Intercountry adoption of a child from abroad to the Czech Republic

How can I adopt a child from a foreign country?

How do I proceed if I want to adopt my family member who lives abroad?

I have adopted a child in a foreign country, what should I do now?

I am a foreigner living in the Czech Republic. Can I adopt a child?

If any of these questions apply to your situation, we can help you. However, each case is different, so we recommend you contact a member of the Office to discuss the specifics of your situation and the specific foreign country.



The process of arranging an intercountry adoption is governed by the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 29 May 1993 (hereinafter only as "the 1993 Convention"). The 1993 Convention provides a clear framework for intercountry adoption facilitation and thus prevents possible child trafficking and other unfair practices. The Office is the only one in Czech Republic that facilitates intercountry adoptions following the 1993 Convention.

Adoption of a child from a country that is a signatory state to the 1993 Convention

The 1993 Convention distinguishes between so-called countries of origin and receiving countries. The different countries of origin have specific conditions that the applicants for adoption must meet.

Therefore, the Office has contacted many countries in the past. Still, most of them had requirements for Czech applicants that were impossible to meet, e.g., one year of residence in the country, citizenship of the country of at least one of the applicants or have not responded to the Office's invitation at all. Therefore, upon request, the competent official of the Office will provide you with the information which countries the Office cooperates with.

I am a foreigner; can I adopt a child?

The applicant's nationality or permanent residence is not decisive for arranging an intercountry adoption. The determining factor is the applicant's so-called habitual residence, which is a place that shows a certain degree of integration of the applicant within the family and social environment. It is the place where the applicants work and have family, friends, etc.

By contrast, a foreigner who is entitled to social benefits under a directly applicable European Union regulation or who has been granted permanent residence in the Czech Republic or who, according to a particular legal regulation governing the residence of foreigners in the territory of the Czech Republic, temporarily resides in the territory of the Czech Republic continuously for at least 365 days, may apply for domestic adoption in the Czech Republic in the same way as a Czech citizen with habitual residence in the Czech Republic. He may therefore apply to the municipality with extended jurisdiction in the place of his residence for the adoption of a child living in the Czech Republic.

I want to apply to adopt a child from abroad; what should I do?

The Office facilitates the adoption of a child from abroad upon request. However, this must be submitted to the municipal office of the municipality with extended jurisdiction of the applicant's place of residence.

The application must comply with the legal requirements (according to Section 21 of Act No. 359/1999 Coll., on Social and Legal Protection of Children). Furthermore, the applicant must express in their application their intention whether they are applying exclusively for adoption from abroad or whether they agree that, at the end of 3 years from the date of the legal force of the decision on the inclusion of the applicant in the registration of the applicants in the Czech Republic, the competent regional authority shall make available the data from their register to the Office.

Before you submit an application to the municipal authority of the municipality with extended jurisdiction, we recommend an e-mail or telephone consultation or an appointment for a personal consultation to find out about intercountry adoption, including the cooperation setup and the conditions of adoption from the countries the Office cooperates with.

Based on a request referred to the Office by a regional authority, the Office shall initiate a procedure that shall result in a decision on whether or not to include the applicant in the register of prospective adoptive parents suitable for adoption of a child from abroad.

In the course of the administrative procedure, the Office will conduct an assessment of the applicant regarding the specifics of adopting a child from abroad. Suppose the applicant is included in the register of prospective adoptive parents suitable to adopt a child from abroad. In that case, the Office, in cooperation with the applicant, prepares an application which is subsequently sent to the state where the applicant is interested in adopting the child.

The application must be completed in accordance with the specific requirements of the state concerned, and the application documents must be officially certified (obtaining apostilles or super-legalization) and translated into the country's official language. The applicant bears the cost of the certification and translation of the application documents.

The Office then sends the application to the central authority or authorized organization of the child's country of origin, which decides whether to accept or reject the application. All communication shall be between the Office and the foreign country's central authority or authorized organization. The Office is responsible for ensuring that the process complies with Czech law. Once the application sent is approved, applicants wait to be paired with a child for whom they would be suitable adoptive parents. There is no legal right to be matched with a child.

What are the requirements of the country of origin?

Each country has specific requirements for adoption applicants. Often these are requirements even for the duration of the marriage or a condition of faith.

States usually require, among other things:

  • a report on the applicants' social circumstances,
  • a medical and psychological report on the applicants,
  • a certificate of employment and income of the applicants,
  • applicants' birth certificates,
  • applicants' marriage certificate,
  • an extract from the applicants' criminal records,
  • copies of the applicant's travel documents.

In most cases, countries request information on the applicants' ideas about the child they wish to adopt.

Applicants specify their ideas about the child in terms of age, health, or other information relevant to the applicants.

The Office shall provide information on children in specific countries so that applicants' ideas are compatible with the situation in the selected country. The applicant shall provide the documents at their own expense or in cooperation with the Office.

For information on current cooperation and country conditions, we recommend e-mail or telephone consultation or a personal consultation.

What are time and financial requirements?

Applicants must take into account the process's time and financial requirements.

The state does not bear the costs of the adoption, not taking into account the free services provided by the Office, which has no set fee for the provision of services.

Most central authorities or authorized organizations in the child's country of origin charge a fee for their services. The fees vary from country to country but must be reasonable.

In addition to completing and certifying the documents (obtaining apostilles or super-legalization) and translating the application, the applicant also bears the costs of traveling to and staying in the child's country of origin. Therefore, after a specific time, the child is practically in care of the applicant, who bears all the costs.

States of origin require the applicant to come to the country of origin in person to meet the child. The stay in the country of origin lasts several days, weeks, or even months before the applicant and the child create an emotional bond, and the competent authority or court decide to adopt the child.

In the child's country of origin court, the applicant is often required to be represented by a lawyer, and an interpreter's fees must be added. Estimated total costs can range from hundreds of thousands, depending on the country of origin.

Experience of applicants for adoption from abroad

The Office has not reached all the States' Parties to the 1993 Convention yet. To date, the selection of States has been based on the priorities of those interested in adopting from abroad who have contacted the Office.

Suppose prospective adoptive parents are interested in adopting from another country to the 1993 Convention. In that case, the Office is open to contacting that country without guaranteeing the outcome. As the Czech Republic is a country with few potential applicants to adopt a child from abroad, there is no incentive for countries of origin to cooperate or communicate with the Czech Republic.

Every year the Office receives one to two applications for adopting a child from abroad. The number of adopted children is then even smaller.

Adoption of a child from a non-signatory state to the 1993 Convention

The Office does not arrange for adopting a child from countries that have not signed the 1993 Convention.

Applicants for adoption from such a country must proceed independently, and the utmost caution is in order. The safeguards offered by the 1993 Convention procedure fall away here, and the following comes to the fore the risks of which prospective adoptive parents should be aware if they choose to adopt.

The most severe risk is child trafficking. In these countries, no central authority would mediate the process smoothly and transparently as if it were an adoption from a member state of the 1993 Convention.

In these cases, the adoption applicants proceed independently; the Office does not intervene in the process and does not support adoptions from these countries. In these cases, knowledge of the local environment and the country's legal system of interest is highly desirable. Applicants for adoption must rely on the information in the documents, the credibility of which is subject to their review. The local authorities set fees and, unlike under the 1993 Convention, can be changed from time to time (often to the detriment of the applicants).

It is also the adoptive parents' responsibility to assess the compatibility of the foreign adoption decision with Czech law. The Czech court will only recognize a foreign adoption decision if it is not contrary to public order and is not prevented by the exclusive jurisdiction of the Czech courts. After that, the adoption would also be admissible under the substantive provisions of Czech law. A similar responsibility of the adoptive parents also applies to providing all necessary documents for the child's departure and subsequent residence in the Czech Republic.

The Office points out that if there is no bilateral treaty between the Czech Republic and the country in question which would regulate something different, a Czech court must recognize the foreign adoption decision. Without the recognition of the foreign adoption decision by the Czech court, such a decision has no effect in the Czech Republic, i.e., the interested parties will not be considered the child's parents under Czech law.