relatively more experienced with international adoption. Check with the U.S. Consulate in Lagos for information on these institutions. Adoptive parents should plan on residing in Nigeria for at least a 3-month period.

Document and identity fraud related to adoptions are serious concerns in Nigeria. All adoptions are required to undergo full field investigations in the state where the adoption took place to verify the authenticity of the information provided in the adoption decrees and I-600 petitions.

PATTERNS OF IMMIGRATION OF ADOPTED ORPHANS TO THE U.S.: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans

Fiscal Year       Number of Immigrant Visas Issued 
FY 2003             47 
FY 2002             45 
FY 2001             33 
FY 2000             4 
FY 1999             0 

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