Documentation for Military Families
August 14, 2012

The US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently released the following statement regarding families with a parent serving in the military. Families with one or both parents serving in the military should evaluate the information below to determine what steps they should take to ensure their child can be enrolled in military insurance programs. Please contact your family coordinator if you have any questions.

Announcement: We have heard from several military families that they have had trouble enrolling their newly adopted children in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and other military insurance programs because of questions about the authenticity of the children’s Ethiopian birth certificates. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa can authenticate any birth certificate that carries the seal of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your authenticated document will have an attached cover sheet bearing the seal of the Department of State and the signature of a consular officer, and should therefore be acceptable to any federal or state agency in the U.S. There is a $50 charge per document for the authentication service, payable in dollars or Ethiopian birr. If you pay for the service at the time of your visa interview the authenticated documents will be prepared for pickup at the same time as your child’s visa.

Every military family should review paragraph 7.1.3 of this document (pasted below) and decide if it applies to them. If so, they should proceed with the authentication (Also note that a Google search indicates that this policy appears to apply to adoption from all foreign countries).

7.1.3. Adoption documentation from all  other foreign nations must have an accompanying original Certificate of Authentication by a U.S. Consular Officer in the foreign country of issuance which attests to the genuineness of the signature and seal, or the position, of the foreign official who executed, issued, or certified the foreign document(s) being presented to substantiate the dependency relationship to the sponsor.  Sponsors should be advised that information on how to request issuance of Certificate(s) of Authentication from a U.S. Consular official may be addressed by phone or email to the appropriate U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or Diplomatic Mission. In this regard, websites of all worldwide embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions are at http://www.usembassy.gov/.

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