International Adoptions In Mexico

Mexican legislation does allow International adoptions.

Concerning this, the Civil Code for the State of Baja California stipulates:

International adoptions are those promoted by foreign nationals who usually reside in other countries, and they are regulated by International Treaties and the Civil Code.

In Mexico we apply the International Treaty derived from:


According to the terms of this International Agreement, participating countries must comply with the following general rules:


1) That the persons, institutions and authorities that must issue their consent for the adoptions, are properly informed and advised of the consequences of said consent,  

2) That said persons, institutions or authorities have given their consent freely and in writing;

3) That said consents were given without any payment or compensation, and they have not been revoked; and

4) That the mother’s consent, when required, is issued after the baby is born,


a) Have verified that the adopting parents are adequate and can comply with the adoption terms;

b) Have verified that the adopting parents have been adequately and properly advised; and

c) They have verified that the minor will be authorized to enter and permanently reside in said country.


For the application of this International Agreement in Mexico Family and Child Protection Services in each State has been designated as the Central Authority.

This office of the State Governments is known as “DIF”.

Said offices, for the effects of the International Treaty, have the support of, and are coordinated with the Mexican Foreign Office.

Also, the Mexican Foreign Office is the competent authority to issue the certificates for the Adoptions performed according to the Convention.

According to this Treaty and Mexican legislation, only the minors previously adopted through the Mexican Family Court System, can be legally taken out of the country.


The participating authorities for the process of an International Adoption, supervising the legality of the processes are:

- Municipal and State DIF
- The District Attorney for the Defense of Persons Under 18 years of Age and the Family
- A Civil or Family Court, if any.
- The District Attorney
- The Registrar’s Office
- The Mexican Foreign Office
- Local and immigration authorities of the country of the Adopting Parents.


In Mexico, the process for an International Adoption must be started at the DIFoffice.

Normally DIF will require the following documents from the foreign Adopting Parents:

- Completed and signed application addressed to their Adoptions Technical Committee;
-  Certified copy of the Marriage Certificate of the Adopting Parents;
- Certified copies of the Birth Certificate of the Adopting Parents and the Intended Adoptee. DIF normally requires that the Adopting Parents are older than 25 and younger than 55;
- 3 official ID forms of each one of the Adopting Parents;
- 3 proofs of domicile;
- A certified copy of the document stating the highest education level achieved by the Adopting Parents.;
- Proof of ownership of real estate in their country of residence, with photos of the front and the gardens and/or patios and all rooms of the house where the Adopting Parents live, and a photo of the entire family of the Adopting Parents.
- Curriculum vitae,
- Color font photos (3.5 x 4.5 cm.), of the Adopting Parents and their children, if any, and of all other participants in the Adoption;
- Certificate of no criminal record;
- Four letters of recommendation (not from relatives), describing their relationship as a married couple;
- Proof of income and a letter from the employer stating a seniority of at least 5 years;
- Medical certificate issued by a Mexican Public Institution and lab analysis for VDRL, VIH, HEPATITIS, ANTIDOPING;
- Psychological study performed by a private or public institution authorized by the authorities of the country of the Adopting Parents, or by a Mexican Authorized Institution if the Adopting Parents speak Spanish;
- A signed letter accepting the obligation to participate in adaptation therapy sessions;
- Signed letter accepting to voluntarily appear in person at the DIF office, when so required;
- Signed document authorizing DIF to verify the relationship between the Adopting Parents and the Adoptee for as long as the DIF considers it necessary, using the Mexican Consulate nearest the Adopting Parents’ domicile.


Note.- Any and all documents written in a foreign language must be Apostilled or certified by the nearest Mexican Consulate, and translated into Spanish by an Authorized Expert Translator.

DIF also requires from the Adopting Parents:

- Authorization from the immigration authorities of their country to adopt a Mexican child.

- They must participate in person in a compulsory course for Adopting Parents, with duration of three months.

- They must share a minimum of one week and a maximum of three weeks with the minor in the city where the DIF Family Center is located, before the judicial adoption process starts. For said purpose, the minor can be authorized to stay with the Intended Adopting Parents, appointing a substitute home for adoption purposes.

- They must obtain from the Mexican Immigration authorities an FM3 visa as visitors with non lucrative activities, and their documents must clearly show that they are in Mexico for the purpose of adopting a minor.    

- Once the adoption application has been authorized, they must obtain a certification stipulating that the minor will be allowed to enter and permanently reside in the country of the Adopting Parents.

- If the State’s Adoption Council should approve the adoption application, the Adopting Parents must start at their own cost, a judicial procedure (Voluntary Jurisdiction), for a Full Adoption. In some cases it could be necessary to start a procedure for the loss of parental Rights.


A.- The Civil Code for the State of Baja California, stipulates that:

- At least one of the Adopting Parents must be older than twenty five years of age;
- Both Adopting Parents must be at least seventeen years older than the Adoptee;
- The application for adoption must be submitted in person and not by a Proxy or legal representative, and it must contain;


Proof of. :

I.- The fact that the Adopting Parents have enough economic means to provide support and education for the minor;

II.- The adoption will be for the Adoptee’s benefit;

III.- That they are persons of good moral standing;

IV.- That they both are in good health, according to a Certificate issued by an authorized institution;

V.- That they both are in good mental health, according to a psychological study performed by DIF through its Office for the Defense of Persons Younger than Eighteen Years of Age and the Family. Said study must contain the Adopting Parents identity, their personal and family background, their social environment and their reasons to adopt a minor. DIF must also perform a socioeconomic study of the Adopting Parents.

VI.- When dealing with foreign nationals, they must prove that they can perform the adoption, with the respective authorization from the competent authorities.

Amongst other things, Item VI above means that:

- Foreign nationals must obtain from their own government a certification of the fact that they are capable of the adoption, and from their immigration authorities, a certification skating the fact that the Adoptee will be allowed to enter and permanently reside in their country.

- Foreign nationals must show their legal stay in Mexico, and for said purpose they must inform Mexican immigration of their purpose to adopt in Mexico.

So the Adoption is authorized, the following must agree to it, depending on each particular case:
a) The person who has parental rights over the Intended Adoptee or his/her legal guardian; or the person who for at least six months treated the minor as his/her own child, when there is no one with parental Rights or legal guardian;
b) DIF through its Office for the Defense of Persons Younger than Eighteen Years of Age and the Family, when dealing with minors under eighteen years of age or persons who are not capable of understanding the adoption, or minors abandoned and under the DIF’s custody;

c) If there is no DIF, the District Attorney’s office of the place where the Adoptee lives.

d) If the Intended Adoptee is older than fourteen years of age, his/her own consent for the adoption is also needed.

International adoptions will always be full adoptions (contrary to simple adoptions). A full adoption makes gives Adoptees equal rights and obligations as biological children, and the adoption is irrevocable.

Concerning the procedure, the Baja California Civil Procedures Code stipulates that:
The application for adoption must be submitted by way of a Voluntary Jurisdiction, to the Civil or Family Court of the corresponding place.

To start the process, it is necessary that the foreign Adopting Parents are in Mexico, because the process cannot be started by a Proxy or a Legal representative, and the application just be ratified in person before the corresponding Judge.

The Intended Adopting Parents must declare and attach to the application, the necessary documents to prove:

I.- The name and age of the Intended Adoptee;

II.- Name and address of the person who has parental Rights on the minor or is his/her legal guardian; or the persons who took care of the minor for the last six months, as if the minor was their own child;

III.– The medical, psychological and socioeconomic studies of the Adopting Parents and the Adoptee, all of them performed by DIF;

Note.- Any and all documents written in a foreign language must be Apostilled or certified by the nearest Mexican Consulate, and translated into Spanish by an Authorized Expert Translator.


The foreign Adopting Parents must also attach to their initial document:

- The documents proving their legal stay in Mexico;
- Authorization from the Mexican department of the Interior to enter the country for the purpose of adopting;
- A certificate issued by the competent authorities in their own country skating they are capable of performing the adoption; and
- A certificate issued by the corresponding authorities in their own country skating that the Intended Adoptee will be allowed to enter and reside permanently is said country..

In order to process the application, DIF and the local District Attorney’s office must be notified.

After all documents have been submitted and all necessary consents have been obtained, the corresponding Judge must resolve on the Adoption as soon as possible.


  • Local Municipal or State DIF offices.

In Playas de Rosarito Baja California, these offices are located at the government center.

  • The Mexican Consulate nearest the residence of the Intended Adopting Parents.
  • Offices of Mexican Lawyers specializing in Family Law and adoptions. 


Note.- Documents required by DIF Could vary according to each case, so it is highly recommendable to verify with DIF before starting any adoption process.