As part of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Government has decided to suspend the time limits in jurisdictional matters as well as to adapt certain other procedural modalities.
Full adoption is the establishment by court order of a parent-child relationship (or filiation) between 2 persons (the adopter and the adoptee).
It gives the adopted child and the latter’s descendants the same rights and obligations as if the child had been born to the adoptive parents.
Adoption replaces the original filiation and severs all ties with the birth family, except where the adoptee is the spouse’s child. In this case, it allows the original filiation to continue with respect to the spouse and the spouse’s family.
The formalities differ depending on whether the couple wishing to adopt a child has already taken the latter into their care with a view to adoption, or not.
Who is concerned
Full adoption is open to domestic or foreign residents of Luxembourg.
The conditions that must be fulfilled to proceed with a full adoption are governed by the laws of the country to which the adoptive parents are subject. If the application for adoption is made by 2 spouses of different nationalities, or if both or one of the spouses is a stateless person, the applicable law is that of their usual shared place of residence at the time of the application.
The conditions that must be fulfilled to be adopted are governed by laws of the country to which the adoptee is subject, unless the adoption causes the adoptee to acquire the nationality of the adopter, in which case the conditions are governed by the laws of the country to which the adopter is subject.
In case of conflict between the rules of competence laid down by the laws of the adopter’s country and those laid down by the those of the adoptee’s country, the adoption is validly concluded following the rules laid down by the law of the country where the adoption took place and before the competent authorities under this same law.
In Luxembourg, full adoption can only take place if there are strong grounds and if it offers advantages for the adoptee.
Age requirements according to Luxembourg law
In Luxembourg, full adoption can only take place if the adopter(s) and the adoptee satisfy specific age criteria.
For the adopter(s)
When an application for full adoption is submitted by 2 spouses who have not been legally separated, one of the spouses must be over the age of 25 while the other must be at least 21 years old. Unless there are strong grounds to permit otherwise, the adoptive parent must be at least 15 years older than the child. When an application for full adoption is submitted by one spouse in respect of the other spouse’s child, no specific age requirement applies to either spouse. However, the adoptive parent must be at least 10 years older than the future adoptee, unless there are strong grounds to permit otherwise.
For the adoptee
In all cases, the future adoptee must be at least 3 months old and cannot have reached 16 years of age. If the future adoptee is over 16 years of age but was taken into care before reaching this age by persons not meeting the legal conditions to proceed with adoption, or if the child was adopted via a simple adoption procedure before reaching this age, it is possible to apply for full adoption at any point while the child is still a minor, if the conditions are met.
How to proceed
Filing for approval as potential adoptive parents (child to be taken into care)
Persons who live in Luxembourg and wish to adopt a child they do not know yet must contact the Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth (Children and Youth Department, Adoption Service), the central authority in charge of the application of the Hague Convention of 1993 on Intercountry Adoption.
Moreover, they must attend information sessions on adoption (2 x 3 hours), as well as adoption awareness sessions (3 x 4 hours).
They are then redirected towards one of the approved adoption services, which will then evaluate and, if the opinion is favourable, accompany them during the adoption process, abroad and in Luxembourg.
There are 3 adoption services accredited and approved by the MEN currently in operation:
|Adoption service||Country of adoption||Contact|
South Korea, India, Vietnam
Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Colombia, Portugal, Slovakia, Burkina Faso, other
Petition for adoption (child already taken into care)
A couple that has already lawfully taken the child to be adopted into their care must enlist the services of a barrister (avocat à la Cour), who will file a petition for adoption with the district court.
The petition for adoption filed with the district court must be countersigned by the adopters, the adoptee, if over 15 years of age, and the persons whose consent is required.
The petition and the supporting documents are submitted to the state prosecutor, who issues a written opinion.
The examination of the petition and the hearing take place in court chambers and are attended by a prosecutor from the public prosecutor’s office.
The decision approving full adoption mentions the family name and the given names to be used by the adoptee.
A motion to set aside may not be brought against the judgement of the district court by anyone who failed to appear at the hearing.
An appeal may be lodged by the state prosecutor as well as by any party to the proceedings, even if not present at the hearing, within 40 days of the date of the reading of the judgement, in the case of the prosecutor, and of the date of notification, in the case of the other parties.
No motion to set aside may be brought against a decision handed down on appeal by the Court of Appeal.
An appeal on points of law to the Court of Cassation is possible in the form and within the time limits laid down by law for appeals in civil and commercial matters. The execution of the judgement is suspended in this case.
Transcription of the judgement or decision approving full adoption
The judgement or decision is recorded in the register of civil status of the adoptee’s place of birth.
If the place of birth is outside Luxembourg, or if it is unknown, the judgement/decision is recorded in the register of civil status of Luxembourg City.
A marginal entry regarding the decision is added to the adoptee’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, and to any legal instruments relating to the civil status of the adoptee’s legitimate descendants born before the adoption.
The transcription states the adoptee’s date, time and place of birth, gender and given name and surname resulting from the judgement or decision, the profession and domicile of the adoptive parents or of the adoptive parent and of the latter’s spouse.
It does not contain any information on the adoptee’s original filiation.
From this point forward, it serves as the adoptee’s birth certificate.
Procedure in the event of an adoptive parent’s death
If one of the adoptive parents dies after lawfully taking a child into care with a view to full adoption, the petition may be presented or the procedure continued in the deceased person’s name by the surviving spouse.
Entry into effect of the full adoption
The full adoption takes effect from the date on which the proceedings were brought.
Impact on the adoptee’s surname and given name
If the adoption is requested by 2 spouses, the surname is determined by applying the provisions of article 57 of the Civil Code, in keeping with the use of a single surname for all children of both adoptive parents.
In the case of adoption by a married person of their spouse’s child, the adoptee’s surname remains unchanged.
The district court’s adoption order may confer the surname of the adoptive parent and/or that of the latter’s spouse on the adopted child in accordance with the provisions of article 57 of the Civil Code. If the adoptee is over 13 years of age, their consent is required.
The adoptee’s given names can be changed at the request of the adoptive parent(s).
A full adoption is irrevocable.
Impact on nationality
If one of the adoptive parents is a Luxembourg national, an adopted minor automatically obtains Luxembourg nationality.
In cases where the adoptive parent in respect of whom filiation is established acquires or reacquires Luxembourg nationality, the adopted minor also acquires Luxembourg nationality.
If the adoptive parent in respect of whom filiation is established obtained Luxembourg nationality as a result of the acquisition or reacquisition of Luxembourg nationality by their own biological or adoptive parent, the adopted minor also acquires Luxembourg nationality.
If the adoptive parents are of different nationalities but at least one of them is a Luxembourg national, the adopted child acquires Luxembourg nationality and may also acquire the nationality of the other adoptive parent if eligible, as Luxembourg law allows for dual nationality.
If neither of the adoptive parents is a Luxembourg national, they will need to refer to the provisions of the nationality laws of the country(ies) to which they are subject.
After the adoption, the adoptive parents must:
- declare the adopted child with the commune of residence;
- apply to have the adopted child added to their family record book;
- apply to have the adopted child enrolled with the National Health Fund (Caisse nationale de santé – CNS);
- declare the adopted child with the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants - CAE) in order to apply for any family benefits and maternity allowances for which they are eligible;
- obtain a health record book for the adopted child from the child’s paediatrician.
Entitlement to leave for adoption
Under certain conditions, adoptive parents may qualify for the following types of leave: