In order to adopt inter-country, prospective adoptive parents must be found to be:

  • Eligible AND
  • Meet the country specific criteria AND
  • Be assessed as suitable for the particular age/number/ characteristics of the child(ren) you wish to apply for


These general eligibility requirements must be met and approved by the New Zealand Central Authority for Adoption before an Assessment of Suitability can be made:

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to adopt from overseas?

The vaccination itself is not a requirement to be approved for adoption from overseas however many countries ask about this and it is required that your vaccination status be recorded in the home study report. You also currently need a vaccination pass in order to obtain a visa to travel to collect your child from many countries. This could change in the future. You will also be asked if you are prepared to vaccinate your adopted child according to NZ health guidelines.

Can I adopt from overseas if I am LGBT?

No, overseas countries set the criteria and they allow applicants from married heterosexual couples and single heterosexual woman only.

Criminal Record

You cannot have a criminal record.

What general Household criteria are there?

  • Be able to commit to parenting the child yourself, during the first year.
  • Couples must be legally married with evidence of a 3 year relationship. Some countries require a legal marriage for a minimum of 1 year (some countries allow exceptions).
  • Those who already have several children in their home may need to be willing to parent an older child or a child with some medical needs. Each country is different, so contact the placement agency for specific country advice.

What Physical and Financial criteria are there?

You must be:

  • Under 55 years old (age restrictions vary for each country and your age impacts on the age of child you can adopt).
  • In good physical, mental and emotional health (interpretation differs for each country)
  • Financially secure and show evidence that you are able to support a child

Can we adopt again if we have adopted before?

Yes. Adopting for a second time is reviewed on a case by case basis depending on a range of factors such as your age, number of children in the family, length of time since your last adoption etc. You will need to be reassessed as suitable and have another Home Study Report written. You can contact us to talk to us directly about this.

What if I am a New Zealand permanent resident or citizen living overseas?

You need to live in New Zealand for the Inter-Country adoption Education and Assessment process and to meet Post Placement criteria after you have returned to New Zealand with your child or children. This could be for a period of 2-5 years.

Do I have to be a New Zealand permanent resident?

Yes. You need to be a permanent NZ resident or citizen.

If a couple is adopting then both need to be permanent NZ residents or citizens.

Can I adopt if I am a single woman?

Yes, however the only countries that currently allow this are India, Thailand and The Philippines.

These are generally older children and all other criteria have to be met.

Can I adopt if I am a single man?


Meeting the above criteria means you are eligible to apply, but you still need to check the country criteria and then be assessed as suitable.

Country Criteria

You must meet the country criteria for your country of choice. These change from time to time. Remember that Adoption First Steps will prepare and assess people for adopting from Lithuania, Thailand, Chile, The Phillippines and India. CYF continues to offer preparation for other countries they have arrangements with.

Some countries are more flexible than others. As each case is unique, it is impossible to give complete assurance that you will be accepted by a particular country at a time in the future when you apply for a particular age or number of children. The basic criteria are just a useful starting point: a suitability assessment must be carried out.

We recommend that you check criteria with the three placement organisations. Their websites are: