The need for parenting is as sublime as other natural needs. This post will provide details for foreigners currently residing in Vietnam and wishing to adopt a Vietnamese child. Through this post, you will have an overview on how things will go on and what steps you will need to take.
Vietnamese law, like other countries, allows foreigners to adopt local children. The adoption is subject to the following order of priority:
- Stepfather, stepmother, aunt, uncle, aunt, uncle, biological uncle of the adopted children;
- Vietnamese citizens permanently residing in the country;
- Foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam;
- Vietnamese citizens residing abroad;
- Foreigners permanently residing abroad.
A child can only be adopted by a person living abroad when adopters in the country cannot be found.
Conditions for foreigners to adopt Vietnamese children
In order to adopt a Vietnamese child, an adopter must meet the following conditions:
- Having full civil act capacity;
- 20 years or more older than the adopted child;
- Having good health, economic and accommodation conditions to ensure the care, upbringing and education of the adopted child;
- Having good moral character;
- Having a clean criminal record (e.g. not being subject to administrative sanction, not serving prison sentence, …)
Registration for adoption
Your request for adoption will be registered at the Provincial People’s Committee, specifically:
- The People’s Committee of the province where the adopted child permanently resides;
- If the child is in a foster home, the People’s Committee of the province where the foster home is located.
After having the People’s Committee’s decision, the Department of Justice will register your request for adoption.
Fees payable for adoption of a child by a foreigner
According to Decree No. 114/2016/ND-CP, the Government specifies the fees for registration for adoption as follows:
In addition to these fees, the adopter may be subject to the following expenses:
- Expenses for raising, caring for and educating the child from the time he/she is introduced for adoption to the completion of the child adoption procedures;
- Costs of verifying the origin of the child introduced for adoption;
- Costs of child delivery;
- Reasonable remuneration for the staff of the foster home.
Procedures for foreigners to adopt children in Vietnam
Step 1: Prepare dossier
1.1. Dossier of the adopter: 02 sets, including:
- Application for adoption;
- Passport or valid alternative document (Copy);
- A written permission to adopt a child in Vietnam;
- Psychological and family survey;
- Written confirmation of health status;
- Written confirmation of income and assets;
- Criminal record;
- Written certification of marital status;
- Documents proving that the case is requested by name (if any).
1.2. Dossier of the adopted child: 03 sets, including:
- Birth certificate;
- A health certificate issued by a district-level health agency or higher;
- Two full body photos, looking straight ahead, taken within 6 months;
- Texts on remarkable characteristics, interests and habits of the child;
- Documents proving that a local alternative family has been looked for but failed…
Note: Papers & documents issued, prepared or certified by foreign agencies must be legalized when used in Vietnam, except for cases exempted under international treaties.
Step 2: Check, verify the dossiers and confirm the child is eligible for adoption
Within 20 days from the date of receipt of complete and valid dossiers, the Department of Justice is responsible for examining the dossiers and collecting opinions (in writing, with signatures and fingerprints of the person being consulted)..
After checking and verifying, if the child is eligible for adoption, the Department of Justice shall certify and send it to the Ministry of Justice.
Step 3: The Ministry of Justice checks and transfers the adopter’s dossier
Within 15 days from the date of receipt of complete and valid dossiers, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for examining and handling the adopters’ dossiers:
- Upon the expiration of the time limit for finding a local family for the child and no local adopter is found, the dossier shall be transferred to the Department of Justice where the child permanently resides for consideration and introduction of the child for adoption.
- For direct application for adoption (by name): Transfer the dossiers to the Department of Justice where the child introduced for adoption permanently resides for submission to the People’s Committee for consideration and decision.
Step 4: Issue decision on adoption
Within 15 days from the date of receipt of the dossiers submitted by the Department of Justice, the Provincial People’s Committee shall make decision on adoption of the child.
After the decision is made, the adopter will be notified to come to carry out the adoption procedures.
The adopter must be present in Vietnam within 60 days from the date of receiving the notice to directly adopt the child.
Step 5: Handover and Adoption Ceremony
The handover and adoption must be made in writing, signed or fingerprinted by the parties and by representatives of the Department of Justice.
Then, in case of necessity, the Ministry of Justice sends this decision to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to notify Vietnam’s representative missions abroad of the child being adopted to take protective measures.
In summary, the procedures for adoption of children in Vietnam are not so simple and require thorough inspection and verification by competent authorities. Normally, you will need to hire an experienced lawyer to support you on the long run. Make sure you have satisfied all the basic conditions first.
Law on Adoption 2010 (Request English version here)
Decree 19/2011/ND-CP (Request English version here)
Decree 114/2016/ND-CP (Request English version here)