Adoption by Australian citizens
Australians living in Australia or overseas are able to adopt children from China by following the applicable process.
The Australian Government cannot provide you with legal advice about the requirements for adoption under Chinese law. You may wish to seek independent legal advice in China regarding adoption practices and in Australia on migration law for adopted children.
Australians resident in Australia
Australians who are resident in Australia can only adopt a child from China through the formal intercountry adoption program in their home state or territory.
The first step when thinking about intercountry adoption is to visit Intercountry Adoption Australia, created by the Australian Government to help guide parents wanting to adopt a child from overseas. Intercountry Adoption Australia can connect you to a variety of resources and services and is a central point of contact for people at all stages of the intercountry adoption process. You can contact Intercountry Adoption Australia by filling in the contact form on their website. Your state or territory government is the main provider of adoption support and advice.
You can find the contact details for the relevant office at Intercountry Adoption Australia. They also provide contact details to privately or personally operated organisations that offer support to adoptees and people who have adopted from overseas.
Australians resident in China
The Australian Government strongly warns Australians against trying to arrange domestic or private adoptions through an overseas country. You should contact the central authority in your state or territory before going ahead with any application to an overseas authority.
Expatriate adoptions occur when an Australian citizen or permanent resident living abroad for 12 months or more adopts a child through an overseas agency or government authority. For these adoptions to be recognised in Australia, you must prove that you were not living overseas to bypass the legal requirements for the entry of your adopted child into Australia, and that you have lawfully acquired full parental rights of the adopted child.
The Department of Home Affairs may not grant a visa to a child who does not meet the requirements set out in the Migration Regulation 1994 (Cth), even if the adoption has already occurred and is lawful in China. As there are risks for both the child and the adoptive parents in this process, before you proceed with an expatriate adoption, it is recommended that you seek independent legal advice both in Australia and in China (or the child\'s country of usual residence).
The overseas authority for adoptions in China is the China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption. Adoption services for foreigners in China are organised through the Bridge of Love Adoption Service.
Bringing adopted children back to Australia
Once you have completed all the required steps with the Chinese Government to finalise the adoption of your child, you can then begin the processes with the Australian Government to return home. While you are in China you may either apply for an adoption visa for your child, or apply for citizenship and an Australian passport for your child. The Department of Home Affairs has further visa and citizenship information for parents adopting a child from outside Australia.
As an Australian citizen, if your child is adopted from China under the intercountry adoption program with the support of an Australian state or territory central adoption authority, you may apply for your child to acquire Australian citizenship overseas. This will allow your child to travel to Australia as an Australian citizen and on an Australian passport.
Only once your child has been granted Australian citizenship can you then apply for his or her Australian passport and Chinese exit permit. This will take more time in China, but means there is nothing further to do to confirm your child’s citizenship once you return to Australia.
General information regarding Citizenship by Adoption applications is available at the Department of Home Affairs website. Your state or territory government adoption service can also assist you with understanding this process.
Adoption Visa (Subclass 102)
An Adoption Visa (Subclass 102) is a permanent residence visa for children from overseas who are adopted outside of Australian by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. If you have adopted your child from China either through an intercountry adoption, an expatriate adoption or any other kind of adoption you may apply for an Adoption Visa. A child who has been granted an Adoption Visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship once they are in Australia.
Average processing times vary and may be delayed if the application does not include all necessary documents. The child must meet the requirements set out in the Migration Regulation 1994 (Cth) to receive an Adoption Visa. If they do not, the child will not be able to enter and reside permanently in Australia, even if the adoption has already occurred.