If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and want to adopt a child from another country, you will have to get them an Adoption Visa.
The Adoption Visa for Australia (Subclass 102) is a permanent visa, part of the Australian Family and Relative Visa types.
It is subject to a set of conditions, the main one being that you have to follow the requirements set by Intercountry Adoption Australia, which also includes limitations on specific countries where you can adopt from.
Eligibility for the Adoption Visa Australia
To get an Australian Adoption Visa, the child must be younger than 18 years, from one of Australia’s adoption partner countries, and the adoption process must fall in one of the following categories:
- The child must have been adopted or be in the process of being adopted through intercountry adoption or arrangement. An Australian state authority or territorial central authority must be involved in the adoption process. See the state and territory central authorities here.
- The child must have been adopted or be in the process of being adopted through the involvement of two countries (that are not Australia) that are part of the Hague Adoption Convention.
It is the relevant state and territory central authority (STCA) that will advise prospective adoptee parents, accept adoption applications, and assess your eligibility to adopt internationally.
Note: There may be different rules if you adopt a child through an expatriate adoption process, wherein no Australian state or territorial central authority is involved.
How to Apply for an Adoption Visa in Australia?
You have to apply for an Adoption Visa from within Australia, on behalf of your adopted child. Your child must be outside Australia at the time of visa application. The step-by-step application process is as follows:
- Collect the required documents for an Adoption Visa. See the Document Checklist below.
- Complete Form 47CH (Application for migration to Australia by a child) and Form 40CH (Sponsorship for a child to migrate to Australia).
- Attach the forms to the rest of the application documents.
- Pay the visa application fee. Attach evidence of payment to the application documents as well.
- Send the documents by prepaid postage or by courier to the Child and Other Family Processing Centre in Perth. You must not submit the application in person.
- Wait for the visa to be processed.
Where to Mail the Adoption Visa Application?
You have to mail the completed application to the Child and Other Family Processing Centre of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. The exact address is stated on the application forms (47CH and 40CH), and it changes depending on whether you submit the application by post or courier.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Australian Adoption Visa?
Most Australian Adoption Visas are processed within 16 months. Some can take up to 25 months as well. If you have not submitted your application correctly or if it is difficult for the Department of Home Affairs to confirm the information you gave, the processing time may be extended.
You must not make any arrangements for the child to travel to Australia until they receive the visa.
How Much Does it Cost?
The cost of an Adoption Visa for Australia is:
- AUD 2,665 for the main applicant (your adopted child).
- AUD 1,330 for an adult dependent of your adopted child.
- AUD 670 for a child dependent of your adopted child.
See how you can pay an Australian visa fee for on paper applications. Remember that the Department of Home Affairs will not start to process your application if you have not paid the fee.
Adoption Visa Australia: Document Checklist
The documents you have to submit for the Adoption Visa application are:
- Copies of the child’s passport pages. The pages must show the child’s picture, personal details, and the passport’s expiry date.
- The child’s national identity card.
- Proof of the child’s name change (if applicable).
- Four recent pictures of the child. Australian visa pictures must be 45mm x 35mm, with a white or light background, and taken within the last six months.
- The child’s adoption papers or certificate.
- If an Australian state or territory central authority finds you suited to adopt, submit:
- Proof that the child can leave their country to be adopted in Australia; or
- Proof that the child can leave their country in your custody.
- Letter of support from an Australian state or territory central adoption authority. Submit this only if they were involved in the adoption process.
- If you adopted your child through an expatriate adoption process, submit:
- Proof that you or your partner have lived outside Australia for more than 12 months, immediately before submitting the application.
- Proof that you have not been living outside Australia so that you can evade Australia’s intercountry adoption laws.
- Proof that you have full legal rights over the child.
- Proof that the child was adopted following the adoption laws of the relevant country.
- If the adopted child is over the age of 16:
- If your adopted child has dependents of their own:
- Identity documents of the dependent.
- Travel documents of the dependent.
- Proof of relationship between the adopted child and dependent.
- Proof that you have paid the visa processing fee.
- For on-paper applications, all Australian visa documents have to be certified and translated into English.
- You must keep a copy of the application documents for yourself.
- Send the documents via pre-paid postage or a courier.
- Do not include more than one copy of each document.
An expatriate adoption process means that no Australian state or territory central authority is involved in the adoption process, and the Australian Government has no role. If you have adopted a child this way, you can apply for an Adoption Visa only if:
- You are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
- You have been living outside Australia for more than 12 months immediately preceding the visa application.
- There is no suspicion by the Australian authorities that you have adopted privately in an effort to avoid Australia’s adoption laws.
- You have full and permanent parental rights to your adopted child. There can be legal ties between the child and the birth parents.
- The adoption follows the adoption laws of the child’s home country.
Remember that expatriate or private adoptions may not always meet the requirements for an Adoption Visa (102). You should seek legal advice since the process could be more complicated and drawn out.
Australia’s Adoption Partner Countries
The countries with which Australia has an intercountry adoption arrangement are:
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
Therefore, to adopt a child and bring them to Australia to live with you, you have to meet the eligibility criteria of Australia as well as the partner country. Each of the partner countries has its own adoption requirements, which include:
- Who can and cannot adopt a child.
- Which children are eligible for intercountry adoption.
- The adoption waiting period.
- The costs involved with the adoption.
- The post-adoption arrangements and finalizing steps.
- The immigration arrangements.
- Whether they are part of the Hague Convention or not.
Who Can Sponsor an Adopted Child?
In addition to the adoption requirements, you (the parent) must also be eligible to adopt a child. The requirements for sponsors for Australian Adoption Visas are:
- You must agree to be responsible for any costs incurred by the child to the Australian Government.
- You must have proper accommodation and financial means to support the child’s iving needs – at least for the first two years living in Australia.
- You must agree to help the child adequately settle in Australia.
- You must sign the child up for any required English language classes.
Benefits of the Australian Adoption Visa
If your child gets an Adoption Visa, they will immediately become permanent residents of Australia, which means they can:
- Live with you in Australia indefinitely.
- Work and study as they wish.
- Enroll under public healthcare.
- Travel in and out of the country as many times as they wish for five years. After five years, they may get a Resident Return Visa (RRV) or apply for citizenship, if they want travel rights.
- Apply for Australian citizenship after four years of continuous residence.
Can the Adopted Child Become an Australian Citizen?
Yes, a child adopted in Australia can become an Australian citizen, usually after four years of living as a permanent resident.
If the child is adopted under the Hague Adoption Convention or a recognized bilateral arrangement they may be eligible for Australian citizenship immediately, in which case they will not need to apply for an Adoption Visa at all.