Inter-country adoption

Intercountry adoption Australia

The Australian Government created Intercountry Adoption Australia to help guide people wanting to adopt a child from overseas.

Intercountry Adoption Australia is a national service and central point of contact for people at all stages of the intercountry adoption process. For people already in the process, or considering applying to adopt a child from overseas, the service will connect them to a variety of resources and services.

More information about the service can be found at the website Intercountry Adoption Australia or by calling the information line on 1800 197 760, open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, across Australia.

General information

Only Australian citizens can be issued an Australian passport. So, before you apply for your child's passport, ensure you can provide evidence of the child's Australian citizenship. Information on obtaining citizenship for children adopted overseas can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website.

See Applying for a child passport for general information on children's passport applications. This applies to children adopted through intercountry adoption.

Each child passport application must be supported by original documents to prove the child's identity and citizenship. Consent must be given by all persons with parental responsibility for the child. Two identical photos of the child must be provided. One of these must be endorsed by a guarantor.

The first time you apply for a passport for a child adopted through intercountry adoption, you will need to provide documentary evidence of the adoption (adoption compliance certificate, adoption order or equivalent). For subsequent passport applications, you will not need to provide this documentation again, as long as your child's personal details (name, sex, date and place of birth) remain the same and there are no changes in who has parental responsibility for your child.

Depending on the circumstances of the adoption, you may find it difficult to obtain the documents required to support the child's passport application. This summary table (pdf) includes alternative documents that can be accepted if necessary.

Any foreign language documents presented to support a passport application must be accompanied by an English translation. If you are unable to obtain a translation from an approved translation service , you may provide a translation by an official from the relevant Australian State or Territory central authority or the foreign adoption agency. Alternatively, you may provide an Information Letter on the relevant Australian State or Territory central authority letterhead that includes the details of the child's name and date of birth and the full names of the adoptive parents.

After lodgment, we may contact you for further information to assist in processing your child's application.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may disclose information provided in or with your child's passport application to any person or organisation that can verify the facts to establish your child's identity and eligibility for an Australian passport.

Identity

You must provide your child's full original birth certificate. If your child has an overseas birth certificate in a foreign language, you must provide a translation by an approved translating service. If you cannot obtain a birth certificate for your child,  the adoption certificate, adoption order or equivalent may be acceptable as evidence of identity.

Consent

Unless there are special circumstances, a child's passport application must include the written consent of each person who has parental responsibility for the child or an Australian court order permitting the child to have an Australian travel document, travel internationally or live or spend time with a person outside Australia.

For children adopted through intercountry adoption, persons with parental responsibility are the adoptive parents listed on the child's birth certificate, adoption compliance certificate, adoption order or equivalent.

If persons with parental responsibility are in different locations at the time the child's passport application is lodged, those who are not lodging may provide written consent through any passport office in Australia, Australia Post or an Australian diplomatic mission or consulate overseas.

If you are unable to provide the written consent of all persons with parental responsibility for your child, you may request that your child's application be considered under special circumstances.

Guarantor

For first time applications, you may not be able to find a guarantor who meets the usual guarantor requirements (has known the child for at least 12 months or, for children under one year, since birth). In this case, you may use a guarantor who has known the child since the date of adoption or since the date of the child's arrival in Australia. Standard guarantor requirements will apply for subsequent applications.

Emergency travel

If you are lodging your child's application overseas with full parental consent and there is a genuine need for the child to travel before a full validity passport can be issued, you may apply for an emergency passport (up to 12 months validity). The emergency passport fee will be charged. You can apply for a full validity passport at the same time as an emergency passport. The normal application fee and overseas surcharge would apply. The full validity passport can be collected from a passport office in Australia (or an Australian mission or consulate) on presentation and cancellation of the emergency passport.

Further information

For more information, contact the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232.

Alternatively, you can call Intercountry Adoption Australia on 1800 197 760 and they will arrange for us to contact you.