Intercountry adoption with local element

What you should do
How long does it take
How much does it cost
Forms to complete
Who to contact



About applying for inter-country adoption with a local element

If you are a South African based abroad, interested in adopting a South African child, you must contact the central authority in the country where you reside.

If there is no competent authority in your country, you can contact the International Social Services (ISS).

Inter-country adoption is the placement of a child in the permanent care of a person who is not their biological parent or guardian and resides in a foreign country. It offers a permanent family to a child for whom a suitable family could not be found in the country of origin.

What you should do

  1. Contact the Central  Authority or ISS in the country where you reside.
  2. The Central Authority or ISS in your country will recommend an adoption organisation that will assess and screen you for suitability.
  3. If the central authority or ISS finds you to be fit and proper to adopt, it will compile a comprehensive home study report and forward it to the South African Central Authority (Saca).
  4. The Saca will refer the matter to an accredited adoption organisation to establish whether there is a child who is available for adoption.
  5. The social worker will ensure that every person who ought to consent to the adoption does so through the Children’s Court.
  6. Affected parties will be given 60 days in which they can withdraw their consent before the child is considered adoptable.
  7. Once the adoption organisation submits a report in favour of the adoption, the Saca will issue an Article 17, recommending inter-country adoption.  
  8. The Saca will forward the child study report to the Central Authority in your country to match you with the child.
  9. If you are still interested in adopting the child, the Central Authority in the foreign country will grant you permission to adopt the child and forward the permission to the Saca.
  10. You will be invited to travel to South Africa for the adoption to be finalised at the Children’s Court.
  11. The Children’s Court will issue an adoption order and the relevant documentation will be forwarded to the Saca for the adoption to be verified and registered.
  12. If this adoption was arranged with another signatory to the Hague Convention, the Saca will ensure that a Certificate of Conformity is issued.
  13. The accredited child protection organisation will ensure that the Department of Home Affairs receives a copy of the adoption order. Tthe department will changes names of the child and issuea new birth certificate.
  14. The accredited child protection organisation will forward the new birth certificate to you.
  15. The adoption agency in the country where you live will provide you with after-care services for five years.

How long does it take

It differs from one case to another.

How much does it cost

You must pay an accredited child protection organisation in respect of an inter-country adoption.

 Group orientation  R2 250 per session
 Interview/counselling R250 per hour
 Home visits    R250 per hour
 Home study report  R500 per report
 Court processes        R500 per day
 Birth registration   R170 per hour
 Administration costs  R170 per hour
 After care services R500 once-off payment
 Origin enquiry/tracing R200 per hour

Forms to complete

All forms are available at your nearest Department of Social Development office.

Who to contact

Toll Free Line: 0800 60 10 11