Understanding the process
Since 1999, the Principality has been party to the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
The Department of Justice (DSJ) is the competent authority with regard to international adoption, including when the child to be adopted lives in a country that is not party to the Hague Convention. People who are normally resident in the Principality can initiate procedures to adopt a child who normally resides in another country.
Couples who have been married for more than five years can request a plenary adoption.
Unmarried couples and people who are single can only request a simple adoption.
You must notify the Department of Justice in writing of your intention to adopt a child abroad.
Your request must include:
- Your address and telephone number(s)
- Details of your family situation
On receipt of this letter, the Department of Justice will arrange an appointment to see you.
During your interview at the Department of Justice, you will be given full details of the procedures to be followed.
You will be given information on the various investigations (into your morality, social and medical circumstances and psychological state) carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Social Services and the Police Department to obtain the opinions of these public authorities on the applicants' suitability for adoption.
If their opinion is favourable, a report will be written by the Director of the Department of Justice. It will include, as a conclusion, a declaration certifying that you qualify and are suitable for adoption (this declaration is similar to the approval required under French law.)
However, if the results of the various reports are unfavourable, you will be sent a letter to inform you that approval cannot be given.
The original report, together with any documents required under the legislation of the child's country of origin, is then sent to the competent central authority of that country. You will be sent a copy for the next steps of the procedure.
The adoption procedure is then instigated in the country of origin (if necessary, it is preceded by the granting of a mandate by the adoptive parents in favour of the lawyers' office representing their interests during the proceedings). It usually results in either a decision to place the child, or an adoption ruling that expressly mentions the biological parents' consent to the adoption.
After approval has been obtained, you should request a declaration of entry and permanent residence in the Principality of Monaco from the Ministry of Interior, for the benefit of the child to be adopted. This declaration certifies that the Monegasque authorities will take all the steps necessary for the child to be authorised to enter Monegasque territory and reside there on a permanent basis.
Parents usually travel to the country of origin to collect the child.
As soon as you return to the Principality with the child, you should contact the person in charge of international adoptions at the Department of Justice to start procedures for checking that the child is settling well in his or her new home, and for any required follow up.
At the end of the placement period for the child in his or her new home, the parents must file a request for adoption with the chamber of the Court of First Instance, if all the conditions stipulated by Monegasque law have been met.
Moreover, if an adoption ruling has already been made by a court in the child's country of origin, it will be necessary to establish whether or not that country is a signatory to the 1993 Hague Convention. If so, an adoption certified as in accordance with the Convention by the competent authority of the contracting country where it took place will be legally recognised in the other contracting countries; if not, it will be necessary to initiate an exequatur procedure before the Tribunal of First Instance.