Italy is a country signatory of the Hague Convention for Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and it signed the convention on 11th December 1995, ratified it on 18th January 2000 and the latter entered into force in Italy on 1st May 2000.

Pursuant to art. 6 of the Hague Convention, Central Authority for Italy is the Intercountry Adoptions Committee (Commissione per le Adozioni Internazionali - CAI).

International adoption for Italy can be realized only if individuals with permanent residence in the country perform it through Italian mediation organizations. These organizations have to be legal non-profit bodies in public purpose that have received a mediation permit from the Intercountry Adoptions Committee. Their permit is permanent and remains valid until there is reason to suspend it.

The permit is issued and is valid with respect to certain countries indicated by the respective mediation organization; there is no limitation regarding the number of the countries and the mediation agency is allowed to replace one country with another at its discretion. The permit is only issued on certain grounds proving the competency of the organization; the professionalism of the individuals working for it; the presence of an adequate office as well as other conditions guaranteeing the rights of the children at risk. The failure to meet any of the above requirements gives grounds for the suspension of the permit of accredited bodies.

To be able to adopt, adoptive applicants should be of full age, which for Italy means that they should have turned 18. Only spouses can adopt irrespective whether their marriage is religious or civil but at least 3 years should have passed from the date of the marriage. It is also possible to adopt before the 3rd year of their marriage, but the spouses should have cohabitated before that and should be able to prove it. An individual can also adopt under special circumstances that are thoroughly outlined in the Italian law:

а) a child who has been declared adoptable can be adopted by a sole applicant only if the latter is his/her relative within 6 degrees of consanguinity or if that person has had a very close relationship with the child even before the death of the child's parents;
b) by one of the spouses if the child has been adopted by the other spouse and
c) in cases when the child cannot be placed in the family for a period preceding the adoption (the so-called pre-adoptive placement in the family).

A minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 45 years age difference should be observed between the adoptive parents and the adoptee. If the spouses are of different age, the age difference requirement is applied with respect to the younger spouse.

Although no legal requirement exists as to the age difference among the children in a family – biological and/or adopted – it is considered advisable the last adopted child to be younger than the youngest child in the family at the time of the adoption.

The Italian law does not envisage limitations with respect to the age, sex and health condition of children adopted from other countries (outside Italy), unless other requirements have been specified in the certificate of eligibility.

Pursuant to national legislation in Italy, in order to adopt a child that has already turned 12, it is required the child to be summoned by the court. To be adopted, the children who have turned 14 are requested to give their consent to the adoption. The child can withdraw his/her consent to the adoption before the court ruling granting permission for the adoption enters into force.

Spouses that wish to adopt from a foreign country (outside Italy), should submit an application to the respective Juvenile Court the competency of which is determined on the basis of the place of residence of the spouses. The court on its part, after receiving their application, requests from the competent (on the basis of the spouses' place of residence) Social agency to organize a number of meetings the aim of which is to establish whether the applicants are able to take care of, educate and instruct the child. The social agency arranges several preliminary meetings with the couple, prepares an assessment psycho-social report and sends it to the competent Juvenile Court. The court, on the basis of the psycho-social report and after discussing the evidence collected on the case, makes a decision whether to issue or to withhold the issuing of a certificate of eligibility.

The adoptive applicants, who have received a certificate of eligibility, within a year of being notified about its issuing, have to approach a chosen by them local (Italian) accredited organization licensed to mediate in adoptions from their country of choice. If they do this, the certificate of eligibility they have received becomes permanent and it is not necessary to renew it.

After choosing an accredited adoption mediation agency, the couple has to complete an Adoption preparation course, organized by the agency and required according to Italian law. The applicants' papers are prepared and sent to Bulgaria by the adoption mediation agency.

By virtue of the Hague Convention, the effective Bulgarian court ruling, granting permission for the adoption, is fully recognized in Italy. The competent Juvenile Court issues a declaratory judgment recognizing the foreign court ruling. With this judgment permitting the adoption the blood relations of the adopted child with the birth family are interrupted and with the new family new relations and rights are acquired as in the case of blood relationship.

Once the adopted child has entered Italy, the respective competent Juvenile Court issues an order which has a declaratory and not a constitutive character and which recognizes the foreign court ruling. Proof of this is the fact that the adopted child receives Italian citizenship as of the date when the Bulgarian court ruling has become effective. The judgment of the Italian Juvenile Court is particularly important because it determines the civil status of the child – it decrees the child to be registered in the municipality at the permanent residence address of the adoptive parents and thus officially to be placed in his/her new family.

The Bulgarian court ruling, granting permission for the adoption, cannot be revoked in Italy. The only possible exception is when the child adopted abroad is abandoned on the territory of Italy - he/she continues to be a citizen of Italy with all rights and obligations ensuing from this and with respect to the adopted child all measures are taken that the Italian state takes with respect to other children without parents.


Since May 2012 on the territory of Italy ANIDO has been collaborating with the organization:

Italia, 87100 Cosenza, Viale Giacomo Mancini n°24;
Tel. 0984/793.353
Fax 0984/163.2079
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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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.

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