South Africa

South Africa operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.

The Australian Government announced the opening of the South Africa-Australia Intercountry Adoption Program on 5 May 2014.

Hague Convention information

South Africa acceded to the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption in August 2003. It entered into force in December 2003. South Africa’s amendments to the Children’s Act 2005 fully implement the Convention and commenced in 2010.

The Convention requires South Africa to attempt to place a child with a family in South Africa before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.

The central authority in South Africa is the South African Central Authority (SACA). Australia works with Cape Town Child Welfare (CTCW), an accredited child protection organisation for intercountry adoption in South Africa.

Waiting times

CTCW has advised that it will initially accept five files from Australia. Applicants approved to send files will need to be assessed as suitable to care for children with the types of complex medical and health conditions typical of many South African children in need of intercountry adoption. Replacement files will be able to be sent as appropriate.

Information on waiting times will become available as this new arrangement evolves.

Who can adopt?

CTCW will consider the child’s needs and best interests when deciding whether an applicant should be matched with the child.

To adopt from South Africa you must first be found eligible to adopt according to your state or territory’s eligibility requirements for intercountry adoption.


  • Applicants including same sex partners, can be married, in a de facto relationship, or single.


  • Applicants must be over the age of 18 years. Preference may be given to applicants who are 45 years or less (for couples, where one applicant is 45 years or less).
  • Older applicants may apply, but could experience longer waiting times.

Additional information

  • Applicants should be able to handle the transracial, transcultural and transnational aspects of an intercountry adoption.

Characteristics of children in need of adoption

South Africa has a strong commitment to finding families within its borders to care for children who cannot stay with their birth families. SACA advises that children in need of intercountry adoption are those who have not been placed domestically. Each year, about 200 South African children are placed around the world through intercountry adoption.

CTCW has advised that South African children in need of intercountry adoption include both boys and girls aged up to six years, who have complex medical and health conditions.

Examples of the complex medical and health conditions South African children are likely to have are:

  • HIV+ children
  • children born to HIV+ mothers
  • children with developmental delay.


CTCW has advised that adoption fees will be a flat rate of R35000 (approximately AUD$3000 as at April 2016).

Fees may vary if the child is from a different province from where CTCW operates. This does not include fees paid to state and territory central authorities, travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals.

Finalisation and post-adoption and Immigration and citizenship

Information regarding finalisation, post adoption, immigration and citizenship will become available as this new program evolves.

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

Please note that biometric information will be required for this program as part of the adoption visa 102 application.

More information

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