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Intercountry adoptions
Who can adopt?

San Marino or foreign nationals residing in San Marino who wish to adopt one or more children shall submit their application to the Law Commissioner, specifying their willingness, as well as family-related and personal reasons underlying their application for adoption and demonstrating that they fulfil the requirements laid down by law.


Under Law no. 49 of 1986 “Reform of family law”, the married couples or single persons meeting the following requirements are allowed to adopt:
a)    having attained 25 years of age;
b)    being able to educate, support and take care of the children they wish to adopt;
c)    the difference in age between the adopters and the adoptees is not less than 18 and not more than 45.


It is important to consider that in the case of intercountry adoption further criteria may be laid down by the Authorities of the States of origin of the children. 


Law no. 68 of 28 April 2008 “Regulations on intercountry adoption and protection of minors” applies to the adoption of children residing in States Parties to The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on protection of children and co-operation in respect of intercountry adoption.

San Marino has been a State Party to the Convention since 2004. This instrument obliges signatory States to establish common provisions in order to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent any form of exploitation.

With regard to children habitually resident in other countries, Law no. 83 of 1999 “Law on adoption of foreign children, as amended by Article 3 of Law no. 68/2008, shall apply.

The Hague Convention provides that a child can be moved for adoption purposes from his/her State of origin to another country only:

if the Authorities of the State of origin:

-    have established that the child is adoptable (declaration of the state of adoptability issued following the notice of abandonment of the child);
-    have determined, after possibilities for placement of the child within the State of origin have been given due consideration, that an intercountry adoption is in the child's best interests;
-    have established that any consents required for adoption have not been induced by deception, or payment or compensation of any kind;

and if the Authorities of the receiving State:

-    have determined that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt;
-    have ensured that the prospective adoptive parents have been counselled as may be necessary;
-    have determined that the child can be authorised to enter and reside permanently in that State for adoption purposes, after having checked all documents issued by the authorities of the State of origin of the child.

All intercountry adoption proceedings taking place both in the receiving State and in the State of origin shall be carried out through the Central Authorities of the respective countries.

So far, those residing in San Marino have adopted from various countries, both Stats Parties and non-States Parties to The Hague Convention, whereas, as of June 2016, adoption procedures are underway with the Philippines, India, Bulgaria and Slovak Republic.


Submitting an application for adoption to the Judicial Authority is a sine qua non condition to allow the Minors’ Service to verify that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible to adopt.
Such application shall be supported by the following documents:

-    certificate of nationality;
-    certificate of residence;
-    general criminal records;
-    certificate of pending charges;
-    certificate relating to civil capacity;
-    documents evidencing the family’s income and assets;
-    certificate of medical fitness issued by the Health Authority of the Republic of San Marino;
-    family status certificate;
-    certificate of marriage for married couples.

Documents shall be dated no more than three months prior to the date of submission.

After verifying that the adopters fulfil the requirements envisaged by Law no. 49 of 26 April 1986 and obtaining the report of the Minors’ Service which, after having carried out a detailed psychosocial enquiry, assesses that the prospective adoptive parents are suited to educate and raise a child, the Judicial Authority issues a decree of suitability to adopt.

At this stage, the prospective adoptive parents shall decide:
-    whether to adopt a child from a State Party to The Hague Convention or from another country;
-    if they opt for a State Party to The Hague Convention, whether the adoption procedure will be carried out through the Intercountry Adoption Office or an accredited body.

Who are the actors involved?

San Marino Central Authority


Under Law no. 68/2008, the Central Authority for intercountry adoptions in San Marino is represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is entrusted with the task of discharging the duties imposed by The Hague Convention on intercountry adoption. Besides supervising all entities involved in the adoption process, it is obliged to co-operate and work closely with the Secretariat of the Convention on intercountry adoption, as well as with all Central Authorities of the States Parties to the Convention.

Central Authorities shall take, directly or through public authorities or other bodies duly accredited in their State, all appropriate measures, in particular to:

  1. collect, preserve and exchange information about the situation of the child and the prospective adoptive parents, so far as is necessary to complete the adoption;
  2. facilitate, follow and expedite proceedings with a view to obtaining the adoption;
  3. promote the development of adoption counselling and post-adoption services in their States;
  4. provide each other with general evaluation reports about experience with intercountry adoption made by Central Authorities or public authorities.

As regards the documents issued by the San Marino Central Authority, there are three documents that must necessarily be included in every adoption procedure, namely:

  1. after obtaining the consent to the matching of the child/children identified with the couple, the Central Authority shall issue the authorisation to continue the proceedings;
  2. after receiving all documents produced subsequent to the final decision on adoption, the same Central Authority shall issue a declaration stating that the adoption complies with the legislation in force in San Marino;
  3. once the proceedings are concluded in the State of origin by issuing a document, whether a Court’s decision or a final declaration of adoption made by the competent authority, the Central Authority of the State of origin of the prospective adoptive parents shall grant an entry and residence permit to the child and send a Verbal Note to the Embassy of Italy, requesting the involvement of the Italian consular authorities in the State of origin of the child in order to issue a transit visa (when this is necessary in consideration of the nationality of the child).


Intercountry Adoption Office


The Intercountry Adoption Office of the Republic of San Marino, established by Law no. 68/2008 at the Department of Foreign Affairs, provides operational support and public relation services.


Only after obtaining the decree of suitability to adopt, the prospective adoptive parents, in the event they decide to initiate an adoption process in a State Party to The Hague Convention, shall go to the Intercountry Adoption Office and complete the application form.


The following documents shall be enclosed with the form:


  1. certified copy of the declaration of suitability, which must not be expired;
  2. certified copy of the social report drawn up by the Minors’ Service;
  3. translation of the above-mentioned documents in the language specified by the Central Authority of the State where they wish to carry out the adoption proceedings, if they have already identified said State;
  4. birth certificate indicating the name of their respective mother and father;
  5. certificate of marriage;
  6. certificate of residence;
  7. family status certificate;
  8. copy of their last income tax return.


The Office shall transmit the documents requested by the Central Authority for Intercountry Adoption of the chosen State, as well as constantly inform and assist the prospective adoptive parents. If necessary, it shall urge diplomatic or consular authorities, as well as San Marino competent offices to take action.


Single Court


As mentioned above, the Court receives the applications for adoption and, if the requirements envisaged by law are met, it mandates the Minors’ Service to carry out the psychosocial assessment. If the outcome of such assessment is positive, it issues a decree of suitability to adopt.

Furthermore, in the event of Countries that are not States Parties to The Hague Convention, the Court issues the decrees of pre-adoption foster care, which are valid for one year, and appoints their legal guardians. After one year of successful pre-adoption foster care, the Judicial Authority shall issue the adoption order.

In case of an adoption from a State Party to the Convention, the decision granting full adoption is automatically effective. When the measure of the foreign country grants foster care for the purpose of adoption and not full adoption, one-year pre-adoption foster care shall be ordered, as in the case of countries which have not acceded to the Convention mentioned above.


Minors’ Service


It carries out the psychosocial assessment and verifies the prospective adoptive parents’ eligibility to adopt. After the arrival of the child, it is entrusted with the task of supervising his/her family and social integration. It provides advice and support in order to ensure the best material and moral assistance to the child.


Role of accredited bodies


As stated above, the prospective adoptive parents who are declared to be eligible for intercountry adoption and reside in San Marino must decide whether to undertake the adoption process through the Central Authority or an accredited body.

In San Marino, the list of accredited bodies  is approved on a regular basis by means of a Government decision.

These entities shall fulfil the following duties and obligations:

  1. informing and supporting the prospective adoptive parents in the adoption process;
  2. transmitting to the foreign authorities a declaration stating that the couple is willing to adopt, together with the decree of suitability and the report of the social and health authorities;
  3. informing the couple of the matching with one or more children proposed by the foreign authority as it was sent by the competent foreign authority;
  4. notifying the foreign authority of the couple’s acceptance of the proposed matching, after the couple has given its written consent to the matching;
  5. being responsible for the conduction, in the foreign country, of the procedures required to complete the adoption, in accordance with existing rules;
  6. before the couple leaves for the State of origin of the child, forwarding to the San Marino Central Authority the information document on the child, indicating that the child has been neglected, as well as the consequent declaration of adoptability and the consent to the matching;
  7. transmitting the decision of adoption to the San Marino Central Authority and requesting the latter to ensure that the adoption is compliant and to grant an entry permit to the child, as well as a transit visa to allow him/her to transit through Italy;
  8. on the basis of the time required by the legislation of the State of origin of the child, maintaining contacts with the Minors’ Service to draw up and, subsequently, transmit the post-adoption reports on the integration of the child within the new social environment.

The number, modalities and timing of such reports vary according to the State of origin of the adopted child.


Dott.ssa Marinella Chiaruzzi

email: info@esteri.sm

tel: +378 (0549) 88.21.44

fax: +378 (0549) 88.24.22

Documenti Adozioni Internazionali