Published on

Bulgarian Child Adoption by a Foreigner

Prospective adopters often doubt that they have the legal right to adopt a child. Instead of ruling yourselves out, a simple conversation about your personal circumstances and expert advice from an experienced lawyer can help.

Adoption by a foreigner

Adoption of a Bulgarian Child by Foreigners Residing in Bulgaria

Foreign citizens who legally reside in Bulgaria (e.g. have an extended residence permit, long-term residence permit, permanent residence permit) have the same adoption rights – and follow the same procedures – as Bulgarian citizens.

Adoption of a Bulgarian Child by a Non-Resident Foreigners

A Bulgarian child may be adopted by a foreign citizen only if the following conditions are met:

  • When the possibilities for adoption in the country are limited.
  • The child must be registered by the Ministry of Justice as a child who may be adopted by foreigners.
  • The adoptive parent is registered by the Ministry of Justice as a person willing to adopt a child from Bulgaria.
  • The relevant authorities of the adoptive parents’ country must recognize the decision of the Bulgarian court regarding adoption.
  • The competent authorities must have determined whether the international adoption is in best child's interest.
  • The child is (or will be) allowed to enter and reside permanently in the country of adoptive parents.
  • The parties whose permission is required for adopting (e.g. biological parents, authorities, adopted child [if they are 14 or older]) have freely given their informed consent.

These conditions need not be present when:

  • A husband adopts a child of his spouse.
  • If a grandchild is adopted by grandfather, grandmother or both.
  • If adopted by a relative in a third-degree familial relation (e.g. aunt adopting a nephew).
  • If the adopted child is a Bulgarian citizen but lives in a foreign country. The adoption of the child is therefore governed by the rules of the country they live in.

The Process of Adoption by a Non-Resident Foreigner

A child who is listed in the Register of Children from Bulgaria who can be adopted by foreign citizens is also included in the "internal" Regional Register of Children for Adoption. It should be noted, however, that an entry in the Register of International Adoption does not prevent the child from being adopted by a Bulgarian citizen.

If the following prerequisites are met within 6 months after the child is listed in the Regional Adoption Registry, they must be also included in the Register of International Adoption:

  • There are no less than 3 adoptive parents appointed.
  • None of the adoptive parents has applied for adoption.
  • Despite efforts, no suitable adoptive parent has been appointed.

International Adoption Review

All adoption applications are reviewed by the International Adoption Council within 60 days of listing the child for adoption. After reviewing applications, a proposal must be made to the Minister of Justice for an appropriate adoptive parent.

When appointing an adoptive parent, the International Adoption Council also refers to the criteria applicable to "internal adoption".

Consent for the adoption of a Bulgarian child by a foreigner is granted by the Council as well as the Minister of Justice. The Minister may refuse consent if they determine circumstances that are not in the best interests of the child (e.g. adoptive parents often travel/change their place of residence) or discover violations of the adoption procedure have been committed.

When the Minister gives their consent, they will send the adoption application to the Sofia City Court. If the court does not discover any potential grounds for the refusal of adoption, the court will then issue a decree to confirm the adoption.

Can International Adoption Be Suspended?

The Minister of Justice has the right to request the termination of adoption if:

  • There are no grounds for setting aside an adoption decree.
  • The adoption is not in the best interest of the child.
  • The Bulgarian court’s decision for admission is not recognized by the relevant authorities in the host country.