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Applying for the adoption of a foreign child

Do you want to adopt a child from abroad? Then you should clarify in advance the recognition of such an adoption in Germany. After the foreign adoption, the foreign birth certificate of your adopted child remains valid. As an adoptive parent, you can still apply for a notarization in the birth register in Germany if the child has acquired German citizenship through adoption.

Note: If a German court decides on an adoption, it will also notarize the adoption. The same applies if a German family court converts a foreign adoption from a weak to a strong adoption.

Detailed information can be found in the procedure description "Adoption of a foreign child - Applying for conversion of a weak adoption into a strong adoption".

Process flow

You will need to submit the required documents to the family court as notarized declarations.

  • You can also instruct a notary to file the application.
  • If you have children of your own, the court will consider whether their overriding interests preclude adoption.
  • This could be the case if the following rights were unduly diminished:
    • Maintenance claims
    • Inheritance law claims
  • Even if the adoptee has children of his or her own, the court examines whether their overriding interests preclude the adoption. Therefore, the children of both parties have a right to be heard.

If the conditions for adoption are met, the court will issue the adoption by order.

The registry office registers the birth and you as the adoptive parents in the civil status register.

Note: The registry office that certifies the birth of your child born abroad will automatically inform other registry offices.

Who should I contact?

To thelocal family court at the district court for the order. Certificates are issued by the local registry office.


The basic prerequisite for the adoption of a child is that it serves the best interests of the child and that the emergence of a parent-child relationship can be predicted.

Underage adoption is only possible if the child is not yet 18 years old when the adoption is announced.

Further requirements are the ability of the adopters to be parents for this child, an appropriate adoption care period and the existence of the declarations of consent of the parties involved.

Which documents are required?

In particular, the following documents are required for an adoption procedure:

  • Notarized Adoption Application
  • Declarations of consent
  • Birth certificate of the child
  • Marriage certificate of the adopter
  • Proof of nationality of the parties involved
  • Certificates of registration of the parties involved
  • Health certificates of the parties involved
  • Police clearance certificates of the adopters
  • Proof of income of the adopters

The family court will request additional documents if necessary.

Note: You need foreign documents with additional legalization by the competent foreign authority (apostille) or legalization by the German diplomatic mission abroad.

What are the fees?

There are costs for the notarization of the notarial application as well as the issuance of the documents.

Updating of the civil status registers at the registry office of the place of residence: free of charge.

Certification of a birth abroad: subject to a fee

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

The application for underage adoption should be submitted in good time before the child reaches the age of majority.

Processing duration

The processing time depends on the family court.


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies

Amtsgericht Meppen
Postal address: Post Office Box 1253 , 49702 Meppen
Address: Obergerichtsstraße 20 , 49716 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 888-100
Fax: 05931 888-250

Data protection information

Landkreis Emsland
Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen
Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62 , 49705 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Station Haltestelle Kreishaus
Bus: 993

Building Access
elevator available, wheelchair-accessible
bank account:
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Emsländische Volksbank
IBAN: DE26266600600120050000
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Sparkasse Emsland
IBAN: DE39266500010000001339
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Postbank Hannover
IBAN: DE36250100300012132306


Marc-André Burgdorf
responsible for:
Bernd Otten (Datenschutzbeauftragter)
Telephone: 05931 44-1605
Fax: 05931 44-391605
responsible for:

Stadt Haren (Ems) - Fachbereich 1 - Bildung, Kultur und Soziales
Address: Neuer Markt 1, 49733 Haren (Ems)
Telephone: 05932 8-0
Building Access
elevator available, wheelchair-accessible


Herr Sturm
Address: Neuer Markt 1, 49733 Haren (Ems)
Telephone: 05932 8-276
Zimmer 07 // EG
responsible for:

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)