Sri Lanka operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
Hague convention information
The Convention requires Sri Lanka to attempt to place a child with a family in Sri Lanka before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.
The central authority in Sri Lanka is the Department of Probation and Child Care Services (DPCCS).
Characteristics of children in need of adoption
Sri Lankan children in need of intercountry adoption are generally less than three years old.
The central authority allows people in the process of adopting to express a preference about the gender of the child. However, as families within Sri Lanka generally prefer girls, there are mostly boys in need of intercountry adoption.
A high number of Sri Lankan children in the intercountry adoption system have minor or correctable special needs (e.g. cleft palate, sight impairments), are older children (aged 4 to 14 years), or have a family history of mental health issues.
The current waiting time is approximately two years from the time the applicant’s file is accepted by Sri Lanka. However, waiting times have been increasing. You should be prepared for the possibility of a long wait.
The Sri Lankan central authority only places a small number of children for intercountry adoption each year, and aims to allocate children equally to countries with which they have arrangements. As demand for domestic adoption remains strong, intercountry adoptions from Sri Lanka are likely to remain low. In 2014-15 there was one adoption from Sri Lanka to Australia.
Who can adopt?
To adopt from Sri Lanka 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, Sri Lanka has the following requirements:
- Applicants must be married (no length stipulated).
- Single applicants and same sex couples are not eligible for this program.
- Both prospective adoptive parents must be over the age of 25 and not less than 21 years older than the prospective adoptive child.
- At least one applicant must be an Australian citizen.
- Applicants with Sri Lankan background or dual citizenship are given priority.
- People without a Sri Lankan background are encouraged to apply.
- Preference is given to infertile couples who provide substantiating medical reports.
- No requirement.
- No requirement.
Number of children in family
- Applicants with up to two children may apply but preference is given to couples with no children.
- There is no specific income requirement, but the financial position of the prospective adoptive family is part of the criteria considered by the DPCCS.
- A criminal record check must be provided.
- A clear fingerprint record is also required.
The estimated Sri Lankan adoption fees and costs range between USD$2000 and USD$2500. This does not include travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals.
Both parents are required to travel to Sri Lanka to accept placement of their child. Children from the family are welcome and encouraged to accompany their parents.
Applicants must be prepared to travel to Sri Lanka immediately after a placement proposal is accepted.
Applicants are required to stay in Sri Lanka for up to six weeks to complete the Sri Lankan adoption and immigration formalities.
Finalisation and post-adoption
Adoptions are completed and finalised in Sri Lanka, and are automatically recognised on entry to Australia.
The Sri Lankan central authority requires a number of post-placement reports following the adoption. The relevant state or territory central authority prepares these reports.
These reports must be notarised and legalised by DFAT, and then authenticated (by the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra) before being sent to the Sri Lankan central authority.
The costs associated with notarising, legalising, authenticating and couriering the post placement reports and other necessary documentation are not insignificant. Your local central authority will be able to provide you with more information on these costs.
Applicants must also fulfil any post placement reporting requirements in their home state or territory.
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, in Sri Lanka, after the Adoption Compliance Certificate has been issued by DPCCS. Applications for citizenship generally take 10 working days to process. Your child will then be eligible to apply for an Australian passport for travel to Australia with you.
Alternatively, your child may travel to Australia on an Adoption Visa (subclass 102). You should apply on behalf of your child for citizenship for children adopted under full Hague Convention arrangements after arrival in Australia.