On 18th December 1998 Austria signed the Hague Convention for Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, ratified it on 19th May 1999 and the Convention became effective on 1st September 1999.

Pursuant to art. 6 of the Hague Convention, Central Authority for Austria is the Federal Ministry of Justice.

There are 3 accredited adoption service providers in Austria working in close collaboration with the Youth welfare agencies in the respective municipalities. These organizations are non-profit legal bodies. They provide full support to the applicants throughout the entire international adoption procedure. The Austrian government supports financially the activities of these organizations. The engagement of these organizations ends after the 2 year obligatory post-adoption monitoring.

Choosing an adoption service provider in Austria is not obligatory for international adoption. The prospective adoptive parents are free to decide to turn directly to the Central authority which on its part contacts the Central authority in the country of origin of the child or the applicants can choose a representative from the country of origin of the child. 

The pre-adoption activities are done by the Youth welfare agencies at the respective municipalities and for Vienna – by the Youth and Family Offices.

At the time of submitting an application for international adoption, a male applicant should be at least 30 years old and a female applicant – at least 28 years old. Individuals as well as families can adopt. Cohabitating couples are not allowed to adopt. The rule is that spouses should both adopt a child. Austrian law requires at least 18 years of age difference between adoptive parent and adoptee. There are no limitations as to the maximum age at which one can adopt. However, if the applicant is above 40, he/she would have lower chances to be selected as an adoptive parent if there are younger applicants. The presumption of the Austrian legislator is that the age difference between adoptive parent and adoptee should be similar to the natural age difference between a child and his/her birth parents.

Austrian law does not allow the adoption of children with AIDS.

The issuing of the certificate for eligibility to adopt a child from aboard (which is called “permission to take custody of a child”) is preceded by the development of a social report on the basis of meetings and home visits, which in Austria are done either by the Youth welfare agencies in the respective municipalities or by an adoption service provider if the applicants have selected one. The procedure initiates after the permission to adopt has been issued (which is in the competence of the Central Authority) and all documents required by the Bulgarian law have been collected.

The child adopted by an Austrian citizen does not automatically acquire Austrian citizenship, but he/she immediately receives a residence permit. Austrian law does not envisage any further procedures in order to recognize the foreign court’s judgement to adopt a child although in some cases the Austrian court makes judgement as to whether the adoption is valid and should be recognized as such.

Austrian law allows terminating the adoption. Adoption can be terminated on request of the adoptee if his/her adoptive parents have divorced; upon mutual consent between adopter and adoptee or after the death of one of the parties. The Austrian law does not necessitate the interruption of all ties between the adoptee and his/her birth parents, for example, the obligation to provide reciprocal financial support in case one of the parties is not able to provide for themselves, etc.


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Intercountry Adoption Council sessions

This section contains information on the referrals (proposals) made by the IAC. This is the body within the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, which makes the referrals.

The phone call that changed my life - Lizanne C., USA

I waited, what felt like an eternity, for the phone call that would forever change my life. I was emotionally and financially invested in what would be the most meaningful event in my life – the adoption of my little boy.

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