Requirements And Procedures For Adopting A Child

Are you considering adopting a child? If so, you will certainly encounter a number of obstacles along with the ability to make sound decisions. In this blog we give you a brief overview of all the legal requirements for adopting a child in Switzerland.

Basic Requirements

If you are a couple wishing to a adopt child according to Swiss law you must have been married for at least five years or both be at least 35 years of age. The situation differs for a single person; the Swiss law stipulate that you may only adopt a child only if it is impossible to jointly adopt a child with your spouse. If you are single and unmarried, you have to be 35 years of age, or at least be 16 years older than the child.

Prospective parents are assessed before they receive the authorization for adoption. The authorities will evaluate the parents ability to look after the child and provide long-term care for him or her. If the child is 16 years of age and capable of forming his own opinion, he must give his consent prior to the adoption. The situation differs if the child is younger or legally abandoned and does not know the whereabouts of his biological parents.

Legal Fees

As a prospective parent you will have to pay for all related travel documents for your child i.e. entry visa, flights and medical tests as required. There are also other basic administrative costs and legal fees that will need to be paid before the adoption process is completed. All administrative fees will need to be paid to the Central Authority of the Confederation, the confederation usually charges CHF 400 for the services provided, including requests related to the child’s arrival.

The fees will cost CHF 200 if the documents are collected by an intermediary body for the confederation, and sent directly to the central authority for adoption abroad. Additional costs will apply if the adoption procedure takes longer, your local canton will also request a fee to legalize the adoption.

Who To Contact

Depending on your circumstances and whether you wish to adopt a child in Switzerland or abroad the process may take between six months to seven years. Nevertheless, it is vital to contact the relevant authorities and obtain all the necessary information beforehand to ensure that the process runs smoothly. The Central Authority of the Confederation is responsible for coordinating all matters related to the adoption in Switzerland.

The confederation will then liaise with the appropriate authorities abroad and other intermediary organizations to obtain all the information on the adoption case. The relevant organizations will then provide potential adoptive parents with the necessary information and documentation needed.

Adopting Your Spouse’s Child

In certain circumstances a stepparent may want to adopt his spouse’s child, in that case he/she must be married for at least five years with the father or mother of the child they wish to adopt. Moreover, the biological father or mother must give his consent prior to the adoption. In some cases this requirement is ignored, if the parent is unknown or has been absent for two years without a given and known address, or shows little or no interest in the child and has impaired judgement.


FERZ SA will explain all the requirements for adoption, our lawyers will draft and review all legal contracts related to the adoption case and help parents understand their rights and responsibilities.