Types of adoptions
There are three types of overseas adoptions: intercountry adoptions, expatriate adoptions and private adoptions.
- Intercountry adoptions are a government-endorsed process under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption, which terminates the pre-existing legal relationship between the child and his or her birth parent(s).
- The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) is responsible for managing the intercountry adoption program and Australian State and Territory Adoption Authorities are responsible for processing individual adoption applications. Refer to the AGD website for a list of countries participating in the intercountry adoption program.
- When an intercountry adoption is finalised in Australia (via a court order) an Australian RBDM will issue the child a birth certificate showing the adoptive parents as the parents.
- When an intercountry adoption is finalised overseas (where Australia recognises the adoption by law in the foreign country) an Australian RBDM will generally not issue a birth certificate to the child.
- Expatriate adoptions occur when an Australian living overseas adopts a child from the country in which he/she is a resident or from a third country. Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Adoption Authorities are not involved with expatriate adoptions. The adoption is administered and finalised through the legal processes in the country where the adoption took place.
- DIAC will issue a citizenship certificate to children of an expatriate adoption.
Overseas private adoptions
- Australian State and Territory Adoption Authorities do not support private overseas adoptions and these adoptions may not be finalised under Australian law or in the country of adoption.
- DIAC will refuse a child an entry visa unless the adoption meets migration requirements.
Adopted children born in Mainland China
- The Family Law (Bilateral Agreements – Intercountry Adoption) Regulations 1998 states that child adoptions from certain countries are officially recognised in Australia when the adoption is legally finalised in the country of origin. China is currently the only country to recognised under this regulation, not including the Special Aadministrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
- An adoption compliance certificate issued by the adoption authority, however described, is considered to be the equivalent of an Australian court order and therefore the consent of the natural parents named on the birth certificate is not required under section 11(1) (a) of the Australian Passports Act 2005. Consent must be obtained from all persons named as parents on the Chinese adoption certificate.
Applications for adopted children born overseas
- For first time passport applications, applicants should present:
- their Australian citizenship certificate
- overseas birth certificate
- an ‘Information Letter’ provided on State or Territory central authority letterhead including details of the child’s name, birth date and parents’ full names (if available)
- evidence of parental responsibility (for example, an adoption compliance certificate, adoption registration certificate; birth Notarial certificate and adoptions Notarial certificate)
- an official translation of overseas adoption documentation from the relevant Central Authority (foreign adoption agency) or NAATI or an Australian diplomatic or consular post/DIAC approved translation service.