Russian Federation

Russian Federation
Please contact IAC’s Advice Line on 020 8447 4753 for the latest information regarding Russia. Also
see ‘Eligibility Criteria for Russia’.
In order to adopt a child from Russia prospective adoptive parents who are habitually resident within
the UK must comply with both UK and Russian law.
UK Law
Under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 any person who is habitually resident in the UK must:
• Be assessed by a registered adoption agency (a Local Authority or Voluntary Adoption
Agency) and approved as suitable to adopt
• Receive from the Department for Education a Certificate of Eligibility confirming that:
o They have been assessed and approved in accordance with Adoption Agencies
Regulations 2005
o If an adoption order is granted in the overseas country, that, subject to the
immigration requirements, the child will be allowed to enter and remain in the UK.
Eligibility for adoption in the UK
In order to adopt from Russia prospective adopters must:
Be over 21 years of age
Hold a UK passport or be settled (i.e. have permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain)
in the UK
Not have been found guilty or cautioned for a prescribed offence
In addition, as prospective adopters will need to adopt a child through the UK Courts they must be:
Domiciled (if a couple one must be domiciled), or
Have been habitually resident in the UK for one year prior to the application to the Court being
made (if a couple both must be habitually resident)
Habitual residence and domicile are legal concepts whose interpretations are subject to case law and
hence it is impossible to provide a definitive checklist.
Prospective adopters who have doubts about their status with regard to either should seek legal
advice at an early stage of the intercountry adoption process.
The Status of Russia
Russia is a signatory but has not acceded nor ratified the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of
Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It is therefore not a Convention
From the 3rd January 2014, the new designated list will include only those countries that have ratified
or acceded to the Hague Convention and where the Convention has also ‘entered into force’ in those
States. The January 2014 designated list will not therefore include Russia.
The designated list will be updated as countries become signatories and implement Hague.
Prospective adoptive parents adopting from Russia will need to comply with the legal process in the
UK and Russia and on return to the UK with their child, will be required to make an adoption
application to the UK court to complete the adoption process.
Adoption law in Russian
Adoptions by foreign prospective adoptive parents are governed by legislation passed in July 1998
that formally permitted foreign adoption and provided a role for foreign adoption agencies. The
Russian Federation approved new regulations concerning intercountry adoptions on the 29th March
2000. The regulations require the Ministry of Education to accredit adoption agencies and
organisations operating in the Russian Federation. Some agencies from the USA and other
countries have received accreditation status, but there is no accredited agency in the UK. Both
accredited agencies in other countries, and other facilitation services have in the past been prepared
to assist UK prospective adoptive parents to complete the Russian part of their adoption procedure.
Some UK prospective adoptive parents have also adopted using a facilitator or lawyer to assist them
in Russia. Whichever path is chosen, prospective adoptive parents are advised to check carefully the
status, reputation and reliability of any organisation or individual assisting them with their adoption
With the exception of the aspects of the adoption process which prospective adoptive parents are
required to carry out in person (as laid down in the Russian Regulations) prospective adoptive
parents may grant Power of Attorney to others to act on their behalf. Other intermediary activities
related to the adoption of children of Russian Nationality is not permitted.
Russian Adoption Authority
The adoption authority in the Federation of Russia is the Ministry of Education and Science of the
Russian Federation (MoE).
Eligibility criteria for Russia
The following eligibility criteria apply for any prospective adoptive parent seeking to adopt a child from
the Federation of Russia:
Age considerations:
• If prospective adoptive parents are married there is no minimum or maximum age limit
At least one prospective adoptive parent (preferably the mother) should not be more than 45
years older than the child being adopted
Some regions within Russia accept prospective adoptive parents who are up to 48 years older
than the child
Older prospective adoptive parents may still be able to adopt, but will be expected to consider
the adoption of older children and they should consult their agency/lawyer in Russia
Single prospective adoptive parents must be at least 16 years older than the child being
Marital status:
Single and married couples are currently permitted to adopt from Russia.
Same sex couples, or single people who are homosexuals cannot adopt as per Russian law.
Prospective adoptive parents who have certain medical conditions may be ineligible to adopt. These
conditions include ‘tuberculosis (acute and chronic), illness of the internal organs and nervous
system, dysfunction of the limbs, infectious diseases, drug and alcohol addictions, psychiatric
disorders, and any disability preventing the prospective adoptive parent from working. In most
regions prospective adoptive parents who been diagnosed with cancer will not be considered
whatever their prognosis. Prospective adoptive parents should consult with their agency/lawyer in
Children in the family:
Preference is given to prospective adoptive parents who do not have children, but a number of
applicants with previously adopted children, or birth children, have successfully adopted from Russia.
Criminal Records:
Applications will not be accepted from people who have a criminal record 'for intended crime against
the life or health of people'.
Other requirements for prospective adoptive parents:
• Applications will not be accepted from those who have previously been deprived of their
parental rights, or who have been found to be 'incapable or to have limited capabilities'.
• If only one partner of a married couple wishes to adopt, the other spouse should make a
written statement that she/he does not have any objections. A consent by one of the spouses
is not required if this spouse is legally proclaimed incapable, his or her whereabouts are
unknown or the relationship between the spouses has ceased and they have been living apart
for more than one year.
IAC have been advised of recent changes to Russian law that will affect single UK applicants. The
new law states that adoption applications by single adopters resident in countries where same sex
marriage is legal are not permitted. The effect for current UK applicants is that until a same sex
marriage law is passed in the UK, single prospective adopters will need to add a lawyer’s letter to
their paperwork for Russia, confirming that same sex marriage is not permitted in the UK. However,
once the same sex marriage law takes effect in the UK, it will no longer be possible for single
applicants to apply to adopt from Russia.
Latest information - From the 29th March 2014, same sex marriages will take place in the UK and as
a consequence of this new legislation, Russian Judges may not be able to make adoption orders in
respect of all UK prospective intercountry adopters regardless of their status - from that date, or
earlier. Further confirmation is awaited.
Useful Links
A full list of countries that are signatories and whom have entered into force (EIF) to the Hague
Convention are listed on:
The new The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013 can be read/downloaded at
the following:
Home Office information re Designated List
Further details re Intercountry Adoption can also be obtained from:
Whilst Intercountry Adoption Centre has taken care to ensure that this information is accurate at the
time of printing, it is for the reader’s general information only. The Intercountry Adoption Centre
cannot guarantee that it will be found to be comprehensive or accurate in every detail. Where further
clarification is needed, additional advice should be sought.
January 2014