Adoptions in the Dominican Republic
International adoptions in the Dominican Republic
are governed by Law #136-03. All adoptions must be done through an
official Dominican government entity called CONANI (“Consejo Nacional
para la Niñez y la Adolescencia” - National Council for Children and
Adolescents). Private adoptions are not possible under the Law. All
children are assigned to the adopting parents by CONANI.
Adoptions in the Dominican Republic are “privileged,” meaning that the
adopted child will have the same rights as a biological child in his or
her new family. Adoptions are also irrevocable.
The general requirements for an international adoption are the
(1) The adopting parents must be married, having lived together as a
couple for at least five years.
(2) The adopting parents must be at least thirty years old and no more
than sixty years old.
(3) The age difference between the adopting parents and the adopted
child must be at least fifteen years.
(4) The child’s parents must consent to the adoption. In case of
orphans, the authorization is obtained from the Court of Children and
Adolescents (“Tribunal de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes.”)
(5) The adopting parents must live with the child in the Dominican
Republic for at least sixty days. This period is reduced to thirty days
if the child is twelve years old or older.
(6) Children twelve years old or more must approve their own adoption.
(7) The adopting parents’ biological children who are twelve years old
or older must give their opinion on the adoption.
The Adoption Process
Adopting a child in the Dominican Republic is a three-step process:
(1) The applicants must file an application with the Adoptions
Department at CONANI.
(2) I f approved, the decision by CONANI must be reviewed and approved
by the Court for Children and Adolescents.
(3) The decision by the Court is reviewed by the Civil Registry Division
of the Junta Central Electoral which authorizes the issuance of a new
Filing of the Application at CONANI
A complete application file at CONANI must contain the following
(1) Power-of-Attorney to the lawyer(s) in charge of the adoption.
(2) Birth certificates of the adopting parents.
(3) Marriage certificate of the adopting parents.
(4) Copies of the adopting parents’ passports and copies of the National
Identification Cards (“cédulas”) of the biological parents.
(5) Biopsychosocial study of the adopting parents.
(6) Consent to the adoption by the biological parents or legal guardian.
(7) Non-opposition statement from the adoptee, if twelve years old or
(8) Certification from the appropriate authority in the adopting
parents’ country of residence that they have a clean police record.
(9) Affidavit from a religious or community organization in the adopting
parents’ country of residence attesting to their good morals and civic
(10) Affidavit from the appropriate authority in the adopting country of
residence guaranteeing that the adopted child will be monitored while
living with them until the child’s naturalization in the adopting
parents’ country of residence.
(11) Certificates of good health from a doctor in the adopting parents’
country of residence.
(12) Evidence of the adopting financial solvency (bank statements,
letters from employers stating salaries, etc.).
(13) Authorization or visa for the adopted child’s entrance into the
adopting parents’ country of residence.
All documents must be submitted to CONANI in originals duly
authenticated at the nearest Dominican Consulate. If the originals are
not in Spanish, a certified translation into Spanish must also be
If CONANI finds the applicants are fit for adoption, it will assign the
family a child as soon as one is available. If there are many candidate
families waiting for children, the criteria for assignments are as
(1) Dominican families will be preferred to non-Dominican families.
(2) Among non-Dominican families, those coming from countries who have
ratified the Hague Convention on Adoptions will be preferred.
(3) Finally, the oldest application on file is assigned a child first.
Once a child has been assigned, the adopting couple must come to the
Dominican Republic to live with the child, under the supervision of
CONANI, for a period of at least sixty days. This period is reduced to
thirty days if the child is twelve years old or older.
If cohabitation with the child is successful, CONANI will issue, within
sixty days from the termination of the cohabitation period, a
certificate stating the applicants have been found to be fit to adopt
The Court for Children and Adolescents of the domicile of the legal
guardian of the child will have jurisdiction over the adoption. The
attorney for the adopting parents must submit a petition to the Court
with all the documentation mentioned above. Once received, the file is
sent to the District Attorney for Children and Adolescents for an
opinion. After receiving the opinion from the District Attorney, the
Court will examine the documentation to ensure that all legal
requirements have been met and will approve or reject the petition. If
the file is incomplete, the Court may grant the petitioner ten days to
complete the file.
The decision of the Court approving the adoption must be notified to the
biological parents of the child. The decision must also be registered,
legalized and authenticated at the Attorney General’s Office of the
Dominican Republic, at the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the
Dominican Republic and the Consulate in the Dominican Republic of the
country of residence of the adopting parents.
New Birth Certificate
To obtain a new birth certificate for the adopted child, a copy of the
entire adoption file, including the Court decision, must be submitted to
the Civil Registry Division of the “Junta Central Electoral” for review.
If the adoption is found to be in order, the Civil Registry Division
will authorize the Civil Registry which issued the original birth
certificate to issue a new one with the surnames of the adopting family.
The new birth certificate will not make any reference to the biological
parents of the adopted child.
The new birth certificate should also be authenticated at the Junta
Central Electoral, at the Attorney General’s Office of the Dominican
Republic, at the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic
and at the Consulate in the Dominican Republic of the country of
residence of the adopting parents.
The Adoption File
All documentation related to the adoption will be kept on file at the
Court for Children and Adolescents for a period of thirty years. Only
the adopting parents, the adopted child after reaching legal age (18)
and the District Attorney for Children and Adolescents may request
copies of the documents therein. Every adopted child has the right to
know about his or her biological family. The adopting parents will
determine the best time to reveal this information to the child.
For more information, see