Adopting from Switzerland

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Notice: As of July 14, 2014, all individuals and agencies facilitating international adoptions must be in compliance with the Intercountry Universal Accreditation Act.

The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

About Switzerland

The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

Hague Convention Information

Switzerland is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention ). Therefore, all adoptions between Switzerland and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and the U.S. law implements the Convention. To learn more please read about Switzerland and the Hague Convention.

Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Switzerland is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. In order for an American applicant to adopt a child from Switzerland, within the framework of the Hague Adoption Convention, a determination of eligibility must first be made by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To learn more please read about Who Can Adopt from Switzerland.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because Switzerland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Switzerland must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be considered eligible for adoption. For example; the Convention requires that Switzerland attempt to place a child with a family in Switzerland before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Switzerland's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for a prospective adopter to bring him or her back to the United States.

How to Adopt

Adoption Authority

Switzerland's Adoption Authority

The Government office responsible for adoptions in Switzerland is the Municipality (Gemeinde/Commune/Comuni) and/or the local Guardianship Board. The physical location of a prospective adopter directly affects which local governing authority will process their application. Each of the 26 Cantons in Switzerland now has a Central Authority. In order to determine which authority is most relevant, the prospective adopting parents or individual should contact the Cantonal Central Authority (CCA). A list of approved agencies is available from the Embassy or on the Internet at

The Process

As Switzerland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, Switzerland must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. The requirements outlined in the Treaty must be followed to successfully prosecute an adoption from within Switzerland.

NOTE: The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Switzerland, including adoptions of Swiss children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Switzerland.

  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 Switzerland
  6. Bring your child Home

To learn more please read about How to Adopt from Switzerland.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Switzerland. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Getting or renewing a passport is easy. To learn more please read about Traveling Abroad in Switzerland.

After Adoption

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Child Welfare Information Gateway

North American Council on Adoptable Children

Adoption Services Support Group for Adopting Persons

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Switzerland

Sulgeneckstrasse 19 3007 Bern Internet: U.S. Embassy Switzerland

The Swiss Adoption Authority

Contact the appropriate Cantonal Central Authority (CCA). A list of approved agencies is available from the Embassy.

Embassy of Switzerland

2900 Cathedral Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008 Tel: (202) 745-7900 Fax: (202) 387-2564 Internet: Embassy of Switzerland

Switzerland also has consulates in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Office of Children's Issues

U.S. Department of State CA/OCS/CI SA-17, 9th Floor Washington, DC 20522-1709 Tel:1-888-407-4747 E-mail: Internet: U.S. Department of State

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)


Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information