Australia is reactivating the India-Australia intercountry adoption program using a careful, staged approach. During the initial stage of the reactivation, two jurisdictions – Queensland and Northern Territory – will be assessing a small number of people and forwarding files of suitable applicants to the Indian adoption authority for consideration and action. For more information visit the Latest News page:

India operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.

Hague Convention information

Consistent with Hague Convention principles, the Indian Government is committed to finding local families for children before considering intercountry adoption placements.

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

Waiting times

Prospective adoptive parents join the waiting list once an application has been accepted in India. This application is valid for two years from the date of registration. After two years, the application needs to be updated to remain current.

Waiting times are difficult to predict and are dependent on processing requirements.

Who can adopt?

Prospective adoptive parents living in Queensland and the Northern Territory can apply to adopt a child from India.

To adopt from India you must first meet the eligibility criteria set by your state or territory central authority, as well as the criteria set by India.

Key India eligibility criteria include:

Marital Status

  • Couples applying to adopt should have been legally married for at least two years (confirmed by their marriage certificate).
  • India does not accept applications from same-sex or de facto couples.
  • Single applicants are permitted to apply:
    • single female can adopt a child of any gender.
    • a single male may apply to adopt a male child.


  • The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents cannot be less than twenty-five years.
  • The age of the prospective adoptive parents determines eligibility to apply to adopt children of particular age groups, as follows:


Age of the child Maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents (couple) on date of registration Maximum age of single prospective adoptive parent on date of registration
Up to 4 years 90 years 45 years
Above 4 and up to 8 years 100 years 50 years
Above 8 and up to 18 years 110 years 55 years

Criminal Record

  • Police check certificates are required as part of the application.


  • Prospective adoptive parents from any religion can apply to adopt.

Citizenship and Nationality

  • Most Australian authorities require that at least one applicant be an Australian citizen.
  • CARA gives preference to prospective adoptive parents who are Indian citizens, and to the following:
    • Non-Resident Indian prospective adoptive parents are given priority referral and treated the same as resident Indians. (A Non-Resident Indian is a person who holds an Indian passport and is habitually resident in another country).
    • Overseas Citizen of India prospective adoptive parents are prioritised after Non-Resident Indians. (An Overseas Citizen of India is a foreign citizen of Indian origin, is registered and holds an Overseas Citizen of India card and is permitted to live and work in India indefinitely.
  • Other Australian prospective adoptive parents are also eligible to apply. CARA refers to these as ‘foreigners’ if they do not have Non-Resident Indian or Overseas Citizen of India status.


Prospective adoptive parents:

  • should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable.
  • should not be suffering from any chronic, contagious or fatal disease or any mental or physical condition which may prevent them from taking appropriate care of an adopted child.

Number of children in the family

  • Only one child may be adopted at a time unless in a sibling group. A subsequent adoption application is permissible only after the first adoption has been finalised.
  • Prospective adoptive parents who already have three or more children will only be considered as prospective adoptive parents for children with special needs, or in the case of relative or step-parent adoption.

Characteristics of children in need of adoption

Special Needs

Children in need of intercountry adoption from India often have special needs. In India’s terminology, children with special needs are those who are mentally ill or physically challenged or both, with a condition that has serious long term residual effects and cannot be corrected.

Children with mild or correctable medical conditions or mild to moderate developmental delays (emotional, physical or social) are not categorised as special needs children.


Children in need of intercountry adoption include:

  • Children aged 2 to 5 years.
  • Sibling groups and children aged 5 years or older.


CARA charges a fixed fee of approximately $5,000 USD. This does not include travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, Australian state and territory government fees or incidentals.


The travel requirements for India can vary based on individual circumstances. This includes where the child is living, exit permit timeframes, whether the judge requires the applicants to be present at the court hearing, and if there are significant travel times involved in travelling to meet the child.

More information on citizenship requirements can be found by visiting Immigration, citizenship and passports or the Department of Home Affairs website.

More information

For more information about India, including the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs India page.