If you would like to adopt a child in Switzerland you should contact the central adoption authority of the canton where you live. It will provide information on exactly how to proceed.
If you would like to adopt a child from another country, we advise you to contact a specialist, federal government-approved agency. It will help you with the complex process in Switzerland and the country of adoption.
The competent cantonal authority will check that you fulfil the basic requirements to adopt, looking in particular at the following points:
The age difference between you and the child you want to adopt must be a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 45 years.
You must be able to provide proper, lasting care for the child and to ensure that they receive an appropriate education. To check this, a specialist qualified in social work or psychology will meet with you several times to provide and gather information, and to talk to you about the different aspects of adoption.
Adoption must be in the interests of the child. The interests of your other children must also be considered.
If the child is capable of doing so, they must consent to the adoption.
You must have been responsible for the care and upbringing of the child for at least one year.
If the child's biological parents are known and still alive, they must consent to the adoption unless they have been absent for a long period and their whereabouts are unknown, or they permanently lack the legal capacity to do so. The biological parents may not give their consent before the child is six weeks old. They may still revoke their consent in the six weeks after that.
If you want to adopt a child as a couple, you must fulfil the basic requirements that apply to all adoptions. You must also satisfy the following criteria:
you are married.
you have been living together for at least three years.
you are both at least 28 years old.
you are registered as living in Switzerland.
If you want to adopt a child on your own, you must fulfil the basic requirements that apply to all adoptions. You must also satisfy the following criteria:
you are at least 28 years old
you are single.
If you are married or in a registered partnership, you can adopt a child by yourself if:
you have been officially separated from your spouse for at least three years
your partner permanently lacks legal capacity, or
your partner has been absent without a fixed abode for at least two years.
You can adopt your partner’s children if you fulfil the basic requirements that apply to all adoptions, and you and your partner are also:
living in a registered partnership or
actually living in the same household.
In addition, you and your partner must have been living together for at least three years.
You can adopt a child by yourself if you are gay or lesbian (see above for the requirements).
If you are in a same-sex partnership, you can adopt a child as a couple.
Since 2018 you have also been able to adopt your partner's (biological or adopted) children (see above for the requirements).
You can adopt someone who is an adult if:
they lived with you for at least a year when they were still a minor;
they are in need of constant care and lived with and were cared for by you for at least a year (even if they were already of age during this time), or
there are other important reasons for the adoption and the person you wish to adopt has lived with you for at least a year.
The same regulations as apply to the adoption of minors also apply to the adoption of adults, apart from the need for parental consent.