Thailand operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
Hague Convention information
The Convention requires Thailand to attempt to place a child with a family in Thailand before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.
The central authority in Thailand is the Child Adoption Centre in the Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW).
Characteristics of children in need of adoption
Most of the Thai children in need of intercountry adoption are between 12 months and seven years of age. Younger children are generally placed with younger applicants. Thailand allows applicants to nominate a gender, but more boys than girls are being placed through intercountry adoption. The Thailand Central Authority also facilitates intercountry adoption for children with special needs.
The Thailand Central Authority has advised that children with special needs include sibling groups, children over four years of age, children with health or behavioural problems, children born to parents with mental illness and children born through incest.
Special needs sibling groups must have at least one child within the sibling group above four years of age. The Thailand Central Authority has confirmed there is no upper limit on the age of the children.
More information on the adoption process for children with special needs is available from your state or territory central authority.
Who can adopt?
To adopt from Thailand you must first be found eligible to adopt according to the eligibility requirements for your state or territory central authority.
In addition to these Australian requirements, Thailand has the following requirements:
- Only married couples and single female applicants are eligible to adopt from Thailand. Applicants must have been married for at least one year and the couple should have been living together for a few years. Single female applicants will only be considered for children with special needs.
- Applicants in a same-sex relationship are ineligible.
- Minimum age for both applicants is 25 years.
- Applicants aged 45 and older are likely to be placed with a child above four years of age. Emphasis is placed on age of the female applicant, with some flexibility if one parent is significantly younger. Such applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- At least one applicant must be an Australian citizen.
- Applicants must provide evidence (for example, a one-page letter from a psychiatrist or psychologist) that they are of suitable mental health to parent a child.
- Infertility is not a requirement. If infertility exists, substantiating reports are required.
- No requirement
- No requirement
Number of children in family
- Priority is given to childless couples.
- Placement of a second child to a family is usually slower.
- Couples with two adopted or biological children are unlikely to be matched with a subsequent child.
- Thailand continues to give priority to childless couples over families with two or more children (which Thailand considers to be a complete family).
- Thailand has a formal policy of seeking prior approval from the Thai Adoption Board in order to consider an adoption application from a family with two or more children. Such applications will be determined by the Board on a case-by-case basis.
- No requirement
- A criminal record check must be provided. Details of any criminal convictions must be furnished to the Thai Child Adoption Board for decision as to acceptability.
The Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW) in Thailand allocates Australia with a quota of adoption applications each year. The quota allocated for 2016 is 20 applications. Please contact the central authority in your state or territory to discuss the individual quota for your state or territory.
DSDW advises the number of approved applications in Thailand currently exceeds the number of children in need of intercountry adoption. The waiting time remains approximately three years from the time Thailand accepts the application, but some families may wait longer. Families should be prepared for the possibility of a long wait.
The estimated Thai adoption fees and costs are AUD$1000. This does not include travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, translation costs, or Australian government fees or incidentals.
A fee of THB2000 is also payable to the Child Adoption Centre social worker when you are in Thailand to collect your child. The fee covers the cost of the child’s Thai passport, birth certificate translation and the transportation to collect these documents.
Where the child being adopted is from a foster home outside of Bangkok, parents are expected to cover the cost of transport to bring the child to Bangkok.
For more information on associated adoption costs, consult your relevant state or territory central authority and the Child Adoption Centre social worker.
Both members of the couple are required to travel to Thailand to accept placement of their child. Applicants must appear before the Thai Adoption Board as part of the adoption process. The Board has a strong preference for applicants to travel to the home where the child resides.
At least two weeks is needed to complete the Thai adoption and immigration formalities. Arrival in Thailand should be at least five days before meeting with the Thai Adoption Board.
Finalisation and post-adoption
Adoptions from Thailand are currently completed one of two ways:
- an application to a state or territory court to convert the Thai simple adoption order to a full adoption, or
- a new full and final adoption order can be issued by an Australian state or territory court.
Thailand also requires the adoption to be registered through the Thai Embassy in Canberra.
Thailand requires post-placement reports following the adoption. You will be encouraged to send brief information and photos about your child’s progress to the Thailand central authority, even after the reporting period has concluded.
Every three to four years the Thai Department of Social Development and Welfare hosts the Nativeland Visit in Thailand. Participants come from around the world and it is an excellent opportunity for adoptees to return to their country of birth with their families. Your state or territory central authority can provide more information.
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
Although Thailand has ratified the Hague Convention, children adopted from Thailand are unable to apply for Australian citizenship in-country. They must travel to Australia on an Adoption Visa (Subclass 102).
If the adoption is converted to a full adoption, parents should apply for ‘citizenship by conferral’ for their child using Form 1290 on entry to Australia. If the incorrect form is used, your application will be refused and your application fee will not be refunded.
If a new adoption order is issued by an Australian state or territory court, the child will automatically acquire Australian citizenship. An application for Australian citizenship is not required, but parents may apply for evidence of Australian citizenship using Form 119.
For more information about Thailand, including the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs ‘Thailand’ page.