Adopting a child from Colombia

Who can adopt?

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

Please note: There continues to be delays processing applications from foreign prospective adoptive parents. In addition, non-Colombian citizens may only adopt children with special needs or groups of siblings.

Children you can adopt from Colombia

The following children are in need of intercountry adoption:

  • children over the age of 10
  • children with special needs
  • sibling groups

Colombia defines special needs as:

  • sibling group of 3 or more
  • sibling group of 2, where the oldest is aged over 10
  • children aged over 10 without disability or illness
  • children with mental or physical disabilities of any age
  • children with a permanent disease such as:
    • HIV
    • cardiac
    • renal

Many of these children live in institutions. They may have experienced social, emotional and psychological deprivation.

There is a hold on new applications for children aged 0 to 6 years (including sibling groups of 2). This hold doesn’t apply to:

  • children with special needs
  • children aged over 6 years
  • sibling groups of 3 or more children
  • sibling groups of 2, where the oldest is aged over 6
  • Colombian families resident overseas
  • families who have already adopted from Colombia and want to adopt a biological sibling of their adopted child

Specific eligibility criteria to adopt from Colombia

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


  • you can be married
  • you can be a same sex or de facto couple who have lived together for more than 2 years
  • you can be a single male or female to adopt an older child


  • you must be older than 25 and at least 15 years older than your adopted child. Colombia’s preferred age ranges are:
Applicants Single child Sibling group
25 to 45 years 0 to 4 years and 11 months Oldest sibling up to 6 years and 11 months
46 to 50 years 5 to 9 years and 11 months Oldest sibling 7 to 9 years and 11 months
50 years and over 10 years and older Youngest sibling 10 years
  • if you or your partner are in different age categories above one of you can’t be more than 45 years older than your adopted child
  • if you’re applying for a sibling group, the 45-year age gap is calculated using the oldest partner’s age and the youngest child. Your age is calculated from when Colombia accepts your file
  • if you’re adopting a sibling group of 2 children, the age limits are increased by 2 years


  • you need to be in good mental and physical health and will need a psychological evaluation
  • if either you or your partner has a serious disability, health issue or a short life expectancy that may affect the child-parent relationship you won’t be eligible
  • if you or your partner has drug or alcohol dependency issues you won’t be eligible

Your citizenship

  • at least one of you must be an Australian citizen

Language skills

  • if you have basic Spanish language skills you will have higher priority

Criminal record

  • you must provide a criminal record check
  • you’re ineligible if you have been convicted of any of the following offences:
    • crimes against freedom
    • integrity or sexual crimes
    • crimes relating to prostitution or child pornography, child neglect, domestic violence
    • any previous criminal history that may pose a threat to a child

Waiting times

Waiting times are difficult to estimate as there are more applications than children in need of intercountry adoption, especially for children aged under 6. As a result, you can only apply to adopt a child aged under 6 if you or your partner are of Colombian descent, as there is a current hold on new applications.

Cost of adopting a child from Colombia

Colombia doesn’t charge processing or administrative however there are other expenses, such as:

  • translation fees
  • travel and accommodation costs
  • incidentals

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 Colombia

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 6 and 8 weeks to ensure that the adoption and immigration processes are finalised.

After the adoption

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

You will need to complete 4 post-placement reports for Colombia as follows:

  • first report 3 months after the adoption is finalised
  • the remaining 3 reports every 6 months

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 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 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

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

The central authority in Colombia is the Instituto Colombiano Bienestar Familiar (ICBF).

More information