Adopting a child from Chile

Who can adopt?

Who can adopt? Who can’t adopt?
Married couples Same sex couples
Basic level of Spanish language skills needed De facto couples
Single people

Please note: only a small number of adoptions have been finalised from Chile

Children you can adopt from Chile

Children in need of intercountry adoption are 8 to 10 years old. They have a history of abandonment, exposure to serious harm, abuse and neglect from their early years. These factors, combined with prolonged institutionalisation, can result in emotional dysregulation and a disruption to the bonding and attachment process with their caregivers. Specialist therapeutic care may be required as an ongoing support.

Children younger than 8 years of age who are in need of intercountry adoption typically have health difficulties, developmental delays or form part of a sibling group of 2 or 3 children, with the oldest sibling usually aged 8 years or more.

Specific eligibility criteria to adopt from Chile

If you’re interested in adopting a child from Chile, you need to meet the eligibility criteria of your state or territory central authority. You will also need to meet the following Chilean criteria:


  • you need to be married (for at least 2 years) and aged under 60
  • you can’t be a same sex or de facto couple
  • you can’t be single


  • you must be aged between 25 and 60
  • you must be at least 20 years older than the child


  • you must both be in good health

Your citizenship

  • at least one of you must be an Australian citizen

Language skills

  • you both need a basic level of Spanish, as you will need to be able to communicate with your child in their language

Waiting times

The current waiting time is up to 3 years from when Chile accepts your file. But longer waiting times are not unusual.

Cost of adopting a child from Chile

Chile doesn’t charge processing or administrative fees.

You aren’t allowed to donate to Chilean orphanages.

Other fees

On top of state and territory central authority fees, there are other expenses such as:

  • translation fees
  • travel and accommodation costs
  • incidentals

Travel to Chile

You will need to travel once to meet your child. If you already have children, they are encouraged to travel with you.

You should plan to stay between 40 and 60 days to ensure that the adoption and immigration processes are finalised. You may need to stay longer if there is a delay in the process.

There is an in-country service provider available to help you navigate your way through the required processes in Chile.  Your state or territory central authority will provide you with these details at the relevant phase of your application.

After the adoption

All adoptions completed in Chile are recognised when coming back to Australia.

You will need to complete post-placement reports for Chile as follows:

  • every 6 months for the first 2 years
  • once a year for the third and fourth years

These reports are important to ensure your child is settling in to your family and their new social environment.

You may also need to complete post-placement reports for your state or territory central authority.

Immigration and citizenship for your child

Once you have the adoption compliance certificate, your child is eligible to apply for Australian citizenship. You can then apply for an Australian passport, so they can travel back to Australia with you.

Your child will need to leave Chile using their Chilean passport and enter Australia using their Australian passport.

Your child could also travel to Australia on adoption visa (subclass 102). When you enter Australia, you need to apply for ‘citizenship by conferral’, as soon as possible.

Hague Convention information

Chile will attempt to place a child within a family in Chile before deciding if a child can be placed for intercountry adoption.

The central authority in Chile is SENAME Mejor Niñez.

More information