Chile operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
Hague Convention information
The Convention requires Chile to attempt to place a child with a family in Chile before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. Chilean adoption law gives priority to Chilean families over non-Chilean families.
The central authority in Chile is SENAME (Servicio Nacional de Menores).
The current waiting time is about three years from the time your file is accepted by Chile. However, you should be prepared for the possibility of a longer wait.
Who can adopt?
To adopt from Chile you must first be found eligible to adopt according to your State or Territory’s eligibility requirements for intercountry adoption.
In addition to these Australian requirements, Chile has the following requirements:
- Married couples between the ages of 25 and 60 can adopt from Chile. Couples must have been married for two years (unless they are infertile).
- Applicants in a same-sex relationship are ineligible.
- Both members of the couple must be at least 20 years older than the child being adopted.
- At least one member of the couple must be an Australian citizen.
- Couples must be in good health, both physically and mentally.
- A basic level of Spanish language proficiency is expected as most children in need of adoption are over five years old. Couples are expected to be able to communicate with children in Spanish at their first meeting.
Characteristics of children in need of adoption
Most of the children in Chile in need of intercountry adoption are sibling groups and children aged between five and 10 years, with an average age of seven years and six months.
Most of these children are living in institutions and will have experienced social, emotional and psychological deprivation.
SENAME does not charge processing or administrative fees. However, families will incur other expenses, such as:
- translation fees
- travel and accommodation costs
- immigration fees
- Australian government fees
Orphanage donations are prohibited.
Both members of the couple are required to travel to Chile to accept placement of their child. Children from the family are welcome and encouraged to accompany their parents.
Families should plan to stay in the country between 40 and 60 days to ensure there is enough time to complete the adoption and immigration formalities. Families may be required to remain in Chile for longer if delays in the process occur.
Finalisation and post-adoption
Adoptions are completed and finalised in Chile, and are automatically recognised on entry to Australia.
SENAME requires post-placement reports following the adoption. Parents must fulfil any post-placement reporting requirements in their state or territory.
SENAME requests a report every semester during the first two years after the placement, and one report per year during the third and fourth years. This requirement applies to families that have adopted from Chile since 24 July 2015. SENAME has highlighted the importance of this process in guaranteeing the proper adjustment of a child to their new family and social environment given the increasingly complex profile of children being adopted.
The Australian government is working to improve post-adoption support for newly formed families. For more information, visit Post adoption and support.
Immigration and citizenship
Children are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship, from Chile, after the Adoption Compliance Certificate has been issued by SENAME. Applications for citizenship should take 10 days to process. Your child or children will then be eligible to apply for an Australian passport for travel to Australia with your family. Adopted children will be required to depart Chile on their Chilean passport, and enter Australia on their Australian passport.
Alternatively, your child or children may travel to Australia on an Adoption Visa (subclass 102). You should apply for ‘citizenship by conferral’ for your child on entry to Australia.