Adoption Laws in India for Foreign Nationals

Posted On : June 21, 2023
Adoption Laws in India for Foreign Nationals
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Adoption is a significant decision that brings joy and happiness to both the child and the adoptive parents. In recent years, India has emerged as a popular destination for international adoptions due to its well-established adoption laws and procedures. This article aims to provide foreign nationals with a comprehensive guide to adoption laws in India, outlining the legal framework, eligibility criteria, and the process involved.

Legal Framework

The legal framework governing adoption in India is primarily regulated by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015. These laws aim to ensure the welfare and best interests of the child, safeguarding their rights throughout the adoption process.

Adoption by Hindus of a Hindu Child is still regulated by and under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 wherein the adoption can be done by simply registering an adoption deed with the du-registrar. This is applicable only when both the Adoptive Parents and Biological Parents are Hindus. It is pertinent to mention here that, on the date of publication of this article, when adoption is to be done under HAMA Act, 1956 then one does not have to undergo the rigmarole of CARA process. The rules might change in future but as of not this is the way it can be done.

The Guardian and Wards Act, 1890 provides the permission to a foreigner to adopt an Indian kid. The foreigner will be chosen by the Indian court to be the child's guardian. The foreign individual will bring the child back to his home nation and adopt him or her in accordance with local legal requirements.

Eligibility Criteria for Adoption by Foreign National

Foreign nationals who wish to adopt a child from India must fulfill certain eligibility criteria set by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) or the concerned adoption agency.These includes the following:

1. The prospective adoptive parents must be in good physical, mental, emotional, and financial health, be free of any serious medical conditions, and not have been convicted of any crime or accused of violating a child's right.

2. Anyone who wants to adopt a kid, regardless of their marital status or whether they have biological children, may do so under the following conditions;

  1. If a married couple is adopting the child, both spouses must agree to the adoption;
  2. Child with any gender whether male or female may be adopted by a single female;
  3. An unmarried man is not eligible to adopt a girl child;

3. A couple must be married for at least two years before they can adopt a child, with the exception of adoptions involving relatives or stepparents.

4. To determine whether prospective adoptive parents are eligible to adopt children from various age groups, the age of the prospective adoptive parents as of the date of registration must be taken into consideration. A table containing such details is annexed below;

Age of the child (in Years)

Composite adoptive parents Age (Max)

Single adoptive parent’s Age (Max)

Upto 2

 85 years

40 years

Above 2 to 4

 90 years

45 years

Above 4 to 8 

100 years

50 years

Above 8 to18

110 years

55 years


5. If there is a couple, the combined ages of the potential adoptive parents must be taken into account.

6. Adoptions by step-parents and adoptions involving relatives are exempt from the age requirement for prospective adoptive parents.

7. Couples with two or more kids are only allowed to apply for children with exceptional needs, as defined in clause (25) of regulation 2, and children who are difficult to place, as defined in clause (13) of regulation 2, unless the kids are blood related or step-family members.

8. After three years, the prospective adoptive parents must revalidate their home study report.

9. With the exception of those who have exceeded a composite age of 110 years, the seniority of prospective adoptive parents who have not received a single referral within three years shall be calculated from the date of registration.

The Adoption Process by Foreign Nationals under Indian Law

The details of adoption process by foreign national under Indian Law are discussed below;

  1. Registration:

    Foreign nationals interested in adopting a child from India must first register with a recognized adoption agency in their home country or with CARA.

  2. Home Study:

    A social worker from the adoption agency conducts a home study to assess the prospective adoptive parents' suitability and readiness for adoption.

  3. Referral and Acceptance:

    Once the home study is completed, the adoption agency will provide the Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) with information about a child who is legally free for adoption.

  4. Travel to India:

    Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) will be required to travel to India to meet the child and complete the necessary legal procedures. This visit also includes bonding with the child.

  5. Court Proceedings:

    PAPs need to file a petition in the competent court in India for the adoption order. The court evaluates the adoption case and ensures compliance with all legal requirements.

  6. Issuance of Adoption Order:

    Once the court is satisfied with the adoption petition, it issues an adoption order, granting legal custody of the child to the PAPs.

  7. Visa and Post-Placement Reports:

    PAPs then apply for an exit visa for the child to travel back to their home country. Post-placement reports and follow-up visits may be required by the adoption agency or court to monitor the child's well-being.

Key Points toNote:

The following are some of the key points to be noted while adopting a child by foreign nationals;

  1. Inter-country adoptions are facilitated through CARA, which acts as the nodal agency responsible for regulating and coordinating adoption activities in India.
  2. PAPs should ensure compliance with adoption laws and regulations in their home country, as well as those of India.
  3. It is crucial to work with reputable adoption agencies and legal professionals to ensure a smooth and ethical adoption process.
  4. The adoption process can be time-consuming, and it is recommended to be prepared for the necessary paperwork, travel, and potential delays.


India's adoption laws for foreign nationals offer a legal and structured framework to facilitate inter-country adoptions. The focus remains on the best interests of the child, ensuring their welfare and safeguarding their rights. By understanding the legal requirements, eligibility criteria, and adoption process, foreign nationals can embark on the journey of adopting a child from India with confidence and fulfill their dream of parenthood while giving a child a loving family.

If you have any issues regarding adoption process, it is advisable to contact a experienced adoption lawyer.

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