Child Adoption

How Do Overseas Settlers Adopt Children in Vietnam?

Author
Stephen Le

Adoption is a process done with the desire to give children a better life. Under any circumstances, adoption has a positive connotation. The kids will get a family. They are loved and cared for, lived in affection, grown up under the education and orientation of their adoptive parents… This is a wish of many adoptive parents when adopting a child. 

While trying to fulfill that wish, many people were confused because they didn’t know how to start, especially those who settled abroad. Adoption has a foreign element, how do people who are residing abroad adopt children? What are the conditions, procedures for implementation at state agencies? … .  Let’s find the answer!

Adoption conditions with foreign elements

Conditions for adopters

According to clause 1, Article 29 of the 2010 Law on Adoption stipulating the conditions on adopting persons: “Overseas Vietnamese or foreigners permanently residing abroad who seek to adopt a Vietnamese must meet all conditions required by the law of the country in which they permanently reside and specified in Article 14 of this Law”. Specifically as follows:

  • Having full civil act capacity;
  • Being 20 years or more older than the adopted person;
  • Having health, financial and accommodation conditions for assuring the care for and nurture and education of the adopted child. 
  • Having good ethical qualities.

The following persons is not allowed to adopt a child:

  • Having restrictions on parental rights over a minor child;
  • Currently serving an administrative penalty at an educational institution or medical treatment establishment;
  • Currently serving an imprisonment penalty;
  • Having a criminal record which has not been remitted yet for crimes such as: intentionally infringing upon another’s life, health, dignity and honor; maltreating or persecuting one’s grandparents, parents, spouse, children, grandchildren or caretaker; enticing or compelling a minor to violate the law or harboring a minor violator; trafficking in, fraudulently swapping or appropriating children, 

In case the step father or step mother adopts a step child or a natural aunt or uncle adopts a nephew or cousin, it is not necessary to be 20 years older than the adopted child and has health, economic and accommodation conditions to ensure the care, upbringing and education of adopted children.

Vietnamese citizens who seek to adopt a foreigner must meet all conditions specified in Article 14 of this Law and required by the law of the country in which the to-be-adopted person permanently resides. 

Conditions for the person to be adopted

Article 08 of the 2010 Law on Adoption stipulates the adopters as follows:

  • Children under 16 years.
  • Persons aged between full 16 years and under 18 years falling into either of the following cases:
    • To be adopted by the step father or step mother;
    • To be adopted by a natural aunt or uncle.
  • A person may be adopted by only one single person or two persons being husband and wife.

Competent body to register adoptions with foreign elements

The competent body to register adoptions with foreign elements is specified in Article 09 of the Law on Adoption.

  • People’s Committees of provinces or centrally run cities in which the persons introduced for adoption permanently reside are competent to decide on intercountry adoptions;
  • Provincial-level Justice Departments are competent to register intercountry adoptions.
  • Overseas representative offices of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are competent to register adoptions by Vietnamese citizens temporarily residing abroad.

Dossiers of adopting persons with foreign elements

In order to be able to adopt a child, the adoptee and the adopted child need to prepare documents according to Article 31, Article 32 of the 2010 Law on Adoption:

For adoptees:

  • Dossier of the adoptee in case of anonymous application:
    • A written request for adoption;
    • A copy of the passport or a valid substitute paper;
    • A written permission for adopting a person in Vietnam;
    • A completed questionnaire on psychology and family;
    • A health certificate;
    • An income and property certificate;
    • A judicial record sheet;
    • A written certification of the marital status;
  • Dossier of the adoptee in case of adopt a specific child: In addition to documents such as for the case of anonymous application, the person adopting the specific child, depending on each specific case, must also have the following corresponding documents to prove the case of the specific child: 
    • A copy of the marriage certificate of the stepfather to the biological mother or stepmother to the biological father of the adoptee in case of applying for the stepchild of the spouse for adoption.
    • Documents to prove that the adoptee is the aunt, uncle, aunt, uncle or uncle of the adoptee.
    • A copy of the decision of a Vietnamese state agency for the person to adopt a Vietnamese child and documents to prove that the adopted child and the child being adopted are brothers, sisters or siblings.
    • Documents to prove that the adopted child is a child with a disability or a fatal disease.
    • A Certificate of the People’s Committee or Commune Police, place of residence in Vietnam and other documents to prove that the adoptee is a foreigner working or studying in Vietnam for a period of at least 01 year.

For children to be adopted:

  • The birth certificate;
  • A health certificate granted by a district- or higher-level health agency;
  • Two photos of the whole body looking straight, taken within the past 6 months;
  • Document on the remarkable characteristics, hobbies and habits of the child;;
  • Evidence proving that the search for domestic families has been done.

The natural parents or guardian shall compile a dossier for the person introduced for adoption who lives with his/her family; the nurturing center shall compile a dossier for the child introduced for adoption who lives in the nurturing center.

Adoption procedures with foreign elements

Depending on whether the adoption is specific or not, the adoption procedure is different.

Adoption procedures with foreign elements in case of anonymous adoption:

Step 1:

  • The adopter submits the application for adoption at the Department of Child Adoption. The Department of Child Adoption receives dossiers, examines and assesses the conditions of the adopters.
  • The Department of Child Adoption sends an official dispatch to the Department of Justice to request the fostering establishment to introduce the child; The Department of Justice examines and sends an official report on the results to the Department of Adoption.
  • The adoption department notifies the applicant for adoption of the referred child.
  • The adoptee responds to the consent to adopt the child to be referred for adoption.

Step 2:

  • After the adopter gives a written response to the adoption, the Department of Child Adoption shall send an official letter requesting the Department of Justice to guide the fostering establishment to compile child records.
  • The Department of Justice examines the legitimacy of dossier. If necessary, the Department of Justice requests the local police agency to verify to ensure the child has a clear origin.
  • The Department of Adoption shall examine the dossiers of children and provide opinions for the Department of Justice to submit to the People’s Committee of the province/centrally-run city for decision on the adoption of Vietnamese children. 

Step 3:

  • The Department of Justice notifies the adopter to come to Vietnam to complete the procedures;
  • The Department of Justice submits to the People’s Committee of the province/city directly under the Central Government to issue a decision on the adoption of Vietnamese children; 
  • The person adopting the child receives the Decision at the Department of Justice.

Adoption procedures with foreign elements in case of specific adoption:

Step 1: 

  • If the adoptee resides in a country that is a party to the international treaty on adoption cooperation with Vietnam, the adoptee submits the application to the Department Adoption through the adoption organization of that country licensed to operate in Vietnam; 
  • If the country does not have a licensed adoption organization operating in Vietnam, the adoptee shall submit the application to the Adoption Department through the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office of that country in Vietnam.
  • Dossiers of adopted children: Submit directly to the Department of receiving and returning results of the Department of Justice.

Step 2:

  • The Department of Justice examines the legitimacy of dossier. If necessary, the Department of Justice requests the local police agency to verify to ensure the child has a clear origin.
  • The Department of Adoption shall examine the dossiers of children and provide opinions for the Department of Justice to submit to the People’s Committee of the province/centrally-run city for decision on the adoption of Vietnamese children.

Step 3: 

  • The Department of Justice notifies the adopter to come to Vietnam to complete the procedures;
  • The Department of Justice submits to the People’s Committee of the province/city directly under the Central Government to issue a decision on the adoption of Vietnamese children; 
  • The person adopting the child receives the Decision at the Department of Justice.

How long does it take to get a decision for a child to be adopted with a foreign element?

Clause 1, Article 37 of the Law on Adoption 2010 stipulates that the decision-making time for children to be adopted abroad is 15 days. The decision-making and organization of child adoption are carried out as follows:

“1. After receiving a notice of the Ministry of Justice under Clause 3, Article 36 of this Law, the provincial-level Justice Department shall submit the case’s dossier to the provincial-level People’s Committee for decision to allow the child’s intercountry adoption. 

Within 15 days after receiving the dossier from the provincial-level Justice Department, the provincial-level People’s Committee shall decide to allow the child’s intercountry adoption.

2. Immediately after receiving the provincial-level People’s Committee’s decision to allow the child’s intercountry adoption, the provincial-level Justice Department shall notify the adopting person to come to Vietnam for receiving the child. Within 60 days after receiving the notice of the provincial-level Justice Department, the adopting person must be present in Vietnam; in case both husband and wife seek to adopt a child but either of them cannot not be present at the child delivery and receipt ceremony for an objective reason, he/she must make an authorization to the other; this time limit may be extended for a plausible reason but must not exceed 90 days. Past this time limit, if the adopting person fails to come to receive the child, the provincial-level People’s Committee shall cancel the decision to allow the child’s intercountry adoption.

3. The provincial-level Justice Department shall register the adoption under the law on civil status registration and organize a child delivery and receipt ceremony at its head office in the presence of a representative of the provincial-level Justice Department, the adopted child, the adoptive parents, a representative of the nurturing center, for children living in nurturing centers, or the natural parents or the guardian of the child, for children living with their families.

The delivery and receipt of an adopted child must be recorded in a minutes bearing the signatures or fingerprints of the involved parties and the representative of the provincial-level Justice Department.

4. Following the delivery and receipt of an adopted child, the provincial-level Justice Department shall send the provincial-level People’s Committee’s decision to allow the child’s adoption by a foreigner and the minutes of the child’s delivery and receipt to the Ministry of Justice and the commune-level People’s Committee of the place in which the adopted child permanently resides.

5. The Ministry of Justice shall send the decision to allow a child’s intercountry adoption to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for notification to the overseas Vietnamese representative mission of the adoption for taking child protection measures when necessary.”

Notification of the growth of adopted children

To continue monitoring the child’s integration after adoption. In Article 39 of the 2010 Law on Adoption, there are provisions: Once every six months within 3 years from the date of delivery and receipt of an adopted child, the adoptive parents shall notify the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice and representative mission in the country in which the adopted child permanently resides of the child’s health and physical and mental conditions and integration with the adoptive parents and their family and community.

And after the above time, if there are no problems, the adoption is considered completed. If you want to know more about this issue, please contact us for more detailed instructions: letran@familylawyers.vn .

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