Intercountry adoption

What is an intercountry adoption?

In accordance with new legislation on adoption, which came into force on 1 September 2005, intercountry adoption is a procedure whereby either a child who has already been adopted or who will be adopted is taken to a country other than his or her usual country of residence.

What conditions should be fulfilled and which procedure should be followed?

In Belgium, intercountry adoption is of the competence of both the Federal Authority and the Communities.  For further information on the conditions and procedure for adoption to be followed in Belgium and abroad, contact one of the following central bodies at community level:

  • French Community:

    Autorité centrale communautaire, Ministère de la Communauté française
    Direction Générale Aide à la Jeunesse
    Boulevard Léopold II 44
    B-1080 Bruxelles
    Tel.  + 32 (0) 2 413 41 35
    Fax + 32 (0) 2 413 21 39
    www.adoptions.beNo label found for: as_externallink.alttag

  • Flemish Community:

    Kind en Gezin
    Hallepoortlaan 27
    B-1060 Brussel
    Tel.  + 32 (0) 2 533 14 76
    Fax + 32 (0) 2 534 13 82
    www.kindengezin.beNo label found for: as_externallink.alttag 

  • German-speaking Community:

    Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft:
    Zentrale Behörde der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft für Adoptionen
    Gospertstrasse 1
    B-4700 Eupen
    Tel.+ 32 (0) 87 59 63 46
    Fax + 32 (0) 87 55 64 73 No label found for: as_externallink.alttag

All instructions issued by these bodies must be complied with. Any individual attempt to adopt a child illegally or act as an intermediary without prior authorisation from the Communities will be prosecuted.

Adoptions abroad must be recognised and registered by the following central federal authority:

Federal Public Service Justice
Directorat général Législation, droits fondamentaux et libertés
Service adoptions internationales
Boulevard de Waterloo 115
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel +32 (0) 2 542.75.80
Fax +32 (0) 2 542.70.56

Further information is available in the FPS Justice guide (PDF, 167.69 Kb)   

What should I do abroad?

Once the foreign authoritiy has made an approval decision regarding the adoption, you can submit the foreign documents to the Belgian consulate or embassy. If the adoption is recognised, the adopted child will be provided with a temporary passport or a visa. If necessary, the documents will be legalised.

What role does the Belgian consulate or embassy play in an intercountry adoption?

The application for recognition of the adoption will be forwarded to the Central Federal Authority set up within the Federal Public Service Justice and competent for the recognition (and registration) of the adoption effected abroad. For more information on adoption in general or on a specific case, please contact the Central Federal Authority.

The embassy or the consulate cannot issue a travel document until the the Central Federal Authority has made its decision.

What should I do on my return to Belgium?

You go with the adoption documents (birth certificate of the child, adoption decision and other documents) to the civil status registry office and population department of your municipality.
The documents must be translated into the language of your municipality.

The civil registrar of your municipality will enter the birth certificate of the adopted child into the civil status registers.

What are the consequences of a simple intercountry adoption?
What are the consequences of a full intercountry adoption?
Can a simple adoption be converted into a full adoption?

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Registry Department
  • The embassy or consulate in your main place of residence abroad
  • The Communities