Adoptions by Australians who are outside Australia

Expatriate adoptions are privately arranged overseas adoptions which are undertaken by Australians living outside Australia. These adoptions occur through the overseas country’s domestic processes and are finalised in that country. The Australian government does not issue letters of no objection in relation to private adoptions by expatriate Australians. The Department's involvement in expatriate adoptions is limited to determining whether or not the child meets immigration requirements in order to enter and remain in Australia.

Children adopted outside Australia by expatriate Australians can apply from outside Australia for an Adoption visa (subclass 102) after the adoption has been finalised. This is a permanent visa which provides an adopted child with permission to live in Australia.

To be granted a subclass 102 visa, the applicant will need to apply and satisfy the criteria, including the following:

  • The child has been adopted overseas by the holder of an Australian permanent visa, an Australian citizen, or an eligible New Zealand citizen who has been living outside Australia for more than 12 months before the visa application is lodged.
  • The adoption complies with the laws of the child’s country of usual residence and has been finalised in that country.
  • The adoptive parent has lawfully acquired full and permanent parental rights.
  • The child’s adoptive parent and their partner (if any) meet character requirements.
  • The child meets health and public interest criteria for entry to Australia.
  • Either all relevant persons or a competent authority of the overseas country that has legal rights to determine where the child should live have approved the departure of the child to Australia.
  • The Minister is satisfied that the residence overseas by the adoptive parent was not contrived to circumvent the requirements for entry to Australia of children for adoption.

Further information is available:
Adoption of children from outside Australia.

Australia’s Intercountry Adoption Programmes

Australia has a number of intercountry adoption programmes with countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect to Intercountry Adoption or that have a bilateral arrangement with Australia. For intercountry adoptions, Australia’s state and territory central adoption authorities are responsible for the assessment of the suitability of parents who are resident in Australia to adopt.