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Information on the Procedure for Adoption of Children Citizens of the Russian Federation by Aliens


      Adoption by aliens of children citizens of the Russian Federation is admissible only in those cases when it is impossible to transfer such children for upbringing to families of Russian citizens permanently living in Russia or for adoption by the childrens relations irrespective of their citizenship and domicile (Art. 124 of the Family Code of RF).

      In practice the adoption arrangements vary. Foreign citizens wishing to adopt a child (hereinafter the candidates for foster parents) may select the child themselves and prepare all the documents required for adoption also themselves, or commission representations of specialized agencies or adoption organizations authorized by foreign states to undertake the above actions. As regards adoption of children, mediation, i.e. any activities of other persons aimed at selecting and transferring children for adoption on behalf of those wishing to adopt, including passing of information about a child, taking of photos and video-recording and medical examination of the child to be adopted is prohibited (Decree of the Government of RF dated 29 March 2000, No. 275).

      Representations of foreign organizations, in compliance with the Provision On the Activities of Children Adoption Agencies and Organizations of Foreign States in the Territory of RF and Control Over These Activities approved by the Decree of the Government of RF dated 28 March 2000, No. 268, exercise the following authorities:

-      submit to respective executive authorities of the subject of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Education of RF the documents of the candidates for foster parents residing on the territory of the country where the foreign organization is located, in order to select a child for adoption, as well as to the court to establish the fact of adoption;

-      receive in a prescribed manner a child selection warrant for the candidates for foster parents;

-      arrange meeting and accommodation of the candidates for foster parents, render necessary assistance in legalization of adoption, as well as carry out other activities in representing the interests of the candidates for foster parents on the territory of Russia permitted by Russian law.

      In order to receive permission to open a representation of a foreign organization (hereinafter the accreditation), non-profit-making foreign organizations engaged in adoption of children are required to be in business on the territory of their respective countries at least for five years prior to filing an application for accreditation.

      The above business term requirement is not applicable to foreign governmental agencies.

      A foreign organization wishing to open a representation in Russia files with the Ministry of Education of RF an application attached with the following documents:
1)      a copy of the constituent documents, information about its non-profit-making status, business structure, personnel;

2)      a copy of the license (or another document) issued by competent authorities of its home country confirming the powers of the foreign organization concerned to undertake children adoption activities;

3)      a reference letter from competent licensing or supervising authorities in its home country attesting qualification of the foreign organization concerned to carry out children adoption activities in Russia;

4)      a list of services provided by the foreign organization to the candidates for foster parents;

5)      a commitment to exercise control over the living and upbringing conditions of the adopted children and to provide respective reports and information in a prescribed manner, as well as to exercise control over registration of the adopted child with the consular establishment of the Russian Federation upon the foster parents arrival in their home country;

6)      information on the Head and personnel of the foreign organization representation in Russia (passport particulars, information on education and employment record, address and phone number).

      The documents listed in items 2) and 3) hereinabove are valid within 6 months upon their issuance.

      All the documents to be submitted must be legalized, translated into Russian, and the translation must be notarized in a prescribed manner.

      The Ministry of Education of RF is entitled to additionally request originals of the constituent documents of foreign organizations, information by foreign organizations and public competent authorities on the activities of the above organizations, as well as legislative acts pertaining to protection of interests of the children in the home country of the foreign organization.

      The issue of accreditation of a foreign organization representation (refusal to accredit it, termination of accreditation before the appointed time, extension of the accreditation period) is considered by the Ministry of Education of RF within 3 months following the date of submission of the above documents to the Ministry.

      The decision to accredit the representation of a foreign organization (to refuse accreditation, to terminate the accreditation before the appointed time, or to extend the accreditation period) is taken by the Ministry of Education of RF by agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RF, the Ministry of Interior of RF, the Ministry of Justice of RF, the Ministry of Health of RF, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development of RF.

      The above federal executive authorities check the activities of foreign organization within the limits of their competence and submit to the Ministry of Education of RF their opinions on the possibility to accredit representations of foreign organizations.

      The decision to accredit the representation of a foreign organization (to refuse accreditation, to terminate it before the appointed time or to extend the accreditation period) is granted by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation within 10 days following the date it was made.

      Representations of foreign organizations are accredited for the period of 1 year.

      Based on the decision to accredit, the representation of a foreign organization applies to the State Registration Chamber at the Ministry of Justice of RF within 1 month, and the said Chamber enters the representation to the unified register of foreign companies representations on the territory of the Russian Federation and issues a respective certificate also within 1 month.

      The above certificate is to be submitted to the Ministry of Education of RF.

      When the candidates for foster parents resort to the database of the representation, this significantly simplifies their task of selecting a child for adoption and preparing the required documents. Candidates for foster parents who have used services of representations of foreign organizations come, as a rule, only to attend a court hearing, having already seen the child on a photo or video cassette.

      Candidates for foster parents wishing to adopt a child citizen of the Russian Federation on their own, without assistance of various specialized agencies, resort to guardianship and trusteeship authorities of the Russian Federation and submit documents attesting their identity. The guardianship and trusteeship agency provides the candidates for foster parents with the information about the child with respect to whom exist the grounds for adoption by aliens defined by the Family Code of RF, i.e. it is impossible to transfer the child concerned for upbringing in Russian families permanently living in Russia or to the childs relations irrespective of their citizenship and domicile.

      Information about a particular child to be adopted and the warrant to visit the child at his/her residence or location, are granted directly to the candidates for foster parents against the following documents:

a)      an application requesting to select a child for adoption, specifying the full name and address of the candidates for foster parents, as well as the gender, age, and other particulars of the child they wish to adopt;

b)      a written commitment of the candidates for foster parents to register the child to be adopted with the consular establishment of the Russian Federation in a prescribed manner;

c)      a written commitment of the candidates for foster parents to provide access to the child in order to inspect his/her living and upbringing conditions;

d)      copies of passports or other IDs;

e)      an opinion of a competent agency in the home country of the candidates for foster parents on their living conditions and the possibility for them to become foster parents. The opinion should be attached with photos of the candidates for foster parent family;

f)      written commitments of the foreign organization of the candidates for foster parents home country to exercise control over the living and upbringing conditions of the child to be adopted and the latters registration with the consular establishment of the Russian Federation in a prescribed manner.

      Candidates for foster parents, in the event they move to another country for the period of over 1 year (to work or by any other reason) at the time the adoption of a child is legally implemented, in addition to the documents specified in items a)-d), are to submit the following documents:

-      an opinion on the possibility for them to become foster parents and the commitment to exercise control over the living and upbringing conditions of the child to be adopted upon their return to their home country issued by competent authorities of their home country;

-      an opinion on the living conditions and the commitment to exercise control over the living and upbringing conditions of the child to be adopted and to register the child with the consular establishment of the Russian Federation in a prescribed manner upon return to their home country issued by the competent authorities of the country where they were living at the time the adoption was legally implemented.

      All the documents to be submitted must be legalized in a prescribed manner, translated into Russian, and the translation must be notarized in the consular establishment or diplomatic representation of the Russian Federation located in the candidates for foster parents country of permanent residence, or by a notary in Russia.

      The documents are effective for 1 year upon their issue.


      If the candidates for foster parents failed to select a child for adoption on the territories of two subjects of the Russian Federation, they can directly apply to the Ministry of Education of RF for registration and obtaining information about the child to be adopted.

      The aliens wishing to adopt a child citizen of the Russian Federation living outside the Russian Federation are requested to receive a preliminary approval of adoption from the territorial guardianship and trusteeship authorities of the Russian Federation under whose jurisdiction the child or his/her parents (or one of these) had lived before they left Russia.
      In order to receive the above approval, the persons concerned must submit through a respective consular establishment or diplomatic representation of RF or directly to the executive authorities of the subject of RF on whose territory the child or his/her parents (or one of these) had lived before they left Russia, the following documents:

1)      a childs birth certificate;
2)      if a child is 10 years old or more his/her consent to be adopted;
3)      a childs parents (parents) consent to adoption or a document confirming the existence of one of the circumstances in which the adoption of a child is allowed without his/her parents consent in compliance with the Family Code of RF (the parents are unknown, or recognized by court as missing, or incapable, or deprived by court of their parents rights, or have not been living with a child for over 6 months and evade upbringing of the child);
4)      an opinion of the competent authorities in the home country of the candidates for foster parents substantiating adoption and its compliance with the interests of the child to be adopted.

      If the child to be adopted or his/her parents citizens of the Russian Federation never lived in Russia, a preliminary approval of adoption of such a child is to be granted by the Ministry of Education of RF. In this case adoption of the child is effected by the competent authorities in the home country of the candidates for foster parents.

      After a particular child has been selected, the candidates for foster parents apply to the court in order to establish adoption. Adoption is established by the court at the place of residence (location) of the child to be adopted against application of the candidates for foster parents (Art. 263 of the Code of Civil Practices of RF).

      The application requesting establishment of adoption must specify the following:

1)      the full name(s) of the candidate(s) for foster parent(s), his/her/their residence address;
2)      the full name and the DOB of the child to be adopted, his/her residence (location) address, information about his/her parents and whether he/she has any siblings;
3)      the circumstances substantiating the request of the candidate(s) for foster parent(s) to establish adoption and the proof thereof;
4)      the request to change the surname, patronymic or family name of the child to be adopted, his DOB (in the event a baby under 1 year is to be adopted), the place of birth of the child to be adopted, to enter the foster parent(s) to the birth register as the parent(s) of the child concerned should the foster parent(s) wish to make respective amendments of the childs birth registration.

      The application to establish adoption must be attached with the following:

1)      a copy of the foster parents birth certificate in the event the child is adopted by a single person;
2)      a copy of the marriage certificate of the foster parent(s) in the event the child is adopted by married person(s);
3)      in the event the child is adopted by one of the spouses the consent of the other spouse or a document confirming that the spouses have terminated their marital relations, or have been separate for over 1 year and the residence address of the other spouse is unknown. In case it is impossible to attach a respective document to the application, the application must specify the proof confirming the above facts;
4)      a health certificate of the foster parent(s);
5)      a reference from the foster parents (parents) employer(s) specifying the post and salary/wage of the foster parent(s) or a tax return, or another document attesting their income;
6)      a document confirming the right to use living premises or the title of property thereof;
7)      in the event of adoption of a child - citizen of Russia by aliens the documents specified in items 1-6, as well as an opinion of the competent authorities of the candidates for foster parents home country on their living conditions and on the possibility for them to become foster parents; a permission from competent authorities of a respective country for the child to enter the country concerned and permanently live there.

      When preparing the case for hearing, the judge obliges the guardianship and trusteeship authorities at the place of residence (location) of the child to be adopted to adduce to the court an opinion substantiating adoption and its compliance with the interests of the child to be adopted.

      The above opinion must be attached with the following:

1)      the act of inspection of the living conditions of the foster parent(s) signed by the guardianship and trusteeship authorities at the place of residence (location) of the child to be adopted or at the place of residence (location) of the foster parent(s);
2)      a birth certificate of the child to be adopted;
3)      a health certificate attesting the health, physical and mental maturity of the child to be adopted;
4)      in the event the child to be adopted is 10 years old or more his/her consent to be adopted and to possible changes of his/her surname, patronymic name, family name and to register the foster parent(s) as his/her parent(s) (with the exception of cases when no such consent is required by law);
5)      consent of the childs parents to his/her adoption (in case the parents of the child to be adopted are minors, or under 16 years of age also consent of their lawful representatives , and in absence of those consent of the guardianship and trusteeship authorities) or a document confirming existence of one of the circumstances in which adoption of a child is allowed without consent of his/her parents in accordance with Article 130 of the Family Code of RF (the parents are unknown or recognized by court as missing, incapable, or deprived by court of their parents rights, or have not been living with the child for over 6 months and evade his/her upbringing and upkeep by reasons acknowledged by court as inadequate);
6)      onsent to adoption given by the childs guardian or head of the institution which takes care of a parentless child;
7)      in the event the child is adopted by aliens other than the childs relations a document confirming availability of information on the child to be adopted in the state databank of parentless children, as well as the documents confirming impossibility to transfer the child for upbringing by a Russian family permanently living in Russia or for adoption by the childs relations irrespective of their citizenship and domicile.

      If necessary, the court may require to submit other data, as well.

      Involvement of the foster parent(s), a representative of the guardianship and trusteeship authorities, and the public prosecutor in the court hearing establishing adoption is obligatory.

      If necessary, the court may invite the parents of the child to be adopted or his/her other lawful representatives, relations, and other interested parties, as well as the child himself provided the child has reached 10 years of age.

      The hearings of cases establishing adoption are conducted by the court in private.

      The court, having considered the application to adopt a child on its merits, renders a judgement to uphold the application or to dismiss it in whole or in part of satisfying the foster parents request to register them as the childs parents in the birth register and also to change the childs DOB and place of birth.

      When the application is upheld, the mutual rights and obligations of the foster parent(s) and the adopted child are established as of the date the judgement establishing the child adoption comes into force.

      A copy of the judgement establishing adoption is forwarded by the court within 3 days after it becomes effective to the registry office of the same district as the court, in order to effect a statutory registration of the child adoption.

      Pursuant to the Rules Registration by Consular Establishments of RF of the Children Citizens of RF Adopted by Aliens approved by the Decree of the Government of RF dated 29 March 2000, No. 275, another requisite condition of adoption is registration of the adopted children with a consular establishment of RF and in absence of such establishment with a diplomatic representation of RF. The children are to be registered with the above institutions within 3 months following their arrival in their foster parents home country.

      In order to register the adopted child, the foster parents must submit to the consular establishment the following documents:

1)      an application to register the adopted child attached with 2 photos of the child;
2)      an adoption certificate;
3)      IDs of the foster parents and the child.

      The information about the child will be entered onto the index card whose format is approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

      The consular establishment makes a note in the passport of the adopted child that the child has been registered.

      If the foster parents so wish, the adopted child may be registered prior to leaving Russia through the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RF.

      In the above case the said Department sends the foster parents application to register the child, the childs index card and photos to the consular establishment at the foster parents place of residence in their home country and makes a registration note in the childs passport.

      In the event the adopted childs residence address is changed, the foster parents must advise the same to the consular establishment with which the child is registered and to register the child with the consular establishment at the place of their new residence.


Margarita D. Lukashova,
Director & partner

Maxim Yu. Kryzhansky,
Expert, associate lawyer


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