Decree No. 68/2002/ND-CP dated July 10, 2002 detailing the implementation of a number of Articles of the Marriage and Family Law on the Marriage and Family relations involving foreign elements


DECREE No. 68/2002/ND-CP OF JULY 10, 2002 DETAILING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A NUMBER OF ARTICLES OF THE MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LAW ON THE MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONS INVOLVING FOREIGN ELEMENTS

THE GOVERNMENT

Pursuant to the December 25, 2001 Law on Organization of the Government;

Pursuant to the June 9, 2000 Law on Marriage and Family;

At the proposal of the Minister of Justice, DECREES:

Chapter I GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1.- Regulation scope

This Decree details the imlementation of a number of articles of the Marriage and Family Law on the  marriage and family relations involving foreign elements, which include the marriages, the recognition of fathers, mothers or children, and the child adoption between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners, between foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam; the recognition of marriages, divorces, recognition of fathers, mothers or children as well as  child  adoption  between  Vietnamese  citizens  or  between  Vietnamese  citizens  and foreigners, which have been carried out at competent foreign offices.

Article 2.- Protection of marriage and family relations involving foreign elements

1. In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the rights and legitimate interests of the parties to the marital  relations, the parents-children relations, the child adoption relations, which involve foreign elements and  are established or recognized under the provisions of the Marriage and Family Law and this Decree, are respected and protected in accordance with Vietnamese laws and the international agreements which Vietnam has signed or acceded to.

2. It is strictly prohibited to take advantage of marriage, recognition of fathers, mothers or children and/or  child adoption to traffic in, exploit the labor of, sexually abuse women and/or children or for other self-seeking purposes.

Activities of brokerage in marriage, recognition of fathers, mothers or children and/or child adoption for the purpose of seeking profits in any form are strictly forbidden.

Article 3.- Competence to register marriages, recognition of fathers, mothers or children as well as child adoption

1. The People’s Committees of the provinces or centrally-run cities (hereinafter referred to as the provincial-level People’s Committees) shall register the marriages, the recognition of fathers, mothers or  children and the child adoption between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners; and between foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam.

2.  The  People’s  Committees  of  communes,  wards  or  district  townships  (hereinafter referred to as the commune-level People’s Committees) in the border regions shall register the  marriages,  the  recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  and  the  child  adoption between Vietnamese citizens permanently  residing in the border regions and citizens of neighboring  countries  who  permanently  reside  in  regions  bordering  on  Vietnam  as provided for in Chapter V of this Decree.

3. Vietnamese Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices in foreign countries (hereinafter called  Vietnamese  Diplomatic  and  Consular  Offices)  shall  register  the  marriages,  the recognition of fathers,  mothers or children and the child adoption between Vietnamese citizens residing in foreign countries and foreigners as provided for in this Decree, if such- registration does not contravene the law of the host countries.

Article 4.- Application of international agreements

In cases where an international agreement which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has signed or acceded to contains provisions different from those in this Decree, the provisions of such international agreement shall apply.

Article 5.- Application of foreign laws

In case where this Decree and/or other legal documents of Vietnam prescribe or the international agreements which Vietnam has signed or acceded to refer to the application of foreign laws, such foreign laws shall apply to the marriages, the recognition of fathers, mothers  or  children  and  the  child  adoption,  which  involve  foreign  elements,  if  the consequences of such application are not contrary to the principles of the Marriage and Family Law of Vietnam; in case where a foreign law refers back to Vietnamese law, the Vietnamese legislation on marriage and family shall apply.

Article 6.- Requests for consular legalization, notarization of translations of papers

1.         Papers issued by foreign agencies or organizations or notarized or authenticated overseas for use for the marriages, the recognition of fathers, mothers or children, the child adoption  under  the  provisions  of  this  Decree  must  be  legalized  by  the  Vietnamese Diplomatic Missions or Consular Offices or the  Ministry for Foreign Affairs, except for cases prescribed in Clause 1, Article 67 of this Decree.

Papers granted by Vietnam-based foreign Diplomatic Missions or Consular Offices to their citizens for use  for the marriages, the recognition of fathers, mothers or children or the child adoption in Vietnam shall be exempt from consular legalization on the basis of the principle of reciprocality. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall guide the application of this principle.

2.         Papers  prescribed  in  Clause  1  of  this  Article  in  foreign  language(s)  must  be translated  into  Vietnamese  and  the  translations  must  be  notarized  according  to  law provisions of Vietnam, except for cases prescribed in Clause 2, Article 67 of this Decree.

Article 7.- Archival of dossiers  and  annotations  on  marriages, recognition of fathers, mothers or children and child adoption

1. The dossiers of registration of marriages, recognition of fathers, mothers or children and child adoption, the dossiers of annotation on marriages, divorces, recognition of fathers, mothers or children as well as child adoption must be preserved and archived according to the law provisions on civil status registration and the legislation on archive.

2. Where the registration or annotation in the registers of marriages, recognition of fathers, mothers or  children, and child adoption falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial-level People’s Committees, the provincial-level Justice Services shall, right after recording such in the registers, notify this in writing to the  commune-level People’s Committees of the localities where the concerned Vietnamese citizens  permanently reside or temporarily reside for a given period of time or where foreigners permanently reside in Vietnam, for monitoring, annotation or further annotation into the civil status books of the  commune- level People’s Committees according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

3. The  Vietnamese  diplomatic  and  consular  offices  shall  register  the  marriages,  the recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  and  the  child  adoption  according  to  the provisions  of  this  Decree  into  two  original  books  (double  registration)  and  have  the responsibility to archive the dossiers as  provided  for in Clause 1 of this Article; and periodically send back home 1 original book for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to archive and grant copies thereof according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Article 8.- Fees

Those who apply for the registration of marriages, recognition of fathers, mothers or children or child  adoption; those who apply for annotations on marriages, recognition of fathers, mothers and children and/or child adoption into the registers, which have already been carried out at competent foreign offices, must pay civil status fees as provided for by law.

Article 9.- Interpretation of terms and phrases

In this Decree, the following terms and phrases shall be construed as follows:

1. Foreigners mean persons who do not bear the Vietnamese citizenship, including foreign nationals and stateless persons.

2. Foreigners  permanently  residing  in  Vietnam mean  foreign  nationals  and  Stateless people who reside, work and earn their livings for long periods of time in Vietnam.

3. Foreign nationals mean persons who bear foreign nationality(ies); the foreign nationality means the nationality of a country other than the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

4. Stateless people mean persons who do not bear either the Vietnamese nationality or foreign nationality.

5. Border regions include communes, wards and district townships of Vietnam, whose administrative boundaries adjoin the national land borderlines as prescribed in Clause 1, Article  2,  Decree  No  34/2000/ND-CP  of  August  18,  2000  of  the  Government  on  the Regulation on the land border regions of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

6.         Regions  bordering  on  Vietnam include  the  administrative  units  of  the  People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia, which are equivalent to communes, wards or district townships of Vietnam and have their administrative boundaries adjoining the land borderlines of Vietnam.

Chapter II MARRIAGE

Article 10.- Marriage conditions

For marriages between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners, each party shall have to abide by his/her  country’s legislation on marriage conditions; the foreigners shall also have to comply with the provisions in Articles 9 and 10 of Vietnam’s Marriage and Family Law on the marriage conditions and cases of marriage prohibition, if the marriages are carried out before the competent State bodies of Vietnam.

For marriages between foreigners in Vietnam,  and  before competent State bodies of Vietnam, each party must abide by the legislation of the country where he/she is citizen or resides (for stateless people) on the marriage conditions; besides, they shall also have to comply with the provisions in Articles 9 and 10 of Vietnam’s Marriage and Family Law on the marriage conditions and cases of marriage prohibition.

Article 11.- Marriage ceremonies

The marriages must be registered and conducted by competent State bodies according to the  ceremonies  prescribed  in  Clause  2,  Article  17  of  this  Decree,  if  the  marriage registration is made in Vietnam,  or  Clause 4, Article 19 of this Decree, if the marriage registration  is  made  at  Vietnamese  diplomatic   or   consular  offices;  other  marriage ceremonies are all legally invalid.

Men and women living together as husbands and wives without marriage registration shall not be recognized as husbands and wives.

Article 12.- Competence to register marriages

1.        The provincial-level People’s Committees of the localities where Vietnamese citizens permanently   reside  shall  register  the  marriages  between  Vietnamese  citizens  and foreigners. In cases where  Vietnamese citizens have not got or not yet got permanent residence registration but have already  registered their temporary residence for a given period of time according to the law provisions on  household registration, the provincial- level People’s Committees of the localities where the Vietnamese  citizens temporarily reside shall register their marriages with foreigners.

In cases where foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam apply for marriage with each other,  the  provincial-level  People’s  Committees  of  the  localities  where  either  of  them permanently resides shall register the marriage.

2.         The  Vietnamese  diplomatic  or  consular  offices  in  the  foreign  countries  where Vietnamese citizens reside shall register the marriages between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners residing in those countries.

Section 1.

MARRIAGE REGISTRATION ORDER AND PROCEDURES

Article 13.- Marriage registration dossiers

1. The marriage registration dossier of each party shall include the following papers:

a) The marriage registration declaration made according to set form, with certification made within 6 months to the date of receiving the dossier by a competent body that the involved party is currently unmarried.

For foreigners, such certification of being unmarried can be made in a separate document. In cases where foreign laws do not prescribe the certification in the declaration form or the granting of this type of paper, it can be replaced by the certification of oath taken by the involved party that he or she is unmarried, in accordance with the laws of those countries.

b)         The  health  certificate  granted  by  a  Vietnamese  or  foreign  competent  health organization  within 6 months to the date of receiving the dossier, certifying that such person does not suffer from mental diseases or has suffered from mental diseases but not to the extent of incapability to be aware of his/her acts;

c) The copy of people’s identity card (for Vietnamese citizens staying in the country); passport  or  papers  of  substitute  value  (for  foreigners  or  Vietnamese  citizens  staying overseas);

d) The  copy  of  the  household  registration  book,  the  certificates  of  being  collectively registered resident or temporary resident (for Vietnamese citizens staying in the country); permanent residence card,  temporary residence card or temporary residence certificate (for foreigners in Vietnam);

e) Curriculum vitae made according to set form.

2. In addition to the papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article, depending on each specific case, the involved person shall also have to submit the following corresponding papers:

a) For Vietnamese citizens being on active service in the armed forces or performing jobs directly related  to  State secrets, they must submit the certification by their managing agencies  or  organizations  of  the  central  or  provincial  level  that  their  marriages  with foreigners do not affect the protection of State secrets or do not contravene the regulations of those branches.

b) For persons who were once married but have already been divorced, they must submit the copies of the legally effective judgments or decisions permitting their divorces.

In cases where the judgments or decisions of courts or other competent agencies of foreign countries, permitting the divorces belong to the types which require annotation in books  according  to  law   provisions   on  household  registration,  such  judgments  and decisions must be annotated before being submitted.

c) For persons who were once married but their spouses have already died or have been declared dead, they must also submit a copy of the certificate of the death of such spouse.

3. The papers prescribed in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article shall be compiled in two sets of dossier and  submitted at the provincial/municipal Justice Services, if the marriages are registered in Vietnam; or in one set of dossier and submitted at Vietnamese Diplomatic or Consular Offices, if the marriages are registered at the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices.

Article 14.- Procedures for submission, reception of dossiers

When submitting the marriage registration dossiers, both involved parties must be present. In cases where either party is unable to be present for objective reasons, such party must send the application for  absence  and entrust the other party to  submit  the  dossiers. Marriage registration dossiers submitted through a third party shall not be accepted.

When  receiving  the  marriage  registration  dossiers,  the  provincial/municipal  Justice Services or the Diplomatic or Consular Offices of Vietnam shall check the completeness and validity of the papers in the  dossiers; if the dossiers are incomplete or invalid, they shall guide the involved parties to complete the dossiers.

Article 15.- Time limits for settlement of marriage registration

The time limit for settling the marriage registration in Vietnam shall be 30 days as from the date the provincial/municipal Justice Services receive the complete and valid dossiers. In cases where the Police  Offices are requested to make verification as provided for in Clause 2, Article 16 of this Decree, such time limit shall be prolonged for 20 days.

The 30-day time limit shall also apply to the settlement of marriage registration at the Vietnamese Diplomatic or Consular Offices. In cases where the concerned agencies in the country are requested to make verification as provided for in Clause 2, Article 19 of this Decree, such time limit may be prolonged for 45 days.

Article 16.- Order of settling the marriage registration in Vietnam

1.        Within 20 days as from the date of receiving the complete and valid dossiers as well as fees, the provincial/municipal Justice Services have the responsibility:

a) To post up the marriage notices for 7 consecutive days at the offices of the provincial/ municipal Justice Services and at the same time to send official dispatches requesting the commune-level People’s  Committees of the localities where the involved parties being Vietnamese citizens permanent reside or temporarily reside for a definite time or where the foreigners in Vietnam permanently reside to post up such marriages. The commune-level People’s Committees shall have to post up the marriage notices for 7 consecutive days at their offices. If there is any complaint or denunciation about the marriages, the commune- level People’s Committees shall have to immediately send written reports thereon to the provincial/municipal Justice Services.

b) To study and verify the marriage registration dossiers. In cases where there is any doubt, complaint  or denunciation that the involved parties make sham marriages, take advantage of the marriage to traffic in women, or for other self-seeking purposes or where they deem that the personal identification of the involved parties or papers in the marriage registration dossiers need to be clarified, the  provincial/municipal Justice Services shall carry out the verification, including interviews with the involved parties.

c) To report on the verification results and propose opinions on settlement of marriage registration to the provincial-level People’s Committees for decision, enclosed with 1 set of the marriage registration dossier

2.         In cases where they deem that the issues which should be verified fall under the function  of  police  offices,  the  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall  send  official dispatches clearly stating the  issues to be verified, enclosed with 1 set of the marriage registration dossier, to the police offices of the same level, requesting the verification.

Within  20  days  as  from  the  date  of  receiving  the  official  dispatches  from  the provincial/municipal Justice Services, the police office shall carry out the verification of the issues requested and reply the Justice Services in writing.

3.  Within  7  days  as  from  the  date  of  receiving  the  documents  submitted  by  the provincial/municipal Justice Service and the marriage registration dossiers, if deeming that the  involved  parties  fully  meet  the  marriage  conditions  and  do  not  fall  into  cases  of marriage registration refusal,  prescribed in Article 18 of this Decree, the provincial-level People’s Committee president shall sign the marriage certificates and return the dossiers to the Justice Service for organizing the marriage registration ceremony, recording in the marriage register and archiving the dossiers according to law provisions.

In case of refusing the marriage registration, the provincial-level People’s Committee shall notify the involved parties in writing, clearly stating the reasons therefor.

Article 17.- Ceremonies for marriage registration in Vietnam

1. The marriage registration ceremony shall be organized within 7 days as from the date the  provincial-level People’s Committee president sign the marriage certificate, except where  the  involved  parties,  for  plausible  reasons,  request  another  time  limit,  which, however, shall not exceed 90 days; if past this time limit the involved parties request the organization  of  marriage  registration  ceremony,  they  must  restart  the  procedures  for marriage registration.

2. The marriage registration ceremony shall be solemnly organized at the offices of the provincial/municipal Justice Service. When the marriage registration ceremony is held, both marriage  partners must be present. The representatives of the provincial/ municipal Justice Service shall preside over the ceremony, requesting both parties to state their final intention on voluntary marriage. If they agree to marry each other, the representatives of the Justice  Service shall record the marriage in the marriage registers, requesting each party to sign on the marriage certificate, the marriage register and hand over the original marriage certificate to the husbands and wives, each with one certificate.

3. The marriage certificate shall be valid from the date the marriage registration ceremony is organized  and  the marriage is recorded in the marriage register as provided for in Clause 2 of this Article. The granting of copies of the marriage certificate from the original registers shall be effected by the provincial/municipal Justice Service at the requests of the involved parties.

Article 18.- Refusal of marriage registration

1.        The marriage registration shall be refused in the following cases:

a) One or both parties fail to reach the marriage ages according to Vietnamese laws;

b) The foreign party fails to reach the marriage age according to the laws of the country which he/she is citizen of or where he/she permanently resides (for stateless persons);

c) The marriage is not voluntarily decided by the male and/or the female;

d) There is deception, coercion in the marriage;

e) One or both parties is or are married;

f) One or both parties lose the civil act capacity;

g)  The  involved  parties  are  in  the  direct  lines  of  descent  or  relatives  within  three generations;

h) The involved parties are or were once the adoptive father, adoptive mother and the adopted daughter, son; the father-in-law and daughter-in-law; the mother-in-law and son- in-law; the step father and his step- daughter; the step-mother and her step-son;

i) The involved parties are of the same sex (marriage between men, marriage between women).

2.         The marriage registration shall also be denied if the inspection and verification results show  that  the marriage is sham, not for the purpose of building an abundant, equitable, progressive, happy  and sustainable family; the marriage aims at trafficking in women, sexually abusing women or other self-seeking purposes.

Article 19.- Marriage registration at Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices

1. Within 20 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers as well as fees, the Vietnamese diplomatic and consular offices have the responsibility:

a) To post up the marriage notices for 7 consecutive days at their offices;

b) To study and verify the marriage registration dossiers. In case where there is any doubt, complaint or denunciation that the involved parties make a sham marriage, take advantage of the marriage for the purpose of trafficking in women or for other self-seeking purposes or where they deem that the personal identifications of the involved parties or papers in the marriage registration dossiers need to be clarified, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall conduct the verification, including interviews with the involved parties;

c) If deeming that the involved parties fully meet the marriage conditions and do not fall into one of the cases of marriage registration refusal prescribed in Article 18 of this Decree, the  heads  of  the  Vietnamese  diplomatic  or  consular  offices  shall  sign  the  marriage certificates.

In cases of refusing the marriage registration,  the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall send written notifications to the involved parties, clearly stating the reasons therefor.

2. In cases where they deem that the issues to be verified fall within the functions of the police offices, justice bodies or other concerned agencies in the country, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall send official dispatches clearly stating the issues which need to be verified to the concerned agencies  in the country, requesting the verification according to specialized functions.

Within 20 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches from the Vietnamese diplomatic or  consular offices, the concerned agencies in the country shall verify the requested issues and reply the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices in writing

3. The marriage registration ceremony shall be organized within 7 days as from the date the heads of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices sign the marriage certificates, except where the involved parties, for plausible reasons, request other time, but such time limit shall not exceed 90 days; if past this time  limit the involved parties request the organization of the marriage registration ceremony, they must restart the procedures for marriage registration.

4. The marriage registration ceremony shall be solemnly held at the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices. When the marriage registration ceremony is organized, both marriage partners must be present. The representatives of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall preside over the marriage registration ceremony, requesting the two parties to state their final intentions on their voluntary marriage.  If  the two parties agree to marry each other, the representatives of the Vietnamese diplomatic or  consular offices shall record the marriage into the marriage registers, request each party to sign his/her name to the marriage certificates and the marriage register, and hand over to the husband and wife each an original marriage certificate.

5. The marriage certificates shall be valid as from the date the marriage registration ceremony is organized and the marriage is recorded in the marriage register as provided for in Clause 4 of this  Article.  The granting of copies of marriage certificates from the original  books  shall  be  effected  by  the  Vietnamese  diplomatic  or  consular  offices  or Foreign Ministry at the request of the involved parties.

Section 2.

RECOGNITION OF MARRIAGES AND DIVORCES ALREADY CARRIED OUT OVERSEAS

Article 20.- Recognition of marriages and divorces already carried out overseas

1. The  marriages  between  Vietnamese  citizens  or  between  Vietnamese  citizens  and foreigners,  which  have been registered at competent agencies of foreign countries, in accordance with the legislations of those countries, shall be recognized in Vietnam, if by the time of marriage such Vietnamese citizens have not violated Vietnam’s law provisions on marriage conditions and cases of marriage prohibition.

In cases where there are violations of Vietnamese legislation on marriage conditions but by the  time  of  requesting  the  recognition  of  the  marriages,  the  consequences  of  such violations have already been overcome or the recognition of such marriages is beneficial to the protection of the interests of the women  and children, such marriages shall also be recognized in Vietnam.

2.  The  divorces  between  Vietnamese  citizens  or  between  Vietnamese  citizens  and foreigners,  which  have already been settled at courts or other competent agencies of foreign countries, shall be  recognized in Vietnam, if there are no applications for non- recognition of such divorces in Vietnam.

3. The  marriage  recognition  prescribed  in  Clause  1  of  this  Article  and  the  divorce recognition prescribed in Clause 2 of this Article shall be annotated in registers according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Section 3.

MARRIAGE SUPPORT ACTIVITIES

Article 21.- Principles for marriage support activities

The marriage support activities under the provisions of this Decree must comply with the humanitarian and non-profit principles. Marriage brokerage business activities or activities of taking advantage of marriage support to traffic in women, sexually abuse women or for other self-seeking purposes are strictly forbidden.

Article 22.- Conditions for setting up marriage support centers

Vietnam Women’s Unions of the provincial or higher level (hereinafter called the managing organizations) which satisfy all the following conditions shall be entitled to set up Marriage Support Centers:

1. Having programs, plans on humanitarian and non-profit activities to support marriages.

2. Having locations and necessary equipment and facilities to ensure the operations of the centers.

3. Having personnel to ensure the operations of the centers.

4. The expected heads of the Marriage Support Centers must have good virtue, have hearts and  minds  for social, humanitarian and charity activities, and have no criminal records.

Article 23.- Procedures for registration of operations of Marriage Support Centers

1. The Marriage Support Centers must register their operations at the provincial/municipal Justice  Services  of  the  localities  where  they  are  head-quartered.  The  dossiers  for registration of operation of a Marriage Support Center shall include the following papers:

a) The operation registration declaration made according to set form;

b) The copy of the managing organization’s decision on the establishment of the center;

c) The curriculum vitae in set form, the legal record card of the person expected to head the Center;

d) The papers testifying to the location of the Center’s headquarters;

e)  The  expected  programs,  plans  on  marriage  support  activities  according  to  the humanitarian and non-profit principles.

2.  Within  7  days  as  from  the  date  of  receiving  complete  and  valid  dossiers,  the provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall  grant  or  refuse  to  grant  the  operation registration  papers  to  the  Marriage  Support  Centers.  In  case  of  refusal,  the  Justice Services shall notify such in writing to the managing organizations which have set up the centers.

3. The operation registration papers shall be valid for 5 years and can be extended; the duration of  each  extension shall not exceed 5 years. The operation registration paper granted to a Marriage Support Center shall contain the following principal details:

a) The appellations and office addresses of the managing organization and the Center;

b) The full name of the head of the Center;

c) The operations of the Center;

d) The operation duration of the Center;

e) The extension, changes in the content, of the operation registration paper.

Article 24.- Rights and obligations of the Marriage Support Centers

1. The Marriage Support Centers shall have the legal person status, their own seals and accounts.

2 . Marriage Support Centers shall have the rights:

a) recommend  and  assist  Vietnamese  citizens  and  foreigners  to  inquire  into  matters regarding  the  personal  identification,  families  and  social  backgrounds  of  the  parties, customs and practices, as well as other relevant matters requested by the parties; create favorable  conditions  for  them  to  proceed  to   voluntary,  equitable,  progressive  and monogamic marriages;

b) To assist the parties in finalizing dossiers for marriage registration;

c) To receive remuneration in order to cover operation costs at the levels set by the managing  organizations, ensuring the non-profit principle; to be paid with travel fares, accommodation  costs  and   other  reasonable  actual  expenses  under  the  agreement reached with the involved parties;

d) To request extension of operation as well as changes in the content of the operation registration papers;

e) Other rights as prescribed by law.

 

3. The Marriage Support Centers shall have the obligations:

a) To carry out activities in strict accordance with the contents inscribed in the operation registration papers;

b) To publicize and collect remuneration as provided for by the managing organizations to cover the operation costs, ensuring the non-profit principle;

c) To keep secret information and materials on the private life of the parties as provided for by law;

d) To biannually and annually report to the provincial/municipal Justice Services where the operation  registration is made and the managing organizations on the operations of the centers; to report and supply materials or explain matters related to the operations of the centers, when so requested by competent State bodies;

e)    To    submit    to    the   examination   and   inspection   by    the   Justice   Ministry,    the provincial/municipal Justice Services where the operation registration is carried out and other competent agencies of the operations of the centers;

f) To submit to the regular and close inspection and strict management by the managing organizations;

g) To implement the accounting and statistical regimes as provided for by law;

h) To send reports on the settlement of financial revenues and expenditures related to the marriage  support  activities to the managing organizations and the provincial/municipal Justice Services where their operations are registered;

i) Other obligations as prescribed by law.

Article 25.- Extension of operations of marriage support centers

1. Marriage support centers which strictly abide by the provisions of this Decree shall be entitled to extend their operations. At least 3 months before the expiry of their operation registration papers, if  wishing to extend the operation of their  centers, the managing organizations  shall         send                           their    written requests            for               operation            extension   to    the provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  where  the  centers’  operations  are  registered, together with the operation registration papers and the reports on the operation situation of the centers during the time they  were granted the operation registration papers, with certification of the managing organizations.

2. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the complete and valid dossiers, the provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall  decide  or  refuse  to  extend  the  operation registration papers.

In case of permitting the extension, the provincial/ municipal Justice Services shall directly inscribe the extension in the operation registration papers and affix stamps for certification. In case of refusing the extension, the Justice Services shall notify such in writing to the managing organizations which sent the written requests.

Article 26.- Changes in contents of the operation registration papers of Marriage Support Centers

1. In cases where Marriage Support Centers wish to change their appellations and/or headquarters  locations, they must send written requests for annotation on the changes, together  with  their  operation   registration  papers,  to  the  provincial/municipal  Justice Services where their operations have been registered.

Within 3 days as from the date of receiving the written requests for annotation on the changes,  the  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall  directly  inscribe  the  changed contents  in  the  operation   registration  papers  of  the  Centers  and  affix  stamps  for certification.

2. In cases where there are requests for replacement of the heads of the Marriage Support Centers or the operation contents of the Centers, the managing organizations must send the written requests for the changes, clearly stating the purposes, contents and reasons for the changes, together with the operation  registration papers, to the provincial/municipal Justice  Services  where  the  Centers’  operations  have   been  registered.  In  case  of replacement of the heads of the Centers, the curricula vitae made in set form and the legal record cards of the substitutes must be enclosed with the written requests for the change.

Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written requests for changes in the contents of  the   operation   registration  papers,  the  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall consider and decide to  permit or refuse the changes in the contents of the operation registration papers.

In case of permitting the changes, the provincial/ municipal Justice Services shall directly inscribe the  changed contents in the operation registration papers and affix stamps for certification. In case of  refusing the changes, the Justice Services shall notify such in writing to the managing organizations which filed the written requests.

Article 27.- Termination of operations of Marriage Support Centers

1. A Marriage Support Center shall terminate its operation in the following cases:

a) The managing organization decides to dissolve the Center ahead of time or fails to request for the extension of the Center’s operation upon the expiry of its operation.

b) When the Center’s operation duration stated in the operation registration paper has expired, the provincial/municipal Justice Service refuses the extension thereof.

c) It is deprived indefinitely of the right to use the operation registration paper by decision of a competent State body.

2. In cases of operation termination under the provisions at Point a, Clause 1 of this Article, the managing  organizations must send their written notifications of the termination of operation of the Marriage  Support Centers to the provincial/municipal Justice Services where the Centers have registered their  operations, at least 30 days before the date of termination of operations of the Centers. The Marriage  Support Centers shall have to return the operation registration papers to the provincial/municipal Justice Services where they previously registered their operation.

3. In case of operation termination under the provisions at Points b and c, Clause 1 of this Article, the provincial/municipal Justice Services or other competent bodies must send to the  managing  organizations  the  written  refusal  of  the  extension  or  the  decisions  on deprivation of the right to use the operation registration papers at least 30 days before the date the Marriage Support Centers are forced to terminate their operations.

4. Before the date of operation termination, the Marriage Support Centers shall have to repay all debts  (if  any) to other organizations and/or individuals and settle all matters related  to  the  operation  termination;  and  report  thereon  in  writing  to  the  managing organizations  and  the   provincial/municipal   Justice  Services  where  they  previously registered their operation.

Chapter III

RECOGNITION OF FATHERS, MOTHERS, CHILDREN

Article 28.- Conditions for recognition of fathers, mothers, children

1. The  recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  between  Vietnamese  citizens  and foreigners,  between foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam under the provisions of this Decree shall be effected only if the recognizer and the recognize are still alive by the time of filing the written request and it is voluntary and dispute-free.

2. In cases where the children are minor, the fathers or the mothers shall carry out the procedures for recognition of fathers or mothers for such children. If the children are minor but aged full nine years or older, the request for recognition of fathers or mothers must be consented by such children themselves.

3. In cases where the persons to be recognized as offspring remain immature, there must be the consents of their mothers or fathers. If the persons to be recognized as offspring are minor but aged full nine years or older, their consents are required.

4. Adult children applying for the recognition of their fathers, their mothers’ consents are not required;  and for the recognition of their mothers, their fathers’ consents are not required.

Article 29.- Competence to register the recognition of fathers, mothers, children

1. The provincial-level People’s Committees of the localities where the persons to be recognized  fathers, mothers or children permanently reside shall recognize and register the foreigners’ application for recognition of Vietnamese citizens or foreigners permanently residing  in  Vietnam  as  their  fathers,  mothers  or  children;  and  Vietnamese  citizens’ application for recognition of foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam as their fathers, mothers or children.

2. The Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices in foreign countries where Vietnamese citizens reside  shall recognize and register the foreigners’ application for recognition of Vietnamese citizens residing in such countries as their fathers, mothers or children.

Article 30.- Dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children

1. The dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children shall include the following papers:

a) The application for recognition of father, mother or children, made according to set form;

b) The  copies  of  the  people’s  identity  cards  (for  Vietnamese  citizens  staying  in  the country), or  passports or substitute papers (for foreigners and Vietnamese citizens in foreign countries) of the recognizers and the recognizes to be fathers, mothers or children;

c) The copies of the birth certificates of the persons to be recognized as children, for case of recognition of  children; of the fathers, mothers, for case of recognition of fathers or mothers,

d) Papers, documents or evidences (if any) to prove that there is between the recognizer and the recognize the father or mother and children relationship;

e) The  copy  of  the  household  registration  book  or  collective  resident  certificate  (for Vietnamese citizens permanently residing in the country); the permanent residence card (for  foreigners  permanently  residing  in  Vietnam)  of  the  persons  to  be  recognized  as fathers, mothers or children.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be compiled in one set of dossier and filed at the  provincial/municipal Justice Services, if the competence to register the recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  and  children  belongs  to  the  provincial-level  People’s Committees; or filed at the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices, if the competence to register the recognition of fathers, mothers and/or children belongs to such offices.

Article 31.- Time limits for settlement of the recognition of fathers, mothers, children

The time limit for settlement of the recognition of fathers, mothers or children shall be 45 days  as  from  the  date  the  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  or  the  Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices receive the complete and valid dossiers. Where verification is needed as prescribed at Point b, Clause 1, Article 32 or Point b, Clause 1, Article 33 of this Decree, such time limit can be prolonged for 20 days more.

Article 32.- Order of settling the recognition of fathers, mothers or children in Vietnam

1. Within 35 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers as well as fees, the provincial/municipal Justice Services have the responsibility:

a) To  post  up  the  application  for  recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  for  15 consecutive  days  at the offices of the provincial/municipal Justice Services, and at the same time to send official dispatches requesting the commune-level People’s Committees of  the  localities  where  the  persons  to  be  recognized  as  fathers,  mothers  or  children permanently reside to post up the application for the recognition thereof. The commune- level People’s Committees shall have to post up the application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children for 15 consecutive days at their offices. If there is any complaint and/or denunciation about the application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children, the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to send written reports thereon to the provincial/municipal Justice Services.

b) To study and examine dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children.  In  cases  where  there  is  any  doubt,  complaint  or  denunciation  about  the recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  or  where  they  deem  that  the  personal identification of the involved parties or papers in the dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children need to be clarified, the provincial/municipal Justice Service shall carry out the verification, including interviews with the involved parties or request for their addition of necessary papers;

c) To report on the verification results and propose ideas on settlement of the application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children to the provincial-level People’s Committees for decision, enclosed with the dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children.

2. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written reports of the provincial/municipal Justice Services  and the dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children and if deeming that the involved parties have satisfied all conditions for recognition of fathers, mothers or children, the  provincial-level People’s Committee Presidents shall sign decisions to recognize the recognition of fathers, mothers or children and return the dossiers to the provincial/municipal Justice Services so as to hand over such decisions to the involved parties, record in registers the recognition of fathers, mothers or children and archive the dossiers as provided for by law.

In case of refusing the recognition of fathers, mothers or children, the provincial-level

People’s Committees shall notify such in writing to the applicants.

3. Within 7 days as from the date the provincial-level People’s Committee Presidents sign the decisions to recognize the recognition of fathers, mothers or children, except where the involved  parties,  for  plausible  reasons,  request  another  time,  the  provincial/municipal Justice Services shall hand the decisions to recognize the recognition of fathers, mothers or children to the involved parties and record in the registers  the recognition of fathers, mothers or children.

Article 33.- Order of settlement of the application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children at Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices

1. Within 35 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers as well as fees, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices have the responsibility:

a) To  post  up  the  application  for  recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  for  15 consecutive days at their offices;

b) To study and examine dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children.  In  cases  where  there  is  any  doubt,  complaint  or  denunciation  about  the recognition of fathers,  mothers or children or where the personal identification of the involved parties or papers in the dossiers of application for recognition of fathers, mothers or children need to be verified, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall conduct the  verification,  including  interviews  with  the  involved  parties  or   request  for  their supplementation of necessary papers;

c) If deeming that the involved parties satisfy all conditions for recognition of fathers, mothers or children, the heads of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall sign the decisions to acknowledge the recognition of fathers, mothers or children.

In case  of  refusing  the  recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children,  the  Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall notify such in writing to the applicants.

2. Within 10 days as from the date the heads of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices sign the decisions to acknowledge the recognition of fathers, mothers or children, except  where  the  involved  parties,  for  plausible  reasons,  request  another  time,  the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices  shall hand the decisions to acknowledge the recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  to  the  involved  parties  and  record  in  the registers the recognition of fathers, mothers or children.

Article 34.- Acknowledging  the  father,  mother  or  child  recognition  conducted  before foreign competent bodies

Judgments and/or decisions of foreign courts or other competent agencies on recognition of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  between  Vietnamese  citizens  or  between  Vietnamese citizens  and  foreigners   shall   be  recognized  in  Vietnam.  Such  recognition  shall  be annotated in registers according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Chapter IV CHILD ADOPTION

Article 35.- Principles for settlement of child adoption

1. The letting of children to be adopted and the adoption of children can be carried out only in the spirit of  humanitarianism, aiming to ensure the best interests for children and the respect for their fundamental rights.

It is strictly forbidden to take advantage of child adoption for the purposes of exploiting their labor, sexually abusing them, trafficking in children or for other self-seeking purposes.

2. The letting of foreigners residing overseas to adopt children bearing the Vietnamese nationality  (hereinafter  called  Vietnamese  children)  shall  be  considered  and  settled  if Vietnam and the countries  where the child adopters permanently reside have signed agreements  or  have  together  acceded  to  international  agreements  on  child  adoption cooperation.

The letting of foreigners residing in countries which have neither signed agreements with Vietnam nor acceded together with Vietnam to international agreements on child adoption cooperation to adopt Vietnamese children shall be considered and settled only if the very children prescribed at Point b, Clause 2, Article 36 of this Decree are asked for adoption.

Article 36.- Vietnamese children to be adopted

1. Vietnamese children to be adopted must be aged fifteen or younger. Children aged over fifteen can be adopted only if they are disabled or lose their civil act capacity.

Children can only be adopted by one person or two persons being husband and wife. Such husband and wife must be persons of different sexes, bound together in marital relations.

2. Vietnamese children to be adopted shall include:

a) Children who are living in nurturing establishments lawfully set up in Vietnam.

b) Children who are living in families if they are orphans, disabled or relatives of the child adopters.

Article 37.- Requirements on child adopters

1. Foreigners applying to adopt Vietnamese children must meet all conditions to bring up the adopted  children as provided for in Article 69 of the Marriage and Family Law of Vietnam and laws of the countries where such persons permanently reside.

Vietnamese citizens applying to adopt foreign children permanently residing in Vietnam must meet all conditions to bring up the adopted children as provided for in Article 69 of the Marriage and Family Law of Vietnam and laws of the countries which such children bear the nationalities of.

2. Where the husband and the wife apply to adopt children, each of them must comply with the provisions in Clause 1 of this Article.

Article 38.- Establishing the child adoption

The application for adoption of Vietnamese children by foreigners and the application for adoption of foreign children permanently residing in Vietnam by Vietnamese citizens must be registered by competent State bodies according to the order and procedures prescribed in this Decree.

The unregistered child adoption shall not be recognized.

Section 1.

COMPETENCE, ORDER AND PROCEDURES FOR SETTLING THE CHILD ADOPTION REGISTRATION IN VIETNAM

Article 39.- Competence to register child adoption

1. The  provincial-level  People’s  Committees  of  the  localities  where  exist  the  children nurturing  establishments   shall   register   the   foreigners’   application   for   adoption   of Vietnamese children living in such nurturing establishments.

2. The provincial-level People’s Committees of the localities where the children’s natural parents  permanently  reside  shall  register  the  foreigners’  application  for  adoption  of Vietnamese children living in their families. If the children’s natural parents have different places of permanent residence, the  provincial-level People’s Committee of the locality where the father or the mother permanently resides and is bringing up the children shall register the child adoption.

Where children are living with their guardians, the provincial-level People’s Committees of the localities  where the guardians of such children permanently reside shall register the child adoption.

Where the children’s parents or guardians do not have or have not yet had the household registration but have registered their definite temporary residence as provided by the law provisions  on  household  registration,  the  provincial-level  People’s  Committees  of  the localities where the parents or the guardians who are bringing up the children register their definite temporary residence shall register the child adoption.

Article 40.- The time limit for settlement of child adoption application

1. The time limit for settlement of child adoption application in cases of adoption of children by their names shall be 120 days as from the date the International Child Adoption Agency of Vietnam under the Ministry of Justice (hereinafter called the International Child Adoption Agency) receives complete and valid dossiers of the child adoption applicants. Where the police office’s verification is required under the provisions in  Clause 2, Article 45 of this Decree, such time limit can be prolonged for 30 days more.

Where the child adoption applicants fail to identify the children by their names and must go through the child recommendation procedures prescribed in Article 51 of this Decree, the above time limit shall be calculated from the date the International Child Adoption Agency receives the written agreement of the child adopters on the recommended children.

2. The time limit prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall not cover the time prescribed in Clause 2, Article 47 of this Decree.

Article 41.- Child adopters’ dossiers

1. The dossiers of foreign applicants for adoption of Vietnamese children shall include the following papers:

a) The application for adoption of Vietnamese children, made according to set form;

b) The copies of their passports or substitute papers;

c) The valid permit issued by the competent body of the country where the child adoption applicant permanently resides, allowing such person to adopt children. In cases where this type of permit is not issued by the country of permanent residence of the child adoption applicant, it shall be substituted for by a written certification of eligibility for child adoption according to the laws of that country;

d) The written certification issued by a competent health organization of the country, where the child adoption applicant permanently resides, within 6 months counting to the date of receipt of the dossiers,  stating that such person is in good health and not infected with mental diseases, contagious diseases;

e) The written certification of the child adoption applicant’s income situation, proving that such person can afford the child adoption;

f) The child adoption applicants’ judicial record card issued by the competent agency of the country where such person permanently resides, within 6 months counting to the date of receipt of the dossiers.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be compiled in 2 sets of dossier and submitted to the International Child Adoption Agency.

Article 42.- Receiving and processing dossiers of child adoption applicants

1. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the dossiers of the child adoption applicants, the International Child Adoption Agency shall examine and consider the entire dossiers.

In cases where the dossiers are incomplete or invalid, the International Child Adoption Agency  shall   notify  the  child  adoption  applicants  thereof  for  supplementation  and finalization of the dossiers.

2. If deeming that the dossiers are complete and valid and the child adoption applicants fully satisfy the conditions prescribed in Article 37 of this Decree, the International Child Adoption Agency shall have the responsibility:

a) To classify the dossiers and record them into the monitoring books;

b)  To  send  official  dispatches  to  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  to  guide  the nurturing establishments or the parents or guardians of the children to compile dossiers for the children, if the child adoption applicants ask for the to be-adopted children by their very names;

c) To send official dispatches, enclosed with copies of the applications of the child adoption applicants, to the provincial/municipal Justice Services, for carrying out the procedures to recommend children as provided  for in Article 51 of this Decree, if the child adoption applicants fail to identify the to be-adopted children by their very names.

Article 43.- Order of preparing dossiers of children to be adopted by their very names

1. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the International Child Adoption Agency, the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall have to guide the children nurturing establishments (if the children asked for adoption by their very names from the nurturing establishments)  or the children’s parents or guardians (if the children asked for adoption by their very names from their  families) to  compile the children’s dossiers comprising the papers prescribed in Article 44 of this Decree.

2.  Within  30  days  as  from  the  date  of  receiving  the  official  dispatches  of  the provincial/municipal Justice Services, if agreeing to let the children be adopted, the heads of the nurturing establishments or the parents or guardians of the children shall have to complete 4 sets of the  children’s  dossiers and submit them to the provincial/municipal Justice Services.

Article 44.- The dossiers of to be adopted children

1. The dossier of a be-adopted child shall include the following papers:

a) The copy of the child’s birth certificate;

b) The written agreement to let the child be-adopted, as prescribed in Clause 3 of this Article;

c) The written certification  by the health organization of the district or higher level of the child’s health conditions, clearly stating the special conditions, if any;

d) Two color photos of the child, taken at full-length in 10cm x 15cm or 9cm x 12cm size.

2. In addition to the papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article, depending on each specific  case,  the  to  be-adopted  children’s  dossiers  must  also  include  the  following corresponding papers:

a) The record certifying of the child abandonment, if such child has been abandoned;

b) The record certifying that the child was left at a medical establishment, if such child was left at a medical establishment;

c) The copies of the death certificates of the child’s parents, if the child’s natural parents have died or been declared dead;

d) The copy of the court’s legally effective judgment or decision declaring that the child’s natural parents lose their civil act capacity, if such child’s parents have lost their civil act capacity;

e) The child’s written agreement on his/her adoption, if the to be-adopted child is full nine years of age or  older (this can be inscribed in the paper prescribed in Clause 3 of this Article);

f) The  copies  of  the  household  registration  book(s)  or  definite  temporary  residence certificates (for Vietnamese citizens staying in the country); the permanent resident cards (for foreigners permanently residing in Vietnam) of the natural parents or the guardian who is nurturing the child, if the child is living  with his/her family and asked for adoption by his/her very name.

3. After being notified and fully aware of the legal consequences of the child adoption involving foreign  elements, the following persons can sign the papers agreeing to let children be adopted:

a) The heads of the nurturing establishments may agree to let children who are living in the nurturing establishments be adopted. In cases where the father and/or mother of a child are/is still alive, there must also be the written agreement of the father and/or mother of that child, except where that child has been abandoned or left at a medical establishment, or when such child was sent into the nurturing establishment with his/her parents’ written agreement to let their child be adopted or the child’s parents  have lost their civil act capacity.

b) The parents may agree to let their children living with their families be adopted. If a parent of the child has died or been declared dead or has lost his or her civil act capacity, only the agreement of the living parent is required. Where both parents of the child have died or been declared dead or have lost their civil act capacity, there must be the consent of the guardian of that child.

Article 45.- Procedures for verification of children’s dossiers in localities

1.    Within   30   days    as    from   the   date    of   receiving   the   children’s   dossiers,    the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall have the responsibility:

a) To check all papers in the children’s dossiers; if the dossiers are incomplete or invalid, to request the nurturing establishments or the parents or the guardians of the children to supplement and complete the dossiers;

b) To examine the legality of all the papers in the children’s dossiers;

c) To verify, clarify the children’s origins;

d) To send written reports enclosed with a set of the children’s dossier to the International Child Adoption Agency.

2. If deeming that the children have no clear origins or the children’s dossiers contain matters which  need to be verified by the police offices, the provincial/ municipal Justice Service shall send official dispatches to the policy offices of the same level, clearly stating the matters to be clarified and requesting the verification.

Within  30  days  as  from  the  date  of  receiving  the  official  dispatches  from  the provincial/municipal Justice Services, the police offices shall have to verify the requested matters and reply the provincial/ municipal Justice Service in writing.

Article 46.- Procedures for examination of children’s dossiers at the International Child Adoption Agency

Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written reports of the provincial/municipal Justice Services and the children’s dossiers, the International Child Adoption Agency shall have the responsibility:

1. To re-examine all the papers and documents in the children’s dossiers.

2. To send official dispatch stating its opinions, together with one set of the dossier of the child adoption applicants, to the provincial/municipal Justice Service, if deeming that the children’s dossiers have been complete and valid under the provisions of this Decree and the international agreements which Vietnam has signed or acceded to.

3. If deeming that the children’s dossiers are incomplete and/or invalid, to notify such to the provincial/municipal Justice Service in order to request the nurturing establishments or the parents  or  the  guardians  of  the  children  to  supplement  and  complete  the  children’s dossiers.

Article 47.- Completion of child adoption application procedures

1. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written reply of the International Child Adoption   Agency,  enclosed  with  the  dossiers  of  the  child  adoption  applicant,  the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall notify the child adoption applicants to come to Vietnam to complete the procedures for child adoption application.

2. Within 30 days as from the date of receiving the notification of the provincial/municipal Justice Service, the child adoption applicants must be present in Vietnam to complete the procedures for child adoption application. If for objective reasons they cannot be present during  that  time,  they  must  send  written  requests  to  the  provincial/municipal  Justice Service for the extension thereof, the extension duration shall not exceed 60 days.

The child  adoption  applicants  must  pay  fees  and  make  written  commitments  (made according  to  set  form)  to  notify  once  every  six  months  the  provincial-level  People’s Committee  and  the   International  Child  Adoption  Agency  of  the  situation  on  the development of the adopted children in the first three years, then notify such once a year in the subsequent years till the children reach full 18 years of age.

3. Within 7 days as from the date the child adoption applicants pay fees and sign the written  commitments to notify the situation on development of the adopted children, the provincial/municipal  Justice Service shall report on the verification results and propose ideas on settlement of foreigners’  application for adoption of Vietnamese children, and submit them together with one set of the  children’s  dossier and one set of the child adoption applicants’ dossier to the provincial-level People’s Committee for decision.

Article 48.- Deciding on adoption of children

1. The decision to let Vietnamese children be  adopted shall be made only after the procedures for child adoption application are completed under the provisions in Article 47 of this Decree and the child adoption applicants are present in Vietnam to directly receive the adopted children.

2. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written reports of the provincial/municipal Justice Service and the enclosed dossiers, if deeming that the application for adoption of Vietnamese children by  foreigners does not fall into the cases of registration refusal as provided for in Article 50 of this Decree and is a measure to ensure the interests of such children,  the  provincial-level  People’s  Committee  president  shall  sign  the  decision  on adoption of Vietnamese children and return the dossier to the provincial/municipal Justice Service for the latter to organize the hand-over and reception of the adopted children, to record the child adoption into the registers and archive the dossiers according to law provisions.

In case of refusing the child adoption, the provincial-level People’s Committee shall send written  notifications to the child adoption applicants and the International Child Adoption Agency, clearly stating the reasons for the refusal.

Article 49.- Hand-over and reception of adopted children

1. The provincial/municipal Justice Service shall carry out the hand-over and reception of adopted children within 7 days as from the date the provincial-level People’s Committee president signed decision permitting the adoption of Vietnamese children, except for cases where the child adoption applicants, for plausible reasons, request another time.

2. The hand-over and reception of adopted children shall be organized at the office of the provincial/municipal  Justice  Service  in  the  presence  of  the  representatives  of  the provincial/municipal Justice Service, the to be-adopted children; the recipients being the adoptive  fathers  and/or  mothers;  the  hander  being  representatives  of  the  nurturing establishments,  if  the  children  are  adopted  from  the  nurturing  establishments,  or  the fathers, mothers or the guardians of the  children,  if the children are adopted from the families.

The hand-over and reception of adopted children must be fully recorded in the reports on hand-over and reception of adopted children, made according to set form, with signatures of the recipients, the hander  and  the representatives of the provincial/ municipal Justice Service.

3. The representative of the provincial/municipal Justice Service shall make entries into the child adoption registers and hand the decisions to the involved parties.

A decision on adoption of Vietnamese children and the report on hand-over of adopted children shall be made in 4 original copies: 1 copy shall be handed to the recipient, 1 to the hander, 1 archived at the  provincial/municipal Justice Service and 1 to the International Child Adoption Agency

4. Decisions on adoption of Vietnamese children shall come into force as from the date the hand-over of adopted children is organized and recorded in the child adoption registers.

The granting of copies of decisions from the original books shall be effected by the provincial/municipal Justice Service at the requests of the involved parties.

5. provincial/municipal Justice Service shall and to the adoptive fathers and/or mothers’ one set f dossier of the adopted children.

6. Within 7 days as from the date of handing over and receiving the adopted children, the provincial/municipal Justice Service shall have to send to the International Child Adoption Agency the following papers for general monitoring:

a) An original of the decision on adoption of Vietnamese children;

b) An original of the record on hand-over and reception of adopted children;

c) An original of the written commitment to notify on the situation of the development of the adopted children;

d) Other relevant papers, if any, except for papers already included in the dossiers of the children and the child adoption applicants.

Article 50.- Refusal of child adoption application registration

The application for adoption of Vietnamese children shall be refused in the following cases:

1. The child adoption applicants fail to satisfy all conditions on child adoption as prescribed in Article 37 of this Decree.

2. The be-adopted children fail to fully satisfy the conditions as provided for in Article 36 of this Decree.

3. There are grounds to confirm that the child adoption aims to traffic in children, exploit their labor, sexually abuse them or for other self-seeking purposes.

Article 51.- The order of recommending and letting children to be adopted in cases of application for adoption not by the children’s names

1. In cases where the child adoption applicants fail to identify the to be-adopted children by their names, the International Child Adoption Agency shall send official dispatches together with the photocopies of the  applications of the child adopters to the provincial/municipal Justice      Services                aspired      by            the  child            adoption   applicants   for   consideration   and recommendation of children.

2 Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the International Child  Adoption  Agency,  the  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall  send  written requests  to  the  nurturing  establishments  for  determination  of  children  who  are  fully qualified  and  suitable  to  the  aspirations  of  the  child  adoption  applicants  in  order  to recommend them for adoption and reply the International Child Adoption Agency in writing.

Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written requests of the provincial/municipal Justice  Services,  the nurturing establishments shall have to determine the children for recommending them for  adoption and reply the provincial/municipal Justice Services on the results thereof.

3.    Within   7    days    as    from    the   date    of    receiving   the   written    reply    from    the provincial/municipal Justice Services, the International Child Adoption Agency shall have to notify the child  adoption applicants of the results of the recommendation of children for adoption.

4. Within 30 days as from the date of receiving the notification of the International Child Adoption Agency, the child adoption applicants must reply the International Child Adoption Agency in writing on their agreement or disagreement to adopt the recommended children. If  they  agree,  the  International  Child  Adoption  Agency  shall  send  official  dispatches, requesting the provincial/municipal Justice Services to guide the nurturing establishments in compiling the children’s dossiers.

In cases where the child adoption applicants refuse to adopt the recommended children, the          International   Child    Adoption   Agency    shall    notify    such    in    writing    to     the provincial/municipal Justice Services for the latter to notify the nurturing establishments thereof.

5. The order of preparing dossiers of children, papers in the dossiers; the procedures for examination of  children’s dossiers in localities and at the International Child Adoption Agency and the completion of procedures to apply for adoption of children, the decision permitting the child adoption and the hand-over  and reception of adopted children shall comply with the provisions in Articles 43 thru 50 of this Decree.

Section 2.

COMPETENCE, ORDER AND PROCEDURES FOR SETTLEMENT OF CHILD ADOPTION AT VIETNAMESE DIPLOMATIC OR CONSULAR OFFICES

Article 52.- Competence to register child adoptions

The Vietnamese  diplomatic  and  consular  offices  shall  only  settle  the  applications  of foreigners  permanently  residing  in  the  host  countries  for  the  adoption  of  Vietnamese children permanently  residing  in those countries according to the order and procedures prescribed in this Section, if such  children currently do not have permanent residence registration at home. In cases where the to be-adopted Vietnamese children currently have their permanent residence registration at home, the competence, order and procedures for settling the child adoption registration shall comply with the provisions in Section 1 of this Chapter.

Article 53.- The time limit for settlement of child adoption application

The time limit for settlement of child adoption application at Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall be 120 days as from the date such offices receive complete and valid dossiers. In cases where the  concerned agencies in the country are requested to make verifications as provided for in Clause 2, Article 55 of this Decree, such time limit may be prolonged for 45 days more.

Article 54.- Dossiers of application for child adoption

1. The dossiers of application for adoption of Vietnamese children residing overseas shall include the following papers:

a) The papers prescribed in Clause 1, Article 41; Points a and d, Clause 1 of Article 44 of this Decree;

b) The parents’ written agreement to let their children be-adopted. In cases where one parent of the child has died or been declared dead or has lost his or her civil act capacity, only the written agreement of the other parent is required. In cases where both parents have died or been declared dead or have lost their civil act capacity, there must be the written agreement of the guardian of such child;

c) The written certifications by the competent health bodies of the countries where the to be-adopted  children reside of the children’s health conditions, clearly stating the special conditions, if any;

d) The child adoption applicant’s written commitment to notify once every six months (made according  to set form) to the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices and the International Child Adoption Agency of the state of development of the adopted children for the first three years, then once a year for the subsequent years till the children reach full 18 years of age;

e) The papers proving the overseas residence of Vietnamese children.

2. In addition to the papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article, depending on each specific case,  the  dossiers of application for adoption of Vietnamese children residing overseas must also include the corresponding papers prescribed at Points a, b, c, d and e, Clause 2, Article 44 of this Decree.

3. The papers prescribed in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article shall be compiled in 2 sets of dossier for submission to the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular

Article 55.- Procedures for examination of dossiers of application for child adoption

1. After  receiving  the  complete  and  valid  dossiers  as  well  as  fees,  the  Vietnamese diplomatic and consular offices shall have the responsibility:

a) To examine and be accountable for the legality of all the papers in the dossiers;

b) To verify and clarify the children’s origins;

2. In cases where children are deemed having unclear origins or where other matters in the dossiers need to be verified by the police offices or other concerned agencies in the country according to their  functions, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall send official dispatches to the concerned agencies at home, clearly stating the matters to be verified and requesting their verification according to specialized functions.

Within 30 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices, the police offices or other concerned agencies in the country shall have to verify the requested matters and reply the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices in writing.

Article 56.- Deciding on adoption of children and hand-over and reception of adopted children

1. If deeming that the adoption of Vietnamese children residing overseas does not fall into the cases of  registration refusal as provided for in Article 50 of this Decree and is a measure to ensure the interests of such children, the heads of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall sign decisions permitting the adoption of Vietnamese children. In cases of refusing the child adoption, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall notify such in writing to the child adoption applicants, clearly stating the reasons therefor.

2. The hand-over and reception of adopted children shall be carried out within 15 days as from  the  date  the  heads  of  the  Vietnamese  diplomatic  or  consular  offices  sign  the decisions permitting the adoption of Vietnamese children, except where the child adoption applicants, for plausible reasons, request another time.

3. The hand-over and reception of adopted children shall be organized at the headquarters of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices in the presence of the representatives of the Vietnamese  diplomatic or consular offices; the be-adopted children; the recipients being adoptive fathers, mothers; the hander being natural fathers, mothers or guardians of those children.

The hand-over and reception of adopted children must be fully inscribed in the records, made according  to set form, on hand-over and reception of adopted children, with the signatures  of  the  recipients,  the  hander  and  the  representatives  of  the  Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices.

4. The representatives of the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular officers make entries into the child adoption registers and hand over the decisions to the involved parties.

A decision on adoption of a Vietnamese child and the record on hand-over and reception of the adopted child shall be made in 4 originals: 1 shall be handed to the recipient, 1 to the hander, 1 kept at the concerned Vietnamese diplomatic or consular office and 1 shall be addressed to the International Child Adoption Agency.

5. The decisions permitting the adoption of Vietnamese children shall take effect as from the date of organizing the hand-over and reception of the adopted children and recording the child adoption into the registers. The issuance of copies of decisions from the original books  shall  be  effected  by  the  Vietnamese  diplomatic  or  consular  offices  or  Foreign Ministry at the requests of the involved parties.

6. After completing the hand-over and reception of adopted children, the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices shall have to send to the International Child Adoption Agency through the Foreign Ministry the following papers for general monitoring:

a) An original of the decision permitting the adoption of Vietnamese children;

b) An original of the record on hand-over and reception of adopted children;

c) A set of dossier of application for child adoption;

d) Other relevant papers, if any.

Section 3.

RECOGNITION OF CHILD ADOPTION CARRIED OUT OVERSEAS

Article 57.- Recognition of child adoption carried out overseas

The adoption of Vietnamese children or foreign children, which has been registered at the competent agencies of foreign countries, shall be recognized in Vietnam, except for cases prescribed in Article 50 of this Decree. The recognition shall be annotated into the registers according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Section 4.

OPERATIONS OF FOREIGN CHILD ADOPTION ORGANIZATIONS IN VIETNAM

Article 58.- Principles and conditions for as well as forms of operation of foreign child adoption organizations in Vietnam

1. Foreign organizations’ operations in the field of child adoption in Vietnam under the provisions of this Decree must comply with the humanitarian and non-profit principles. It is strictly prohibited to conduct service business activities of child adoption brokerage or to take advantage of the support for child  adoption application to traffic in children, exploit their labor, sexually abuse children or for other self-seeking purposes.

2. Foreign organizations operating in the field of child adoption (hereinafter called the foreign child adoption organizations), having been lawfully set up in countries which have signed agreements with Vietnam or have, together with Vietnam, acceded to international agreements on child adoption cooperation and if satisfying all the conditions prescribed in Clause 3 of this Article, shall be permitted to operate in Vietnam in the form of offices of foreign child adoption organizations (hereinafter called the foreign child adoption offices in order to support and assist the adoption of Vietnamese children.

3. The foreign child adoption organizations may set up foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam, if fully meeting the following conditions:

a) Being permitted by the competent agencies of the countries where the organizations have been set up to operate in the field of child adoption in Vietnam;

b) Having programs, plans or projects on humanitarian or charity activities to support the adoption of Vietnamese children;

c) Having places to locate their offices in Vietnam to ensure their activities;

d) Persons expected to be the heads of the foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam must be  those  having  good  virtues  as  well  as  heart  and  mind  for  humanitarian  or  charity activities, having no criminal records.

4. The foreign child adoption organizations shall take responsibility before Vietnamese laws for all activities of their foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam.

Article 59.- Dossiers of application for permission to set up foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam

1. The dossiers of application for setting up of a Vietnam-based foreign child adoption office of a foreign child adoption organization shall include the following papers:

a) The application for setting up foreign child adoption office in Vietnam, made according to set form;

b) The  copy  of  the  Charter  or  the  document  on  founding  the  foreign  child  adoption organization;

 

c) The copy of the permit for operation in Vietnam, issued by the competent agency of the country where the foreign child adoption organization has been established;

d) The  anticipated  program,  plan  or  project  for  humanitarian  and  charity  activities  to support the application for adoption of Vietnamese children;

e) The report on the situation of child adoption activities of the foreign child adoption organization in  the two latest years, with certification by the competent agency of the country where that organization has been set up, clearly stating the situation of financial revenues  and  expenditures  related  to  activities  in  the  field  of  child  adoption.  If  that organization has implemented projects or carried out activities in support of and assistance to Vietnamese children, there must also be the report on the already conducted activities, with certification by Vietnamese agencies and/or organizations which have received such support or assisting projects or activities;

f) The papers proving the office location;

g) The curriculum vitae and judicial record card of the expected head of the office.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be compiled in two sets of dossier and submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

Article 60.- Procedures for granting permits to set up foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam

1. Within 30 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers, the Ministry of Justice shall examine the dossiers and ask, in its official dispatches, for the opinions of the Ministry of Public Security  and  the provincial-level People’s Committees of the localities where the foreign child adoption offices in  Vietnam are expected to be located and to conduct their activities.

2. Within 30 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Public Security and the provincial-level People’s Committees shall reply the former in writing.

3. Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the written replies of the Ministry of Public Security  and  the  provincial-level  People’s  Committees,  the  Ministry  of  Justice  shall consider and grant permits for setting up the foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam to the foreign child adoption organizations, and at  the same time send written notifications enclosed  with  the  copies  of  the  operation  permits  to  the  provincial/municipal  Justice Services  of  the  localities  where  the  foreign  child  adoption  offices  in   Vietnam  are headquartered and where they are allowed to operate, for coordinated management. In case of refusing to grant permits, the Ministry of Justice shall notify such in writing to the applying foreign child adoption organizations.

4. The permits for setting up foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam shall be valid for 5 years counting  from the date of issuance, and can be extended; the duration of each extension shall not exceed 5 years. The permits for setting up foreign child adoption offices shall include the following principal details:

a) The  appellations  and  addresses  of  the  headquarters  of  the  foreign  child  adoption organization and its office in Vietnam;

b) The full name of the head of the office;

c) The operating areas of the office;

d) The contents of activities which the office is allowed to carry out in order to support the child adoption application;

e) The operation duration of the office;

f) The extension, change in the contents of the permit.

Article 61.- Rights and obligations of foreign child adoption offices

1. The foreign child adoption offices shall have the rights. a) To conduct activities in support of child adoption;

b) To  rent  working  offices,  recruit  Vietnamese  employees  to  work  for  the  offices  as provided for by law;

c) To  conduct  activities  of  technical  assistance,  humanitarian  assistance  for  children nurturing establishments as provided for by law;

d) Other rights prescribed by law.

2. The foreign child adoption offices shall have the obligations:

a) Only to conduct activities strictly within the scope of contents and operating areas prescribed in the permits;

b) To strictly abide by laws, respect customs and practices of Vietnam;

c) To take responsibility for the fulfillment of the commitment to notify the situation of development of the adopted children according to the provisions of this Decree by the child adopters whom the offices have rendered support in the child adoption application;

d) To report biannually and annually to the Ministry of Justice, the provincial/municipal Justice Services of the localities where the offices are headquartered and where the offices are permitted to operate on the  organization, personnel and activities of the offices; to report, supply documents or explanations on  matters related to the operations of the offices, when so requested;

e) To abide by the provisions of Vietnamese legislation on labor, tax, accounting and statistics;

f) To send reports on final settlement of financial revenues and expenditures related to child adoption  activities in Vietnam to the Ministry of Justice, the provincial/municipal Justice Services of the localities where the offices are headquartered and where the offices are permitted to operate;

g)  To  submit  to  the  inspection  and  examination  by  the  Ministry  of  Justice,  the provincial/municipal Justice Services of the localities where the offices are headquartered and  where  the  offices  are  permitted  to  operate  and  to  other  competent  agencies  of Vietnam on the offices’ activities;

h) Other obligations as prescribed by law.

Article 62.- Extension of operation of foreign child adoption offices

1. Foreign child adoption offices which strictly abide by the provisions of this Decree shall be  entitled  to  extend  their  operation.  At  least  3  months  before  the  expiry  of  their establishment  permits,  the  foreign  child  adoption  offices,  if  wishing  to  extend  their operation,  shall  have  to  file  their  application  for  extension  to  the  Ministry  of  Justice, enclosed with the reports on the situation of their activities in Vietnam during the time they are licensed, with opinions of the provincial/ municipal Justice  Services of the localities where the offices are headquartered and where the foreign child adoption  offices are permitted to operate.

2. Within 30 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers, the Ministry of Justice shall consider, consult the concerned agencies and decide to permit or refuse the extension.

In case  of  permitting  the  extension,  the  Ministry  of  Justice  shall  directly  inscribe  the extension in the  permits and affix stamps for certification, and at the same time send written notifications together with  the copies of the extended permits to the provincial/ municipal Justice Services of the localities where the offices are headquartered and where the offices are permitted to operate for coordinated management.

In case of refusing the extension, the Ministry of Justice shall notify such in writing to the applying foreign child adoption offices.

Article 63.- Changes in the contents of permits for setting up foreign child adoption offices

1. In cases where foreign child adoption organizations make changes in their appellations, in their  headquarters  in the countries where they have been  set up, changes in the locations of their foreign  child adoption offices in Vietnam, but within a province or a centrally-run city, the foreign child adoption offices shall have to file their written requests for annotation on the changes, together with the permits, to the Ministry of Justice.

Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the written requests for annotation on the changes, the Ministry of Justice shall directly inscribe the changed contents in the permits for setting up the foreign child adoption offices and affix stamps for certification, and at the same  time  send  written  notifications,  together  with  the  copies  of  the  permits  already annotated with the changes, to the provincial/municipal Justice  Services of the localities where the offices are headquartered and where the foreign child adoption  offices are permitted to operate for coordinated management.

2. In case of request for the replacement of the heads of the foreign child adoption offices in  Vietnam,  changes  in  the  operating  contents,  operating  areas,  headquarters  of  the foreign child adoption offices  in other provinces or centrally-run cities in Vietnam, the foreign child adoption organizations shall have to file their applications for such changes, clearly stating the change purposes, contents and reasons, enclosed with the permits, to the  Ministry  of  Justice.  In  case  of  replacing  the  office  heads,  the   application  for replacement must be enclosed with the curriculum vitae, made according to set form and the judicial record card of the persons expected to replace the office heads.

Within 30 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers of application for changes in the permit contents, the Ministry of Justice shall consider and decide to permit or refuse the changes in the permit contents.

In case of permitting the changes, the Ministry of Justice shall directly inscribe the contents of the changes in the permits and affix stamps for certification, and at the same time send written notifications, together with the copies of the permits with changed contents, to the provincial/municipal Justice Services of the  localities where the foreign child adoption offices  are  headquartered  and  where  they  are  permitted  to  operate  for  coordinated management.

In case of refusing the changes, the Ministry of Justice shall notify such in writing to the applying foreign child adoption offices.

Article 64.- Termination of operation of foreign child adoption offices

1. The foreign child adoption offices shall terminate their operation in Vietnam in the following cases:

a) The foreign child adoption organizations apply for termination of operation in Vietnam ahead of time or upon the expiry of the permits for setting up the foreign child adoption offices they do not request the extension;

b) The foreign child adoption organizations terminate operation in the countries where such organizations have been set up;

c) Upon the expiry of their operations in Vietnam according to the permits granted by the competent  agencies of the countries where the child adoption organizations have been established, they are not permitted to extend operation;

d) Upon the expiry of their operation in Vietnam according to the permits granted by the

Ministry of Justice, they are not allowed to extend their operation;

e) They are indefinitely deprived of the right to use the permits under the decisions of the competent State bodies.

2. In case of termination of operation under the provisions at Points a, b and c, Clause 1 of this Article, the  foreign child adoption organizations must send written notifications on operation  termination  to  the  Ministry  of  Justice  within  30  days  before  the  date  of termination of operation of the foreign child adoption offices and must return the permits for setting up the foreign child adoption offices to the Ministry of Justice.

3. In case of operation termination as provided for at Points d and e, Clause 1 of this Article, the Ministry of Justice or other competent bodies shall have to send to the foreign child adoption organizations the written refusal of extension or the decision on deprivation of the right to use the permits, within 30 days before the foreign child adoption offices are compelled to terminate their operations.

4. Before terminating their operations, the foreign child adoption organizations and the foreign  child  adoption  offices  shall  have  to  repay  all  their  debts  (if  any)  to  relevant organizations and/or  individuals  in Vietnam and settle matters related to the operation termination          and                       report               thereon   in    writing    to    the    Ministry    of    Justice   and    the provincial/ municipal Justice Services of  the localities where the foreign child adoption offices are headquartered and where they are permitted to operate.

5. The Ministry of Justice shall send written notifications on termination of operation of foreign child adoption offices to the provincial/municipal Justice Services of the localities where  the  offices  were  previously  headquartered  and  where  they  were  permitted  to operate.

Chapter V

REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE, RECOGNITION OF FATHERS, MOTHERS OR CHILDREN, CHILD ADOPTION INVOLVING FOREIGN ELEMENTS IN BORDER REGIONS

Article 65.- Application scope

1. This  Chapter  prescribes  the  competence,  order  and  procedures  for  registration  of marriage,   recognition  of  fathers,  mothers  or  children  and  child  adoption  between Vietnamese citizens permanently residing in the border regions and citizens of neighboring countries permanently residing in regions bordering on Vietnam.

2. Where this Chapter does not give specific provisions, other provisions of this Decree shall apply to the settlement of the marriage, the recognition of fathers, mothers or children and the child adoption involving foreign elements in border regions.

Article 66.- Competence to register marriage, recognition of fathers, mothers or children, child adoption

The commune-level People’s Committees of the localities where Vietnamese citizens in border regions permanently reside shall effect the registration of marriage, recognition of fathers,  mothers  or  children  as  well  as  child  adoption  between  Vietnamese  citizens permanently residing in border regions and citizens of neighboring countries permanently residing in regions bordering on Vietnam under the  provisions of this Decree and other Vietnamese law provisions on civil status registration.

Article 67.- Exemption from consular legalization and notarization procedures

1. Papers issued or notarized, authenticated by agencies or organizations of neighboring countries therein for use in Vietnam in the marriage, the recognition of fathers, mothers or children or the child adoption in the border regions as provided for in this Chapter shall be exempt from consular legalization.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article in the languages of neighboring countries must  be  translated into Vietnamese with the translators’ commitment on the correct translation of their contents and the translations thereof need not to be notarized.

Article 68.- Fees

The fee rates for registration of marriage, recognition of fathers, mothers or children and child adoption, which involve foreign elements in the border regions, shall be the same as the registration fee rates applicable to the marriage, the recognition of fathers, mothers or children and the child adoption between Vietnamese citizens in the country.

Article 69.- Marriage

1. Both marriage partners applying for their marriage registration must submit the following papers:

a) The  Vietnamese  citizens  must  submit  the  marriage  registration  declarations  made according to set form;

b) Citizens of neighboring countries must submit the marriage registration declarations made according to set form with certification made within 6 months counting to the date of receiving the dossiers of the competent agencies of those neighboring countries that the involved persons are currently unmarried.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article of each marriage partner must be compiled in two sets of dossiers and submitted at the commune-level People’s Committees of the localities where the Vietnamese citizens in the border regions 3. permanently reside

3. When submitting the dossiers, the marriage partners must produce the following papers:

a) The Vietnamese citizens must produce the border people’s identity cards; in cases where the  border  people’s identity cards are not available, they must produce papers proving their permanent residence in border regions, together with other personal papers, for inspection.

b) The citizens of neighboring countries must produce the personal papers issued by competent State bodies of the neighboring countries to their citizens permanently residing in regions bordering on Vietnam; in cases where such personal papers are not available, they must produce papers proving their  permanent residence in regions bordering on Vietnam, together with their other personal papers, for inspection.

c) For people who had been married but divorced or people whose spouses have died or been declared dead, depending on each specific case, the involved parties shall also have to produce the legally effective  judgments or decisions permitting their divorces or the certificates of their spouses’ death.

4. Within 15 days as from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers and fees, the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to examine the dossiers and proceed with the posting up of the marriage  notices for 7 consecutive days at their offices. After the dossier            examination                and                  the     marriage             posting   up,   the    commune-level   People’s Committees shall send official dispatches, enclosed with one set of marriage registration dossier, to the provincial/municipal Justice Services for comments.

5. Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the commune-level People’s Committees, the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall consider the marriage registration dossiers and give their written replies to the former.

6. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the opinions of the provincial/municipal Justice Services,  the commune-level People’s Committees shall decide on the marriage registration  and  organize  the   marriage  registration  ceremony  as  for  the  cases  of registration of marriage between Vietnamese citizens in the country according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Article 70.- Recognition of fathers, mothers or children

1. A dossier on recognition of fathers, mothers or children shall comprise the following papers:

a) The application for recognition of father, mother or child, made according to set form;

b) Papers, documents or evidences (if any) proving the father- or mother- child relationship between the recognizer and the recognize.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be compiled in two sets of dossiers and  submitted to the commune-level People’s Committees of the localities of border permanent residence of the Vietnamese citizens recognized to be fathers, mothers or children. When submitting the dossiers, the involved persons must produce the papers prescribed at Points a and b, Clause 3, Article 69 of this Decree, for inspection.

3. Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the complete and valid dossiers and fees, the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to examine the dossiers and proceed with the posting up of the notices on the recognition of fathers, mothers or children for 7 consecutive days at their offices.  After the dossier examination and the posting up of father, mother or child recognition notices, the commune-level People’s Committees shall send official dispatches, enclosed with one set of dossiers, to  the provincial/municipal Justice Services for comments.

4. Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the commune-level People’s Committees, the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall consider the dossiers on recognition of fathers, mothers or children and send written replies to the commune- level People’s Committees.

5. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the opinions of the provincial/municipal Justice Services, the commune-level People’s Committees shall decide on the recognition of fathers, mothers or children and hand the decisions to the involved persons as for the cases of recognition of fathers, mothers or children  between Vietnamese citizens in the country according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Article 71.- Child adoption

1. Citizens  of  neighboring  countries  who  permanently  reside  in  regions  bordering  on Vietnam and  wish to adopt Vietnamese children permanently residing in border regions must make written  applications  according to set form, with certification by competent bodies of those neighboring countries that the involved persons have all conditions to bring up the adopted children. If both the husband and the  wife apply for child adoption, the applications must be signed by both the husband and the wife.

The applications must be enclosed with the papers of the children’s parents agreeing to let their children be  adopted. Where one parent of such a child has died or been declared dead, or lose his or her civil act capacity, only the consent of the other parent is required. Where both parents of such child have died or been declared dead or lose their civil act capacity, there must be the written consent of such child’s guardian. In cases where the be-adopted Vietnamese children aged full nine years or older, the written consents of such children are also required.

2. The papers prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be compiled in two sets of dossier and  submitted  to  the  commune-level  People’s  Committees  of  the  localities  of  border permanent residence of the to  be-adopted Vietnamese children. When submitting the dossiers, the involved persons must produce the  papers prescribed at Points a and b, Clause 3, Article 69 of this Decree for inspection.

3. Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the complete and valid dossiers, the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to examine the dossiers and proceed with the posting up of the child adoption notices for 7 consecutive days at their offices. After the examination  of  the  dossiers  and  the  posting  up  of  the  child  adoption  notices,  the commune-level People’s Committees shall send official dispatches, enclosed with one set of dossier, to the provincial/municipal Justice Services for comments.

4. Within 30 days as from the date of receiving the official dispatches of the commune-level People’s  Committees, the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall consider the child adoption dossiers and send written replies to the commune-level People’s Committees.

5. Within 7 days as from the date of receiving the opinions of the provincial/municipal Justice Services, the commune-level People’s Committees shall decide to permit the child adoption and proceed with the hand-over and reception of the adopted children as for the cases  of  registration  of  child  adoption  between  Vietnamese  citizens  in  the  country according to the law provisions on civil status registration.

Chapter VI

STATE MANAGEMENT OVER MARRIAGE AND FAMILY INVOLVING FOREIGN ELEMENTS

Article 72.- Tasks and powers of the Ministry of Justice

1. The Ministry of Justice shall assist the Government in performing the State management over marriage and family involving foreign elements nationwide, having the following tasks and powers:

a) To draft and submit to the competent State bodies for promulgation or to promulgate according to its  competence legal documents on marriage and family involving foreign elements;

b) To direct and guide the provincial-level People’s Committees and coordinate with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in directing and guiding the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices in implementation of  the law provisions on marriage and family involving foreign elements and the civil status registration  operations; to disseminate and educate in the legislation on marriage and family involving foreign elements;

c) To  grant  permits  for  setting  up  foreign  child  adoption  offices  and  manage  their operations in Vietnam;

d) To issue forms of books and papers prescribed in this Decree;

e) To inspect and examine the observance of the legislation on marriage and family involving  foreign  elements;  to  settle  complaints  and  denunciations  according  to  the provisions of this Decree and other relevant law provisions,

f) To gather statistics on the registration of marriage, recognition of fathers, mothers or children, and child adoption, which involve foreign elements;

g) To annually report to the Government on the implementation of the legislation on marriage and family involving foreign elements;

h) To carry out international cooperation in the field of marriage and family involving foreign elements.

2. The International Child Adoption Agency of Vietnam under the Ministry of Justice shall have to assist the Justice Minister in performing the function of State management in the field of child adoption involving foreign elements and perform the tasks and exercise the powers in permitting foreigners to adopt Vietnamese children according to the provisions of this Decree.

Article 73.- Tasks and powers of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with the Ministry of Justice in performing the State management over the marriage and family involving foreign elements, having the following tasks and powers:

1. To direct the Vietnamese diplomatic and consular offices in implementing the legislation on marriage and  family involving foreign elements as well as on civil status registration operations; in taking measures to protect the rights and legitimate interests of Vietnamese citizens in foreign countries in marriage and family relations in accordance with the laws of the host countries and the international agreements which Vietnam has signed or acceded to.

2. To direct the Vietnamese diplomatic and consular offices in observing the regime of statistics and  annual reports on the situation of registration of marriage, recognition of fathers, mothers or children  and  child adoption, which involve foreign elements and fall under their settling jurisdiction.

3. To diplomatically handle matters arising in the process of implementing the international agreements on marriage and family, which Vietnam has signed or acceded to.

4. To issue copies from the original books of marriage certificates, decisions on father, mother or child recognition, decisions on adoption of Vietnamese children according to the provisions of this Decree.

5. To perform other tasks and exercise other powers as provided for by law.

Article 74.- Tasks and powers of the Ministry of Public Security

The Ministry of Public Security shall coordinate with the Ministry of Justice in performing the function of  State management over marriage and family involving foreign elements, having the following tasks and powers:

1. To direct and guide the Police Services of the provinces and centrally-run cities to coordinate with  the provincial/municipal Justice Services in verifying according to their specialized functions the  requested matters in the dossiers of marriage registration, the dossiers of to be-adopted children as provided for in this Decree; to issue passports in time and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese citizens having their marriages registered, having  been  recognized  as  fathers,  mothers  or  children  or  having  been  adopted  to foreigners, to leave Vietnam when so requested.

2. To direct and take measures to prevent and combat acts of abusing the marriage and/or recommendation of children for adoption to seek profits, traffic in, exploit the labor of, or sexually abuse, women and/or children as well as other acts of violating the legislation on marriage and family involving foreign elements.

3. To coordinate with the Ministry of Justice in considering the granting of permits for setting up  foreign  child adoption offices in Vietnam according to the provisions of this Decree; in inspecting and  examining the observance of the legislation on marriage and family involving foreign elements.

4. To perform other tasks and exercise other powers as provided for by law.

Article 75.- Tasks  of  the  ministries,  the  ministerial-level  agencies  and  the  agencies attached to the Government

The ministries, the ministerial-level agencies and the agencies attached to the Government shall, within the scope of their respective functions, tasks and powers, have to coordinate with the Ministry of Justice in performing the State management over marriage and family involving foreign elements.

Article 76.- Tasks and powers of the provincial-level People’s Committees

1. The provincial-level People’s Committees shall perform the State management over marriage and  family involving foreign elements in their respective localities, having the following tasks and powers:

a) To effect the registration of marriage, father, mother or child recognition as well as child adoption, which involve foreign elements, under the provisions of this Decree;

b) To disseminate and educate in the legislation on marriage and family involving foreign elements among population;

c) To make statistics, biannual and annual reports to the Ministry of Justice on the situation of registration of marriage, father, mother or child recognition as well as child adoption and the situation of observance of  the  legislation on marriage and family involving foreign elements in their respective localities;

d) To manage the operations of the Marriage Support Centers and foreign child adoption offices in their respective provinces.

e) To inspect and examine the observance of the legislation on marriage and family involving  foreign   elements  in  their  respective  provinces;  to  settle  complaints  and denunciations and handle law violations in the field of marriage and family involving foreign elements according to the provisions of this Decree and other relevant law provisions.

f) To perform other tasks and exercise other powers as provided for by law.

2. The  provincial/municipal  Justice  Services  shall  assist  the  provincial-level  People’s Committees  in  performing  the  State  management  over  marriage  and  family  involving foreign elements in the  localities;  perform specific tasks and exercise specific powers prescribed in this Decree.

Chapter VII

COMPLAINTS, DENUNCIATIONS AND HANDLING OF VIOLATIONS

Article 77.- Complaints, denunciations

1. Organizations and individuals shall have the right to complain about administrative decisions and/or administrative acts of competent State agencies, officials and employees in the implementation of this Decree.

2. Individuals shall have the right to denounce to competent agencies, organizations or individuals acts of violating the provisions of this Decree

3. The competence, order and procedures for settling complaints and denunciations shall comply with the provisions of legislation on complaints and denunciations.

Article 78.- Handling of violations

1. Those  who  commit  falsity  in  dossier  declarations,  counterfeit  papers  to  apply  for marriage,  father,  mother  or  child  recognition  or  child  adoption,  which  involve  foreign elements; take advantage of the marriage, father, mother or child recognition as well as child adoption, which involve foreign elements, to  seek profits, traffic in, sexually abuse and/or exploit the labor of, women and children; conduct brokerage activities in marriage, father, mother or child recognition and/or child adoption, which involve foreign elements, against  law,  or  commit  other  acts  of  violating  the  legislation  on  marriage  and  family involving  foreign  elements  shall,  depending  on  the  nature  and  seriousness  of  their violations,  be  administratively  sanctioned  or  examined  for  penal  liability;  if  causing damage, they must pay compensations therefor according to law provisions.

2. The Marriage Support Centers and foreign child adoption offices in Vietnam, which commit acts of  taking advantage of the marriage support and/or child adoption, which involve foreign elements, to seek profits, traffic in, sexually abuse and/or exploit the labor of,  women  and  children;  conduct  marriage  support  activities  in  contravention  of  the provisions in their operation licenses, child adoption support activities in contravention of the provisions in the permits for setting up the foreign child adoption offices,  or commit other acts of violating the provisions of this Decree or other relevant law provisions shall, depending on the nature and seriousness of their violations, be administratively sanctioned in forms of caution, fine, or can be deprived of the right to use permits; if causing damage, they must pay compensations therefor according to law provisions.

3. Those who abuse their positions and powers and commit acts of violating the provisions of  this  Decree  as  well  as  other  relevant  law  provisions  in  settling  the  registration  of marriage, father, mother or child recognition and/or child adoption, which involve foreign elements, shall, depending on the nature and seriousness of their violations, be disciplined or examined for penal liability; if causing damage, they must pay compensations therefor according to law provisions.

Chapter VIII IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS

Article 79.- Application of this Decree to a number of special cases

1. The provisions of this Decree shall also apply to settle the registration of marriage, father, mother or child recognition and child adoption between Vietnamese citizens, either or  both  of  them  permanently  residing  abroad.  In  cases  where  Vietnamese  citizens permanently residing overseas apply for the adoption of Vietnamese children, there shall be no restrictions on to be-adopted children as provided for in Clause 2, Article 36 of this Decree.

2. The provisions of this Decree on marriage shall also apply to the registration of marriage in  Vietnam  between  foreigners  permanently  residing  in  Vietnam  and  foreigners  not permanently  residing  in  Vietnam  or  between  foreigners  not  permanently  residing  in Vietnam, if they so request.

3. The provisions of this Decree on child adoption shall also apply to the registration of foreigners’ application for adoption of stateless children permanently residing in Vietnam, and stateless people’s application for adoption of Vietnamese children or stateless children permanently residing in Vietnam.

Article 80.- Papers  required  from  stateless  people,  people  with  two  or  more  foreign nationalities, Vietnamese citizens permanently residing overseas

1. Where this Decree fails to specify the papers issued by foreign competent agencies for use in the registration of foreigners’ marriages, father, mother or child recognition and/or child adoption, for the stateless people and people with two or more foreign nationalities, those papers shall be determined as follows:

a) For stateless people, they are papers issued by competent agencies of the countries where such persons permanently reside;

b) For people with two or more foreign nationalities, they are papers issued by competent bodies of the countries where they bear the nationalities and at the same time permanently reside; if such persons do not permanently reside in any of the countries which they bear the nationalities of, they are papers issued by  competent bodies of the countries which such persons carry the passports of.

2. For  Vietnamese  citizens  permanently  residing  abroad,  the  papers  for  use  in  the registration of marriage, father, mother or child recognition as well as child adoption shall be those issued by competent bodies of the countries where such persons permanently reside or by the Vietnamese diplomatic or consular offices in those countries.

Article 81.- Implementation effect

1. This Decree shall take implementation effect as from January 2, 2003 and replace the Government’s  Decree No.184/CP of November 30, 1994 on procedures for marriage, recognition of out-of-wedlock children, child adoption or sponsorship between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners.

The dossiers of application for marriage, recognition of marriage, recognition of out-of- wedlock children, child adoption, the recognition of child adoption or sponsorship between Vietnamese citizens and  foreigners,  which have been received by Vietnam’s competent agencies before this Decree takes effect  shall continue to be settled according to the provisions of Decree No. 184/CP of November 30, 1994 of the Government.

To annul Decision No.142/2000/QD-TTg of December 11, 2000 of the Prime Minister, promulgating the Regulation on implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation in Child Adoption between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of France.

2. The Minister of Justice shall have to guide and organize the implementation of this Decree.

3. The ministers, the heads of the ministerial-level agencies, the heads of the agencies attached  to  the  Government  and  the  presidents  of  the  People’s  Committees  of  the provinces and centrally-run cities shall have to implement this Decree.

 

On behalf of the Government

Prime Minister

PHAN VAN KHAI