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ExPats Adoption

Immigration Requirements for Children Adopted Overseas

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is responsible for issues relating to immigration, visas and citizenship in Australia.  DIAC cannot help with adoption arrangements as its role is to assess and determine applications for visas in accordance with the requirements of the Migration Regulations 1994.

Children adopted through the States and Territories under Australia's intercountry adoption arrangements will usually enter Australia under the Adoption (Subclass 102) visa category.  For a child adopted by Australian residents to be eligible for this type of visa they must meet a number of requirements, including that the adoption has the approval of a State or Territory welfare authority.

Further information is available on the DIAC website. The following DIAC fact sheet provides an overview of the immigration requirements that apply for the entry of children adopted from overseas:

Australian Citizenship

The way in which an adopted child becomes an Australian citizen depends on the adoption process.

Information on citizenship for adopted children is included in the following fact sheets:

Further information on Australian citizenship is available by phoning the Citizenship Inquiry Line on 131 880.  

Private Adoption
(Ricky Brisson comment - this would apply for Ex Pats)

Private adoption arrangements are illegal in most States and Territories.  State and Territory authorities do not support privately arranged adoptions.

DIAC will refuse a child an entry visa unless the adoption arrangement meets migration requirements even if the adoption has already occurred and is lawful in the overseas country. 

The only circumstance where a visa may be granted to a child adopted privately overseas is where the adoptive parents have been living overseas for more than 12 months at the time of the migration application. They must show that:

  • their residence overseas was not contrived to deliberately bypass any requirements concerning the entry of adopted children into Australia
  • they have lawfully acquired full and permanent parental rights by the child's adoption.  This means that the adoption order must sever the legal relationship between the child and his or her biological parents, and
  • the relevant authorities in the overseas country have approved the child's departure to Australia.

The child also needs to meet the standard migration requirements, including health criteria.

Fact Sheet 36 – Adopting a child from overseas

Please visit the Attorney General site for additional information - Click here

Guardianship of Children

Children who enter Australia holding an Adoption visa where the overseas adoption is to be finalised in Australia, or where the overseas adoption is not recognised under Australian law, are officially under the guardianship of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. The roles and responsibilities associated with this guardianship are delegated to State and Territory welfare authorities. 

For information about Guardianship of Children, please see the following DIAC fact sheet:

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