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Sunday, February 23, 2020

New decree facilitates foreigners in marriage and child adoption

Updated: 08:25’ - 24/08/2006

Ministry of Justice

Divorced foreigners will now no longer have to submit a copy of their divorce decision or annotate such decision in household registration books when registering for marriage with Vietnamese citizens in Vietnam.

This is one of many regulations in Government Decree No. 69/2006/ND-CP which was issued last month in a bid to enhance state management of and facilitate marriage and child adoption involving foreign elements. 

The new decree, which amends and supplements Decree No. 68/2002/ND-CP of July 10, 2002, detailing the implementation of the Law on Marriage and Family concerning marriage and family relations involving foreign elements, seeks to simplify administrative formalities by offering clearer and more detailed provisions on paperwork and procedures for marriage and child adoption involving foreign elements.

Compared with Decree No. 68/2002/ND-CP, the new decree introduces the following new provisions:

1. On marriage between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners

Regarding dossiers of application for marriage registration, the decree requires each party to submit a written certification that he/she is unmarried. This certification must be issued by a competent authority of the country where the involved party is a citizen within 6 months counting to the date of receipt of application dossiers.

This new regulation frees the involved party who has divorced overseas from submitting a copy of his/her divorce decision or from annotating such decision in the household registration book before registering for marriage as previously required. This is a complicated and time-consuming formality vulnerable to abuse.

In an effort to minimize cases where the involved parties register for marriage (through brokerage) without understanding about each other as well as each other’s language, the new decree stipulates that provincial/municipal Justice Services have to interview the involved parties to check their voluntariness to marry, their ability to communicate in a common language and their understanding about each other’s conditions.

In principle, face-to-face interviews will be conducted for all marriages between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners and be recorded in written document which must include the opinions and signatures of the interviewers.

The new decree also supplements reasons for refusal of marriage registration if the results of interviews and verifications show that the marriage is made via illegal brokerage, or is sham not for the purpose of building a happy and sustainable marriage, or against national customs and traditions.

In addition, the decree supplements a provision on marriage recognition in case Vietnamese citizens who are absent at the competent foreign office for registering their marriage request the recognition of their marriage in Vietnam. Provincial/municipal Justice Services will interview the involved parties before acknowledging their marriage.

2. On foreigners’ adoption of Vietnamese children

Decree No. 69/2006/ND-CP expands the exceptional cases where foreigners are permitted to adopt Vietnamese children. Under the decree, where a country and Vietnam are not contracting parties to bilateral or multilateral treaties on child adoption, citizens of that country may still be allowed to adopt Vietnamese children if they meet one of the following conditions:

-Having worked or studied in Vietnam for more than 6 months;

-Having the spouse or father or mother being Vietnamese or having Vietnamese origin; or,

-Being relative of the to be-adopted child or having adopted children being siblings of that child.

Foreigners who do not satisfy the above conditions may also be considered for child adoption if they request to adopt orphans or children who are disabled, victims of toxic chemicals or HIV/AIDS patients, lose their civil act capacity, or suffer from other dangerous diseases, living either in nurturing establishments or with their families.

The decree also further specifies children eligible for adoption. They are abandoned, orphaned or disabled children; and those losing their civil act capacity, being victims of toxic chemicals, HIV/AIDS patients, and sufferers of other dangerous diseases, living either with their families or in nurturing establishments legally set up in Vietnam.

Abandoned children and other children being lawfully admitted to nurturing establishments, and children living with their families who are relatives of child adoption applicants or have siblings having been adopted by  child adoption applicants, may also be eligible for adoption.   

In addition, children who are disabled, victims of toxic chemicals, and patients of HIV/AIDS or other dangerous diseases receiving medical treatment overseas may be adopted by foreigners at the latter’s request.     

Apart from specific provisions on children to be adopted, the new decree offers more detailed provisions on dossiers of application for child adoption, each comprising the followings: 

- An application for adoption of Vietnamese children, made on a set form;

- A notarized or certified copy of the applicant’s passport or substitute paper such as travel permit or residence card;

- The valid permit for child adoption issued by a competent authority of the country where the child adoption applicant resides permanently. In case such permit is not available in that country, it will be substituted by a paper of equivalent validity or the certificate of eligibility for child adoption according to the laws of that country;

- The record on the psychology, family and society of the child adoption applicant issued by a competent authority of the country where he/she resides permanently;

- The written certification made within six months counting to the date of receipt of the dossier by a competent health agency of the country where the child adoption applicant resides or a Vietnamese health agency at the provincial or higher level, stating that the applicant is in good health, does not suffer from mental diseases, contagious diseases or other diseases making them unable to be aware of or control their acts;

- Papers certifying the income status of the child adoption applicant, proving that he/she can afford the child adoption;

- The child adoption applicant’s judicial record card issued within 12 months counting to the date of receipt of the dossier by a competent authority of the country where the applicant resides permanently; and,

- A copy of the marriage certificate of the child adoption applicant in case he/she is currently married.

Besides, the new decree introduces more specific provisions on dossiers of children to be adopted, which include:

- A notarized or authenticated copy of the child’s birth certificate;

- The written agreement on the child’s adoption signed by persons whose agreement is required;

- The written certification of the child’s health conditions issued by the health agency at the district or higher level; and,

- Two 10 cm x 15 cm or 9 cm x 12 cm color photos of the child, showing his/her full body.

Apart from the above papers, for children living in legally established nurturing establishments, there must be the decision issued by the agency or organization having authority to admit children to nurturing establishments, the written record on receipt of the child by the nurturing establishment and the following papers:

- If the child is abandoned, there must be a report on the child abandonment made by the person finding the abandoned child; the written record on the child abandonment certified by the police or local authorities; and papers proving that the child was not received by his/her relatives 30 days after his/her abandonment was announced on the provincial or central mass media.

- If the child is an orphan, there must be a notarized or authenticated copy of the death certificates of his/her natural parents.

- If the child is disabled, victim of toxic chemicals, or patient of HIV/AIDS or other dangerous diseases, there must be the written certification by a competent health organization according to the Health Ministry’s regulations and other relevant laws. If the child loses his/her civil act capacity, there must be a notarized copy of the effective court judgment or decision that such child loses his/her civil act capacity.

The new decree also allows foreign child adoption offices to submit written commitments on child adoption and pay a child adoption fee on behalf of child adopters who are unable to be present in Vietnam due to objective reasons. In this case, the child adopter can sign the commitment form and authorize in writing the child adoption office to submit his/her commitment and pay an adoption fee for him/her. Foreign child adopters must commit not to rejecting the child recommended for adoption.


At the same time, the decree introduces a new regulation which requires child adoption applicants, including foreigners and Vietnamese overseas, to pay a certain fee for their adoption. The Ministry of Finance will stipulate the level, collection and payment, management and use of this fee.-

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