How to Adopt from Italy

Vineyards in the Chianti region.

Adoption Authority

Italy's Adoption Authority

Commissione per le Adozioni Internazionali (Commission for Intercountry Adoption)

NOTE: City Juvenile Courts oversee the handling of adoption cases. For a complete listing of these courts, prospective adoptive parents should visit the following website.

The Process

Because Italy is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Italy must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Italy before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. more.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Italy
  6. Bringing your Child Home

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

The first step in adopting a child from Italy is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Italy.[Learn more].

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Italy. Italy's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Italy's law.

3. Be Matched with a Child:

If both the United States and Italy determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Italy may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.

After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Italy's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-country:

Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Italy, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Italy.

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Italy generally includes the following:

  • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The role of the adoption authority is established by Chapter Three of the Hague Convention. The Adoption authority in Italy has the following roles:
1. Collect, preserve and exchange information about the situation of the child and the prospective adoptive parents, so far as is necessary to complete the adoption;
2. Facilitate, follow and expedite proceedings with a view to obtaining the adoption;
3. Promote the development of adoption counseling and post-adoption services in their States;

provide each other with general evaluation reports about experience with intercountry adoption; reply, in so far as is permitted by the law of their State, to justified requests from other Central Authorities or public authorities for information about a particular adoption situation.

Prospective adoptive parents start the adoption procedure by submitting a request called "Dicharazione alla Disponabilità per l'Adozione" (Declaration of Willingness to Adopt) to the Juvenile Court in the city of their choice. Prospective adoption parents can submit more than one request to Juvenile Courts in various cities as long as all of the Juvenile Courts are aware of all of the requests made. Based on the information provided by the prospective adoptive parents, the Juvenile Court selects the child that better matches the prospective adoptive parents. There are no further details on how the child is selected by the Juvenile Court.

There is a fostering period of one year which can be extended to two years. During that period, the local Juvenile Court monitors and provides support to the prospective adoptive parents. At the end of the fostering period, the Juvenile Court either confirms or revokes the adoption. The Court will request the intervention of the local social services agency to assist and evaluate the couple, prepare a home study, and report the findings to the Court. The Juvenile Court can also appoint a judge and/or a team of specialists, who will hold meetings with the prospective adoptive parents in order to evaluate them and/or to provide additional information.

ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: The appointed local social services agency will then conduct a study on the prospective adoptive parents in order to evaluate their capacity to bring up the minor, their personal economic situation, their personal health conditions, the family environment and the motivation of their request.

  • TIME FRAME: An adoption in Italy can take up to three years from the time the application is filed with the juvenile court until the child is in the new family's home and the adoption is finalized.
  • ADOPTION APPLICATION: (see discussion of request called "Dicharazione alla Disponabilità per l'Adozione" (Declaration of Willingness to Adopt) in "ROLE OF THE COURT" above).
  • ADOPTION FEES: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process. In Italy, national adoption services are free of charge.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The Declaration of Willingness to Adopt should be accompanied by the following documents:

1. Birth Certificates of the prospective adoptive parents;
2. Registry Office certificate ("Stato di Famiglia");
3. Declaration of consent to adopt by the prospective adoptive parents' parents, given in the form of an affidavit or, should they be deceased, death certificate(s) of adoptive parents' parents;
4. Medical certificate issued by family doctor;
5. Evidence of economic means (i.e. tax returns; pay stubs);
6. Criminal record of adoptive parents;
7. Notarial act, or equivalent declaration, attesting that there is neither legal nor de facto separation between the adoptive couple. No documentation about the child/ren is required.

NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how .

6. Bringing Your Child Home:

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

1. Birth Certificate

You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

After the pre-adoptive custody period, the Juvenile Court can either confirm or revoke the adoption. If the adoption is confirmed, the Juvenile Court issues the final adoption decree and notifies the vital records office of the local City Hall. At that point, the child's birth certificate is changed and will reflect the new family name. Adoptive parents can apply for the child's birth certificate at the local City Hall.

2. Italy Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Italy.

Once the birth certificate reports the new family name, the adoptive parents can apply for a passport on behalf of the adopted child. Adoptive parents can submit their child's application at the local police station. An Italian passport valid for the U.S. will be issued to the minor.

3 U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.