Australians can apply to adopt a child from the Republic of Korea (ROK) through the formal intercountry adoption program in their home state or territory. The Intercountry Adoption Australia website has been created by the Australian Government to help guide parents wanting to adopt a child from overseas. This website provides the contact details for your relevant state or territory office.
For detailed information on Australia’s intercountry adoption program with the ROK, including the ROK’s eligibility requirements, please refer to the South Korea country page on the Intercountry Adoption Australia website.
Intercountry adoption applications should be submitted through your state or territory government, not through the Australian Embassy in Seoul.
Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) is the ROK adoption agency responsible for facilitating intercountry adoptions to Australia. ESWS provides an annual quota for the number of adoption application files that Australia can send to the ROK.
The Australian Embassy in Seoul works with ESWS on the intercountry adoption program. In this context, we are able to provide a general overview of the ROK’s intercountry adoption processes. We note, however, that these processes are subject to change by the ROK Government, which may not necessarily notify us immediately of the changes.
After taking custody of a child, ESWS must first try to match the child with a domestic (ROK) family. If this is unsuccessful, ESWS is then able to match the child with an international family. After matching a child with an Australian family, ESWS will progress the adoption through ROK Ministry of Health and Welfare processes, and then seek to finalise the adoption through the ROK Family Court.
The current waiting time from the time a child is matched with an Australian family to the time of the initial ROK Family Court hearing is approximately two years. Some cases progress faster than this, and some take longer.
Both prospective parents are expected to be present in the ROK for about one week for the initial Family Court hearing. Should the Court approve the adoption, a return visit to the ROK by at least one parent will be necessary to take custody of the child (usually two months after the initial court date). We note that during the Family Court process, the Court will contact the child’s biological parents and offer them the chance to re-claim custody of the child.
There are two pathways available for a child adopted from the ROK under the intercountry adoption program to enter Australia:
- Apply for Australian citizenship and an Australian passport in the ROK; or
- Apply for an Adoption (subclass 102) visa and apply for Australian citizenship once the child arrives in Australia.
Children adopted from the ROK under an intercountry adoption process are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by adoption at the Visa Section, Australian Embassy Seoul. If a citizenship certificate is successfully issued, the child may then apply for a passport with the Consular and Passports Section at the Australian Embassy in Seoul. Parents can choose to apply for an Emergency Passport, which is valid for seven months and has four pages, or a Full Validity Minor’s Passport, which is valid for five years and has 32 pages. Parents can also choose to apply for both passports at once.
For the citizenship application, ESWS may assist the family in preparing some of the necessary documentation (such as ROK birth certificates), and may pre-submit these to the Australian Embassy in Seoul.
How much does this pathway cost?
- Fees for an Australian citizenship by adoption application can change. Information on the visa application charge and methods of payment can be found in Fees and Forms webpage.
- Fees for an Australian Emergency Passport can be found here: https://www.passports.gov.au/Pages/Fees.aspx. Fees must be paid in cash at the point of application in the Korean Won equivalent.
- Fees for a Full Validity Minor’s Passport can be found here: https://www.passports.gov.au/Pages/Fees.aspx. Fees must be paid in cash at the point of application in the Korean Won equivalent.
How long does this pathway take?
The Australian Embassy in Seoul will endeavour to provide seamless services for intercountry adoption citizenship and passport applications. Should the applications be correctly submitted along with all correct documentation, we will endeavour to complete the entire process (other than the Full Validity Minor’s passport) within two working days.
Emergency Passports are issued at the Australian Embassy in Seoul and will be ready for collection within 48 hours of application.
Full Validity Minor’s Passports are issued in Australia and can take up to approximately three weeks to be issued. A Full Validity Minor’s Passport can be collected in Australia, if the child travels to Australia on an Emergency Passport.
For a citizenship by adoption application in Seoul, the required documentation is as follows:
- Form 1272, Citizenship by adoption application form;
- Birth certificate;
- Evidence of any change of name;
- Passport, if any;
- Identity declaration in the application form completed, including an endorsed passport-sized photograph;
- Evidence of adoptive parent’s Australian citizenship, such as their full Australian birth certificate, certificate of Australian citizenship or Australian passport;
- Adoptive parent’s full birth certificate if they were not born in Australia;
- Evidence of links between adoptive parent’s present and previous names (e.g. marriage or divorce certificate, if applicable);
- Certificate issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as evidence of change of name of the adoptive parent, if applicable;
- Proof of identification documents for the responsible parent that collectively show a signature, photograph and a current residential address (e.g. a passport, driver’s licence, credit card or utilities bill);
- ROK Family Court order supporting the adoption; and
- Letter from the Australian state or territory central adoption authority supporting the adoption.
For an Emergency Passport application / Full Validity Minor’s Passport application in Seoul, the required documentation is as follows:
- A passport application form (PC8 form);
- An Australian citizenship certificate;
- A ROK birth certificate, or an Australian RBDM birth certificate (if available);
- An ‘Information Letter’ provided on State or Territory central authority letterhead including details of the child’s name, birth date and parents’ full names (if available);
- Evidence of parental responsibility (for example, an adoption compliance certificate, adoption registration certificate; birth Notarial certificate and adoptions Notarial certificate); and
- An official translation of overseas adoption documentation from the ROK Family Court (or a National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an Australian Embassy recognised translation service).
Children adopted from the ROK under an intercountry adoption process are eligible to apply for an Adoption (subclass 102) Visa at the Visa Section, Australian Embassy Seoul. An Adoption (subclass 102) Visa is a permanent residence visa and a child who has been granted an Adoption (subclass 102) Visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship once they are in Australia.
ESWS may assist the family preparing a ROK passport for the child, and in preparing some of the necessary documentation for the Australian visa application (such as ROK birth certificates). ESWS will work with the Australian Embassy in Seoul to ensure that the correct documents are provided.
How much does this pathway cost?
As visa application charges can change, please refer to the Fees and Forms page for information on the visa application charge and methods of payment.
How long does this pathway take?
Should the application be correctly submitted along with all correct documentation, we will endeavour to complete the entire process as soon as possible.
For an Adoption visa (subclass 102) application in Seoul, the required documentation is as follows:
- Form 47CH, Application for migration to Australia by a child
- Form 40CH, Sponsorship for a child to migrate to Australia
- Passport-sized photograph with the name of the child written on the back
- Birth certificate
- Evidence of any change of name
- ROK Passport
- Evidence that the child’s parent is an Australian citizen, a holder of an Australian permanent resident visa, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, such as:
- their birth certificate
- an Australian passport or foreign passport containing evidence of permanent residence, or Australian citizenship certificate
- for New Zealand citizens, evidence of length of residence in Australia and of continuing links with Australia
- Photocopies of one of the following documents to show the sponsor’s employment during the past two years:
- an Australian income or overseas tax assessment notice
- a letter from the sponsor’s employer confirming length of employment and annual salary payslips
- if the sponsor is self-employed or self-funded from other sources, business documents or a letter from the sponsor’s accountant
- If the sponsor has paid child support or given an assurance of support for anyone else, the sponsor must provide a statement that shows:
- the sponsor’s relationship with that other person or those people
- the dates of lodgement of any sponsorship or nominations (including any current sponsorship) or assurances of support
- the amount and frequency of child support payments
- ROK Family Court order supporting the adoption
- Letter from the Australian state or territory central adoption authority supporting the adoption
IMPORTANT: If an Adoption (subclass 102) visa is granted, you can travel in and out of Australia as many times as you want for up to five years on the visa from the date of visa grant. If you want to travel Australia after this time, you must apply for a Resident Return visa (subclass 155) to re-enter Australia as a permanent resident. There are residence requirements that you must satisfy in order for Resident Return visa to be granted. Please refer to information on Resident Return visa (subclass 155).
The Australian Government strongly warns Australians against trying to arrange ‘expatriate adoptions’ – when an Australian citizen adopts a child in another country following that country’s domestic rules and procedures. You should contact the central authority in your state or territory before going ahead with any application to an overseas authority.
For these adoptions to be recognised in Australia, you must have lived in the relevant country for 12 months or more, and prove that you were not living overseas to bypass the legal requirements for the entry of your adopted child into Australia, and that you have lawfully acquired full parental rights of the adopted child.
The Department of Home Affairs may not grant a visa to a child who does not meet the requirements set out in the Migration Regulation 1994, even if the adoption has already occurred and is lawful in the Republic of Korea. As there are risks for both the child and the adoptive parents in this process, before you proceed with an expatriate adoption, it is recommended that you seek independent legal advice both in Australia and in the Republic of Korea.