Adopting a child from India

Who can adopt?

Who can adopt? Who can’t adopt?
Married couples Same sex couples
Single people De facto couples

Please note: You can only adopt from India if you live in Queensland or the Northern Territory.

If you are interested in the program but live outside of Queensland or the Northern Territory, you can subscribe to Intercountry Adoption Australia mailing list to receive updates on the India-Australia program and other intercountry adoption programs.

Children you can adopt from India

Children needing intercountry adoption are:

  • children aged between 2 and 5
  • sibling groups and children aged 5 years or older
  • children with special needs

India defines special needs as:

  • mentally ill
  • physically challenged
  • children with a condition that has long-term effects and can’t be corrected

Children with mild or correctable medical conditions or mild to moderate developmental delays (emotional, physical or social) aren’t considered special needs.

Only 1 child can be adopted at a time, unless part of a sibling group.

Specific eligibility criteria to adopt from India

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


  • you need to have been married for at least 2 years
  • you can’t be a de facto or same sex couple
  • if you’re a single female you can adopt a child of any gender
  • if you’re a single male you can only adopt a male child


Both you and your partner (or if you’re single) need to:

    • have a minimum age gap of 25 years between yourselves and your child
    • be no older than 45 to adopt a child up to 4 years of age
  • be no older than 50 to adopt a child aged between 4 and 8 years
  • be no older than 55 to adopt a child aged between 8 and 18 years


  • you need to be physically, mentally and emotionally stable
  • you can’t suffer from any chronic, contagious or fatal disease or any mental or physical condition that will prevent you from caring for a child

Your citizenship

  • most STCAs advise one of you must be an Australian citizen
  • India gives preference to Indian citizens and the following:
    • non-resident Indians
    • overseas citizen of India (a foreign citizen of Indian origin who holds an overseas citizen of India card)

Number of children in your family

  • if you already have 3 or more children you will only be considered for children with special needs, or if adopting as a relative or step-parent

Criminal record

  • you need to supply your criminal record check

Waiting times

Waiting times are difficult to estimate due to processing requirements. Your application is valid for 2 years from acceptance in India. After 2 years, you will need to update your application to keep it current.

Cost of adopting a child from India

The estimated fee is US$5,000.

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 India

Travel times vary depending on the location of the child, exit permit timeframes and if a judge needs to be present at the court hearing.

After the adoption

You will need to complete post-placement reports for 2 years as follows:

  • quarterly reports for the first year after the child’s arrival in Australia
  • half-yearly reports during the second year of the child’s arrival in Australia

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 will need to apply for ‘citizenship by conferral’, as soon as possible.

Hague Convention information

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

The central authority in India is Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).

More information