The Icelandic Adoption Society

The Icelandic Adoption Society -IAS- was founded in 1978 by adoptive parents as a voluntary non-profit organisation. In January 1988 the Society opened an office in ReykjavÝk. IAS is the only organisation working in the field of international adoptions in Iceland. It is authorised by the Ministry of Justice to assist residents of Iceland to adopt children from abroad. IAS is still a non profit organisation.

On July 11th 2000 a new adoption legislation came into effect in Iceland. In May 2000 Iceland acceeded to the Hague Convention on inter-country adoptions.

The accreditation of IAS according to Iceland┤s new law, was issued in October 2000 by the Ministry of the Interior. This Ministry is also the Icelandic Central Authority.

The main purpose of IAS┤s work will always be to ensure that an adoption is for the benefit of the child, to find a family so that a child can enjoy a normal, happy family life. IAS only works with applicants in inter-country adoptions and according to guidelines set by the Ministry of the Interior.

The IAS takes responsibility for compulsory parents preparation courses, for the preperation of the adoption dossiers, sending dossiers abroad and assisting the family in planning the trip to meet and bring home the adopted child. Records are kept of every child and his/her family and follow-up reports are sent to the contact in the child┤s country of birth.

Social activities for members of IAS include an annual Christmas party and several smaller gatherings.

The Icelandic Adoption Society takes part in the work of the Nordic Adoption Council and is a founding member of EurAdopt (1993).

Iceland┤s Adoption Authorities
The Ministry of the Interior is the supreme adoption power in Iceland and the Central Authority under the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Ministry is responsible for policymaking and legislation regarding adoption matters in Iceland as well as accrediting and supervising adoption agencies.

The National Commissioner on Adoption issues all Advance Approvals (pre-approval) for prospective adoptive parents.

The National Commissioner on Adoption and the Ministry of the Interior can refer cases to the Adoption Board. The Adoption Board is not a part of the procedure in general but cases can be referred to the Board.

The Process:
Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in-country:
Adoption Application and role of adoption Authority
The first step to adopt a child is to apply for a pre-approval from the National Commissioner on Adoptions. Applicants can get the application forms on the District Commissioner website Applicants apply through ═slensk Šttlei­ing (Icelandic Adoption Society) ľ IAS) and the agency will send the forms to the National Commissioner on Adoption and attach necessary documents. Please see the Required Documents section below.

The National Commissioner on Adoption reviews the application and ľ if the application is satisfactory ľ sends it to the relevant Child Protection Committee which makes a home study report.

The Child Protection Committee forwards the home study report to the National Commissioner on Adoption who issues an Advance Approval for an adoption ľ if all requirements are fulfilled.

The National Commissioner on Adoptions forwards the Advance Approval to the accredited adoption organisation which sends it to the country of origin along with necessary documents; cf. Article 15 (2) of the Convention ľ all in accordance with the requirements of the country of origin.

The approval notice, which is valid for three years, will state that the applicant is permitted to adopt a child from a specific country. The term of validity of the advance approval may however be extended one time for a period of up to 12 months under certain circumstances.

═slensk Šttlei­ing (The Icelandic Adoption Society) is the only adoption agency in Iceland.

The pre-approval process, described below, can take up to 12 months. The length of time to adopt will depend on the child┤s country of origin.

Applications forms for pre-approval ináSřsluma­urinn ß h÷fu­borgarsvŠ­inu ľ The National Commissioner on Adoptions, SkˇgarhlÝ­ 6, 105 ReykjavÝk. Telephone number: +354 4582000. Opening hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30 - 15:00. Website:

  • Birth certificate from applicant.
  • Information about applicant.
  • Marriage certificate or certificate regarding cohabitation.
  • Certificate from the National Registry (Registers Iceland) to show how long applicants have been living together. Married couples must have been living together for three years. Individuals must have been cohabiting for five years (The cohabitation must have been registered in the population register or ascertained by other unequivocal evidence). The certificate can be sought at Registers Iceland, Borgart˙ni 21, 105 ReykjavÝk. Telephone: +354 515 5300. E-mail: Business hours: Mon-Fri. 10:00-15:30.á

  • Police certificates from countries prospective adoptive parents resided for 3 months after the age of 16.

  • Information about the applicant┤s health.

  • Doctors certificate for the adoptive parent.
  • Certified copy of tax returns for the last two years.

Application forms can be sought in Icelandic at

Prospective adoptive parents must be residents of Iceland or "have a special connection to the country" to be allowed to adopt children in Iceland. A person who resides abroad may only adopt a child if the person, or his or her spouse, are Icelandic citizens and can therefore not obtain permission for adoption in the country where he or she lives, provided that an Icelandic permission for adoption will be deemed valid where he or she lives.

Applicant must be at least 25 years old, but no more than 45 years old. Exceptions can be made in certain cases, e.g. when there is an age difference between the adoptive parents and one of the adoptive parent is somewhat younger than 45 and the other is somewhat older than 45 or the adoptive parents have adopted a child in the past two years before the application is submitted or when there are special circumstances e.g. siblings or special relationship with the child. When the advance approval expires after the applicants have turned 45 years old and their application is being processed in the state of origin, which authorizes adoption to applicants older than 45 years old, a new advance approval can be issued or extended until the younger applicant is 50 years old.

Married couples or individuals who have been cohabiting for a period of at least 5 years. Same-sex couples/individuals have the same rights as heterosexual couples/individuals.

One of the spouses, or one of the individuals in a cohabitation, may, however, with the consent of the other, be granted permission to adopt the child or the adopted child of the other.

One of the spouses, or an individual who is in cohabitation, may, furthermore, be granted permission for adoption if the other one has disappeared or is in such a mental state as not to understand the meaning of adoption.

A single person may be granted permission for adoption under special circumstances and if the adoption is clearly beneficial for the child.á

Cohabitation means a cohabitation of two persons which is registered in the population register or which may be ascertained by other unequivocal evidence.