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New Multinational Report on the Acquisition of Citizenship through International Adoption

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This is a guest post by George Sadek, a foreign law specialist with the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. George has contributed a number of posts to this blog, including posts on The Trial of Seif al Islam al Gaddafi, Controversy Over New Egyptian Law that Regulates the Construction of Churches, and Qatar’s New Counterterrorism Law.

The Law Library of Congress produces foreign, comparative, and international law reports on a wide range of issues. Recently, the foreign law specialists authored a comparative legal analysis of laws governing procedures of intercountry adoption and acquisition of citizenship. The report surveys acquisition of citizenship through international adoption in 18 countries around the globe, including Australia, Israel, Italy, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, China, India, France, Japan, Argentina, and Russia.

Citizenship Following International Adoption

Source & Note: Susan Taylor, Law Library of Congress. Map reflects results for the 18 jurisdictions reviewed in Citizenship Through International Adoption (February 2021).

The report provides a general overview about the main legislative instruments governing international adoption and acquisition of citizenship in each of the surveyed countries. It shows that, in most of the surveyed countries, citizenship laws are the main piece of legislation governing the acquisition of citizenship through intercountry adoption.

The report also sheds light on the required process and procedures of adoption in the surveyed countries. Some of the surveyed countries in the report obligate the adoptive parents to attain a certain age before they submit their adoption application. In addition to the age requirement, countries impose other requirements. For example, Brazil, Israel, and Sweden mandate a social and psychological assessment report of the adoptive parents.

Surveyed countries of the report that are members of the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) are required to designate an entity to be “the Central Adoption Authority” (Central Authority). The main function of the Central Authority is to supervise the intercountry adoption process. In contrast, countries such as Argentina and Japan that are not members of the Hague Adoption Convention do not have a Central Authority and assign local courts to approve the international adoption process.

Finally, all surveyed countries require adoptive parents to present a number of documents to the immigration authorities for the adoptive child to acquire citizenship. Those documents include the current address of the adoptive parents and the adopted child, proof of the citizenship of the adoptive parents, adoption papers to prove the legality of the adoption, photocopies of the parents’ passports, and the birth certificate of the adopted child. Additionally, countries that are members of the Hague Adoption Convention require the submission of a convention adoption compliance certificate.

For updates related to adoption laws and many other topics, you may subscribe to our Global Legal Monitor publication. In addition, to receive alerts when new Law Library reports are published, you can subscribe to email updates and the RSS feed for Law Library Reports (click the “subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website).


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