A Guide to Adopting from Nepal

Nepal is a country of beautiful people, and is currently open for international adoptions. As you consider from where you will adopt your child, consider Nepal. Here is some basic information to help you in your decision making process. 

About Nepal

Nepal is located in South Asia. Nepal was closed to the outside world until 1950. It is a landlocked country bordered by China to the north and to the south, east and west by India.

Nepal is famous for the Himalayan Mountains and approximately three quarters of its land mass is covered in mountains. Nepal has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest mountain on earth, Mount Everest. 

Nepal is a Federal Democratic Republic and has a population of approximately 27 million people. 81.3 % of the population practice Hinduism, 9% of the population practice Buddhism. Katmandu is the nation's largest city and is the capital of Nepal. 

Nepal is a developing country with a low income economy. Nepal ranks 145th of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) as of 2014. Nepal continues to struggle with high levels of hunger and poverty.


Age of adopting parents: Applicants must be at least 30 years older than the child they hope to adopt.

Marriage: Heterosexual couples. Applicants must be married for at least four years prior to filing an adoption application.

Single applicants: Heterosexual single women between the age of 35 and 55 may apply. 

Income: No income requirements. Applicants must meet the US State Department poverty guidelines.

Children in the home: Applicants who currently have a biological or adopted child in their home may only adopt a child of the opposite sex is younger than that child living in their home currently.

The only exception to this policy will be if the applicants are adopting a sibling of a child they have previously adopted.

Residency: No residency requirements.

Children Available for Adoption

Children under the age of 16 may be adopted. At present there are children between the ages of 6 to 16 eligible for intercountry adoption from Nepal. Under current Nepal law only children who have been relinquished directly to an orphanage may be eligible for adoption. The children are relinquished to the child welfare authority at the Chief District Office of each district. Each district office will report directly to the central authority on adoption in Nepal, the Nepal Home Ministry. The children available for adoption must be at the children's home for minimum of 90 days for they are considered eligible for intercountry adoption.

Timeframe: Once a family’s dossier (the set of documents representing a family to the authorities in Nepal) has been submitted, the match between prospective parents and child is made by the Matching Committee of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.

It is anticipated that the time between dossier submission and match to be 3-6 months, though the wait time will be longer for families interested in adopting younger children.

Once a family has accepted their child’s referral, the process will begin towards adoption finalization in Nepal.  The time from referral to travel is anticipated to be 6-10 months. Families should anticipate a 10 day stay in Nepal.

Travel: One trip to Nepal is required to legally complete the adoption process, with a duration of approximately 10 days.

Post Placement Reporting: Required. Most agencies will require post placement reporting. In addition the government of Nepal will require annual reports until the child reaches 16 years of age.

It is important in your process that you consult competent and accredited agencies to learn as much as possible. A good agency will help you navigate the process and be successful in your journey of adoption. It is important to ask questions and find out if your chosen agency is respected and acknowledged by the Nepalese government as well.


Most of all, take your time in the process. Be sure you understand the requirements, costs and timelines involved. This will help you survive the international adoption process. And, never hesitate to contact other families that have adopted from Nepal and gain any input and advice they may have to offer.