Suite à l’entrée en vigueur le 31 mars 2019 de la loi du 18 juin 2018 (Titre II : modernisation de l’état civil), modifiée par la loi du 21 décembre 2018, la procédure de reconnaissance des décisions d’adoption prononcées à l’étranger est légèrement modifiée.

En effet, comme le prévoit l’article 367-2 du Code civil, l’autorité centrale fédérale (ACF) reste responsable de la reconnaissance des décisions d’adoption prononcées à l’étranger.

Cependant, l’ACF ne rédige plus d’attestation d’enregistrement. Une fois la décision d’adoption reconnue, l’ACF transmet à l’officier de l’état civil du lieu de l’inscription de l’adopté et à défaut, du lieu de l’inscription des adoptants, les informations relatives à la décision d’adoption, sous la forme d’une attestation. L’officier de l’état civil peut alors dresser directement l’acte d’adoption.

L’acte d’adoption fait preuve de la reconnaissance de la décision étrangère par l’ACF.

For non-national adoptions, the adopted child is brought from their country of origin to Belgium, either after the adoption has been granted abroad, or with a view to an adoption decision in Belgium (pre-adoptive placement).

In the case of non-national children in need, international adoption may take place only if all of placement options in the country of origin (in their family, social or other circles) have been exhausted and no other sustainable solution has been found. This is known as the principle of subsidiarity. For each non-national adoption, checks are made to ensure that this principle is observed.

The journey involves the following stages


Proposals to adopt a child from another country must be submitted to the competent Community Central Authority (CCA).

If you live in the Flemish Region, contact:

Kind en Gezin , Vlaamse centrale autoriteit voor adoptie (VCA)
Hallepoortlaan 27
1060      Brussel
Tel.: 02 533 14 76

If you live in the Walloon Region, depending on where you live, contact:

Ministère de la Communauté française Ministerium der Deutschesprachigen Gemeinschaft
Direction générale de l’Aide à la jeunesse Zentrale Behörde für Adoptionen 
Direction de l’Adoption  
Avenue Léopold II 44-1080 Bruxelles Gospertstrasse 1 – 4700  Eupen
T 02 413 41 35 T 087 59 63 46

If you live in the Brussels-Capital Region, you can choose between the French Community and the Flemish Community.

The service will send you a registration form and will open a file. Once you have returned the registration form, you will receive an invoice. When payment is received, you will receive a file containing detailed information. The preparation centre will be informed and you will join your nearest group.

Preparation for adoption

In the preparation stage, you will be given information on the stages of the adoption process and the legal consequences of adoption.

During the preparedness programme, you will also receive information on what adoption means in practice, for you as the adoptive parent and for the adopted child. Adoption brings with it huge challenges and must be monitored following the adoption procedure itself.

The preparedness course includes information sessions and sessions to raise awareness. At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion of the preparedness course.

Suitability ruling

Once you have received the certificate of completion of the preparedness course, the juvenile court judge must declare that you are a suitable candidate to adopt a child from another country.

To do so, you must file an application at the registry of the juvenile court. The juvenile court judge will conduct a social investigation. The Community Central Authority determines which service will perform that social investigation.

If the outcome of that investigation is positive, the juvenile court judge will deliver a suitability ruling.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office will draft a report containing information on your identity, your legal capacity, your personal, family and medical situation and your social sphere. On the basis of that report, the country of origin will assign you a child to be adopted if you meet that child’s specific needs.

The suitability ruling is valid for four years. If, at that point, the adoption procedure has not yet been completed, you can request an extension of two years.

Encadrement de l’adoption

Once you have secured a suitability ruling, this will be sent with the report by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to your chosen accredited adoption agency.

The adoption agency is the link between you and the non-national authorities. This means that the adoption agency:

  • helps you to build your file;
  • sends the file to the non-national authorities;
  • receives the proposal for a child and sends it to you.

The adoption agency will support your proposal only if it fulfils the conditions for adoption in the country of origin of your adopted child.

Each accredited adoption agency works with a limited number of countries. In exceptional cases, the proposal may be directly supervised by the Community Central Authority (independent adoption).

If you and the Community Central Authority approve the proposal for a child, the agency will prepare you for the procedure in the country of origin and to meet the child.

Adoption decision

The adoption is granted by means of a judgment or an administrative ruling in the country in which you are adopting the child.

There are variations between countries in respect of:

  • the procedures;
  • your presence in the location for a specified period;
  • conditions relating to your age or your civil status;
  • the consequences of the adoption (simple or full).


Legalisation is the procedure by which an official certifies the authenticity of a signature on a document. The status of the signatory is also checked. However, legalisation does not address the content of a document.

All official and original documents received from a non-national authority must have been legalised by our diplomatic post in the country concerned. This must be done before the documents are sent to the federal central authority. Further information on this matter can be found on the FPS Foreign Affairs website.


The federal central authority is the International Adoption Service at the FPS Justice. That service must recognise all non-national adoption decisions.

Application for recognition

In order to obtain recognition, the federal central authority must be provided with all of the original, legalised adoption documents. The recognition application form contains the full list of documents that must be provided.

The adoption must be recognised before the adopted child enters Belgium. The Embassy requires authorisation from the federal central authority in order to issue a visa to your adopted child.

Consequences of recognition

  • Belgium gives effect to the non-national adoption decision, which means that you are legally recognised in Belgium as the parent of the child you have adopted;
  • all Belgian bodies and authorities recognise the adoptive relationship;
  • if you are a Belgian national, the minor child obtains Belgian citizenship..

Drawing up of the birth certificate and adoption certificate

The municipality in which the adopted child or adopters are registered, or Brussels, has the competence to draw up the child’s birth certificate and adoption certificate. The adoption certificate is proof that the adoption has been recognised by the Belgian authorities.

  • The adoption certificate contains the following information:  the child’s new surname and/or new first name(s);
  • who is the child’s legal parent;
  • whether the non-national decision is equivalent to a simple or full adoption.

Once the adoption has been recognised, the non-national adoption documents will be returned to you. 

Last updated on December 12th 2020