aggiornamento: 27 marzo 2020
Last updated on 27 March 2020 by the Italian Ministry of Justice
Rules on surrogacy and adoption, including adoption by the second parent
International adoption refers to the adoption of a foreign child by a couple in their own country, in respect of the authorities and laws of that country.
The powers in matters of international adoption, provided for by the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993, within the meaning of Law No 476 of 31 December 1998, are held by
International Adoption Board
Central Authority for the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993
at the Cabinet Office
Largo Chigi, 19
Tel: +39 06.67791 (switchboard)
Fax: +39 06.67792165
International adoption is a complex procedure. A number of main points may be summarised as follows:
Requirements for international adoption
The requirements for international adoption are the same as for national adoption, and are set out in Article 6 of Law 184/83 (as amended by Law 149/2001)
Adoption may be granted to spouses who have been married for at least three years, or for fewer years if the spouses have lived together in a stable and continuous manner before marriage for a period of three years, and this has been verified by the Juvenile Court.
The spouses must not, at the time of the adoption or during the previous three years, be separated; this includes de facto separation.
The adopters must be aged at least 18 and not over 45, with the possibility of an exception in the event that there is great danger for the child.
Adoption is not ruled out if one of the adopters exceeds the maximum age limit by no more than ten years.
Filing of the declaration stating availability for international adoption
Persons resident in Italy, who meet the conditions laid down in Article 6 and who wish to adopt a foreign minor resident overseas, submit a declaration stating availability for international adoption to the juvenile court of the district in which they are resident, requesting that the court declare their suitability for adoption.
In the case of Italian citizens resident in a foreign country, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 36(4), jurisdiction lies with the juvenile court of the district in which they were last resident; otherwise, jurisdiction lies with the Juvenile Court of Rome.
Checks by local services
The international adoption process begins with checks on families who specifically apply for international adoption.
It is the role of local authority services to get to know the couple and assess their parenting potential, collecting information on their personal, family and social history. On completion of the checks, a report is prepared and sent to the juvenile court.
Decree of suitability
On receiving the report, the juvenile court summons the married couple and may, if it deems appropriate, order further enquiries. At this point the judge decides whether to issue a decree of suitability or, conversely, to issue a decree declaring that the requirements for adoption have not been met.
Search for a child and role of the authorised bodies
A couple in possession of a decree of suitability must start the international adoption procedure within one year of issue of the decree, using the services of a body authorised by the International Adoption Board. It is obligatory to go through an authorised body. A list of authorised bodies is published on the website of the International Adoption Board (www.commissioneadozioni.it).
The body assists the couple and takes care of the necessary paperwork for the whole complex procedure. The authorised body forwards all the documentation relating to the child, together with the order from the overseas court, to the International Adoption Board in Italy.
Arrival of the child in Italy
The International Adoption Board authorises the adopted child’s entry into and stay in Italy, after having certified that the adoption complies with the provisions of the Hague Convention.
Registration of the adoption order
After the child has entered Italy, and once the period of pre-adoption foster care has elapsed, where applicable, the procedure ends with the order, by the juvenile court, to enter the adoption order in the civil status registers.
Jurisdiction for this registration lies with the juvenile court of the place of residence of the parents at the time of their entry into Italy with the minor (even if different from the court that originally issued the decree of suitability).
For further information:
aggiornamento: 27 marzo 2020
- L. 476/1998 - Ratifica ed esecuzione della Convenzione per la tutela dei minori e la cooperazione in materia di adozione internazionale, fatta a L'Aja il 29 maggio 1993. Modifiche alla legge 4 maggio 1983, n. 184, in tema di adozione di minori stranieri
- L. 184/1983 - Diritto del minore ad una famiglia