An Indian, Non Resident Indian (NRI), or a Foreign Citizen may adopt a child as per Indian Laws. Guidelines and specific documents are in place with respect to the Nationality and Religion of the prospective parents. A single person (not more than 45 years) or a married couple (at least for 5 years) can adopt a child.

A prospective parent, who is looking for adoption of a child, should be medically and financially fit. In addition, the age difference between the adoptive parents and the child should be of minimum 21 years. There is no upper age limit for adoptive parents in accordance with Indian Law.  However, as a matter of practice, a child whose age is less than one, the adoptive parent’s maximum combined age should be of 90 years. And their individual age should not be more than 45 years. If the Adoption is regarding older children, then the age of the parents may be relaxed.

Indian citizens who are Hindus, Sikhs, Jains or Buddhists are allowed to adopt a child under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. However, NRIs, foreign nationals and those Indian nationals who are Parsis, Muslims, Christians or Jews are subject to the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890 and the adoptive parent is only the guardian of the child until he/she reaches 18 years of age.

Therefore, NRIs and foreign nationals are supposed to adopt the child as per the provisions of adoption laws of their country of residence and it should be done within a time span of two years after the adoption under Guardian and Wards Act, 1890.

Documents required for adoption: 

The NRIs or foreign national should present supporting documents along with the application. The documents are:

  • i) Home Study Report of the foreign adoptive parents prepared by a professional social worker of EFAA (Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency) /person authorized by Central Authority/Government Departments.
  • A recent family photograph,
  • Marriage certificate,
  • A certificate on applicant’s medical fitness,
  • A declaration of the applicant’s financial status, which includes bank references, income-tax returns, employment certificate and details of the property owned by him/her.
  • Declaration regarding willingness to adopt the child as a guardian under Guardian and Wards Act, 1890 and EFAA should submit an undertaking that the Prospective Adoptive Parent will adopt the child as per the laws of his country of residence within two years of child’s arrival to the receiving country. The certified copies of adoption should send to all concerned by the EFAA.
  • Three reference letters from acquaintance/relatives regarding suitability of Prospective Adoptive Parents to adopt.
  • Adoption decree of previously adopted child/children, if any
  • Police clearance report.
  • Birth certificate/passport, as proof of age.
  • Approval of the Central Authority (suitability report – Home Study Report)
  • Documentary proof of citizenship/nationality of Prospective Adoptive Parents.
  • Undertaking from the EFAA that follow up report relating to progress of the child along with his/her recent photograph would be sent six monthly basis for a period of 2 years or until such time as the legal adoption is completed and citizenship is acquired in the receiving country.
  • Power of Attorney from prospective adoptive parents in favour of office/official of Recognized Indian Placement Agency (RIPA) in India which will be required to process the case and such Power of Attorney should authorize the Attorney to handle the cases on behalf of the NRI or foreign national, in case the NRI or foreign national is not in a position to come to India.
  • Undertaking from the EFAA to the effect that in case of disruption of the family of foreign national or NRI before legal adoption has been effected, it will take care of the child and find suitable alternative placement for the child with the approval of Central Adoption Resource Authority. After seeking the necessary approval from CARA, it will report alternative placement to the concerned Indian court handling guardianship proceedings with the help of concerned RIPA and such information shall be passed on to all concerned.
  • Undertaking from the EFAA that it will pay adoption fee to the concerned RIPA.
  • Certificate from EFAA sponsoring application of the foreigner to the effect that adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child according to the law of their country and the child will receive an entry permit/visa

    xviii) Declaration should be made that; the applicant will maintain the child and provide him/her with education and other facilities as per the applicant’s economic status etc.

Procedure for Inter Country Adoption as per Central Adoption Resource Agency of India (CARA):

Step 1: Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency (EFAA)

The applicants will have to contact or register with an Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency (EFAA)/Central Authority/Govt. Dept. in their country, in which they are resident, which will prepare the Home Study Report (HSR) etc. The validity of “Home Study Report” will be for a period of two years. HSR report prepared before two years will be updated at referral.

The applicants should obtain the permission of the competent authority for adopting a child from India. Where such Central Authorities or Government departments are not available, then the applications may be sent by the enlisted agency with requisite documents including documentary proof that the applicant is permitted to adopt from India

The adoption application dossier should contain all documents prescribed. All documents are to be notarized. The signature of the notary is either to be attested by the Indian Embassy/High Commission or the appropriate Govt. Department of the receiving country. If the documents are in any language other than English, then the originals must be accompanied by attested translations.  A copy of the application of the prospective adoptive parents along with the copies of the HSR and other documents will have to be forwarded to RIPA by the Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency (EFAA) or Central Authority of that country.

Step II: Role of Recognized Indian Placement Agency (RIPA)

On receipt of the documents, the Indian Agency will make efforts to match a child who is legally free for inter-country adoption with the applicant.

In case no suitable match is possible within 3 months, the RIPA will inform the EFAA and CARA with the reasons therefore.

Step III: Child being declared free for inter-country adoption – Clearance by Adoption Coordinating Agencies (ACA)  

Before a RIPA proposes to place a child in the Inter country adoption, it must apply to the ACA for assistance for Indian placement.

The child should be legally free for adoption. ACA will find a suitable Indian prospective adoptive parent within 30 days, failing which it will issue clearance certificate for inter-country adoption.

ACA will issue clearance for inter-country adoption within 10 days in case of older children above 6 years, siblings or twins and Special Needs Children as per the additional guidelines issued in this regard.

In case the ACA cannot find suitable Indian parent/parents within 30 days, it will be incumbent upon the ACA to issue a Clearance Certificate on the 31st day.

If ACA Clearance is not given on 31st day, the clearance of ACA will be assumed unless ACA has sought clarification within the stipulation period of 30 days.

NRI parent(s) (at least one parent) HOLDING Indian Passport will be exempted from ACA Clearance, but they have to follow all other procedures as per the Guidelines.

Step IV: Matching of the Child Study Report with Home Study Report of Foreign Prospective Adoptive Parent (FPAP) by RIPA

After a successful matching, the RIPA will forward the complete dossier as per Annexure 3 to CARA for issuance of “No Objection Certificate”.

Step V: Issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) by CARA

RIPA shall make application for CARA NOC in case of foreign/PIO parents only after ACA Clearance Certificate is obtained.

CARA will issue the ‘NOC’ within 15 days from the date of receipt of the adoption dossier if complete in all respect.

If any query or clarification is sought by CARA, it will be replied to by the RIPA within 10 days.

No Indian Placement Agency can file an application in the competent court for inter-country adoption without a “No Objection Certificate” from CARA.

Step VI: Filing of Petition in the Court

On receipt of the NOC from CARA, the RIPA shall file a petition for adoption/guardianship in the competent court within 15 days.

The competent court may issue an appropriate order for the placement of the child with FPAP.

As per the Hon’ble Supreme Court directions, the concerned Court may dispose the case within 2 months.

Step VII: Passport and Visa

RIPA has to apply in the Regional Passport Office for obtaining an Indian Passport in favour of the child.

The concerned Regional Passport Officer may issue the Passport within 10 days.

Thereafter the VISA entry permit may be issued by the Consulate/Embassy/High Commission of the concerned country for the child.

Step VII: Child travels to adoptive country

The adoptive parent/parents will have to come to India and accompany the child back to their country.

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