Applying for intercountry relative adoption

As a starting point, you should contact the relevant authority in the country where your relative child lives and request they conduct an assessment of the child for adoption. In the case of intercountry relative adoptions, your state or territory central authority will not do this for you.

The overseas authority must determine whether the child is legally able to be adopted and whether intercountry relative adoption is in the child’s best interests. If so, the overseas authority will provide a report on the child’s circumstances and request that the child be adopted by their relatives. The overseas authority will send this request to your state or territory central authority.

Your state or territory central authority will determine if the request complies with the standards and principles of the Hague Convention (with assistance from the Australian Central Authority where necessary), whether the adoption would be in accordance with state or territory law and whether the proposed adoption is likely to be progressed before the child reaches 18 years of age. In some states and territories, relative child adoptions are only facilitated in limited circumstances and where all other available options have been investigated.

If an adoption placement is being considered for the child, your state or territory central authority will assess your eligibility and suitability to adopt the child. If you are assessed as eligible and suitable, the assessment report is sent to the overseas authority.

If the adoption placement is judged to be in the child’s best interests, the overseas authority and your state or territory central authority will agree to facilitate the adoption.

For more information about intercountry relative adoption, contact the central authority in your state or territory by email, telephone or via their website.

Immigration requirements

Australia’s adoption visa requirements are in place to protect the best interests of the child. An adoption visa will only be granted if specific immigration laws are satisfied, and the adoption has occurred through the appropriate channels.

If an intercountry relative adoption is not arranged through the relevant state or territory central authority, there is significant risk that the child will not meet Australian immigration requirements and will not be able to enter Australia.

Other options for bringing a relative child to Australia

The Australian Government provides a variety of different pathways for people to come to Australia either temporarily or permanently. The Visa Finder can help find the Australian visa most likely to meet your specific circumstances. The Visa Finder is available on the Department of Home Affairs website. More information about visas for children is available in Booklet 2, Child Migration, which is also on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Further advice about child migration can be sought from a registered migration agent. A list of registered migration agents is available from the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority website.

An Australian family may also be able to care for a child from overseas through guardianship or permanent care arrangements. Australian government agencies cannot provide individual advice on these types of arrangements, and suggest families considering this option obtain independent legal advice.