Inter-Country Adoption New Zealand

Requirements for Adoptive Parents

Philippines baby room
Who can adopt? 

All countries have requirements for adoptive parents, criteria they feel are in the best interests of their children that need adoptive families and meet their legal and cultural requirements.  Below are the key criteria for adoptions via ICANZ. Some are fixed, some are flexible if you're applying for waiting children. In some countries singles are accepted as adoptive applicants. No countries we work with accept applications from couples in de facto, civil union or same-sex relationships; this results from the overseas countries' legislation, policies and culture.

To adopt with ICANZ you must:

  • be a New Zealand permanent resident,
  • be approved as an adoptive parent by the NZ Central Authority for Adoption (part of the Ministry for Children), following preparation and assessment by AFS or Oranga Tamariki- Ministry for Children,
  • be financially secure, able to support a child, with suitable housing, and have the funds to finance the adoption costs and travel,
  • be able to commit to parenting the child yourself, not using long hours of day care or other caregivers during the first year,
  • be in good mental and physical health (interpretation differs for each country),
  • meet the general requirements below, and any further requirements specific to your case and the country,
  • commit to residing in NZ for the length of time required for post placement reporting requirements for your child's country. This may be 2-4 years with extra reports up to 8 years after the adoption.

This chart is not inclusive of all requirements, only the basic requirements. Extra requirements may be applied by the NZCA in individual cases. For example, you'll often only be approved to adopt children younger than any children already in your family.  In some countries criteria can be waived or eased if you are applying to adopt Special Focus or Waiting children. Timeframes may also differ in these cases. Give us a call to chat about your personal situation.

From time to time some programmes may have limited numbers of applicants per year.

  Your Age Marital Status  Family Size Child's age Travel reqd

Child under 4 -couples combined age must be under 90 (singles, under 45) and have Indian heritage unless applying for a child with medical needs.

Child 4-8 -combined age must be under 100 (singles, under 50).

Child 8-18- combined age must be under 110 (singles under 55).

Married at least 2 years at time of application. (You can start the preparation, approval before this)


Single women accepted.

Families with 3 or more children can apply only for waiting children (older children 8+ or medically needy children) Indian heritage couples (must have OCI card or Indian passport) can apply for any age but see age restrictions. Those without OCI or Indian passport should apply for children 5+ or with medical needs or sibling groups. Sibling groups of  3, 4, 5 children also need families. The oldest child is usually 8 -11  years old. Usually 1 trip of 1-2 weeks, but occasionally 2  trips.
 LITHUANIA Preferably no more than 40 yr average age gap between parent(s) and oldest child. Applicants accepted up to early 50s for children aged 9-11 years. Married couples only, no more than 1 divorce. Singles only accepted if Lithuanian citizens.  no restrictions
1) Siblings groups of 3+ children,
2) Individual children over 9.
3) 2 siblings, oldest over 9.
4) younger children 5-8 with health needs (not minor).
1 trip about 2 1/2 weeks, but occasionally 2 trips required.



No more than 45 years between mother's and child's age.

Couples over 50 accepted for waiting list children.

Also education, finance, reference & health criteria - see the Philippines adoption page.

Couples who are married 3 yrs, or 1 yr marriage with 3 year relationship, 2 divorces permitted/parent.

Single women accepted for children 9+

Prefer no more than 3 children at home (this is not fixed and may be waived for waiting children, school age children, medically needy children) Infants, toddlers, children of all ages, including siblings where older sibling is usually 7 - 11. 1 trip, 7 days



Prospective parents must be under 50.

Average age of first time adoptive parents for children under 3  should not be more than about 42-43 years older than the child at time of adoption (ie under 41-42 at time of application to ICANZ). This does not apply to second time adopters.

Older applicants are welcome to apply for older  children.

Couples who are married 2 yrs, or 1 yr marriage with 2 year relationship. No more than 1 divorce.

Single women accepted for older children (eg 8-10) and "medically needy" children, with some extra requirements .

Couples currently unable to have children by birth can apply for a child 0-2 years (ie under 3). Others accepted for older children or with some medical needs.

Those who already have 2 children can apply for children 5+ or medically needy children.

Children of all ages, especially 1-3 years, but also older children. 1 trip, 14-18 days
RUSSIA NZers can no longer adopt in Russia as the NZ Ministry of Social Development has not succeeded in negotiating a bilateral agreement satisfactory to the Russian authorities.