Knowledge base articles

International Surrogacy

Surrogacy is the practice where a person with a uterus (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child's parent(s) after birth. The surrogate mother may be acting altruistically (for no financial gain), or may be paid money. Surrogacy arrangements can be arranged privately between individuals, or commercially, through a fertility clinic, lawyer, or other business. The surrogate mother may not necessarily have any genetic link to the child, as the pregnancy may be from both a donated egg and donated sperm.

In all cases of international surrogacy where it is arranged for a child to be born to a surrogate mother overseas with the intent that the child be brought back to live in New Zealand, New Zealand law applies.

Under New Zealand law, the birth mother and her partner, if she has one, are considered to be the legal parents of the child. Even if the commissioning parents are genetically related to the child or are identified on the birth certificate, they are not considered the legal parents under New Zealand law.

International surrogacy arrangements

New Zealanders should be aware surrogacy (both commercial and altruistic) is now illegal in many countries for international intended parents. This includes countries like Thailand and India, where surrogacy was previously unregulated. Clients are advised to seek legal advice from a lawyer specialising in international surrogacy arrangements. 

Visa options

There is no immigration policy to facilitate the entry of children into New Zealand who have been born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement overseas.

Residence Visa for the child 

  • As the birth mother and her partner are considered to be the legal parents, the child will not be eligible for New Zealand residence unless the child has been adopted by a New Zealand resident/citizen and the adoption meets the necessary adoption requirements (i.e. Hague Convention).
  • Before the process of surrogacy and adoption begins, the adoptive parents must contact Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children) and the Department of Internal Affairs to ensure the process complies with all relevant New Zealand laws. 

Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children)

Department of Internal Affairs

Temporary entry visa for the child

  • While there are no immigration instructions to facilitate the entry of children born as the result of international surrogacy arrangements, there is an agreed process to allow the Minister of Immigration to consider the temporary entry of such children on a case by case basis, so that their adoption process can be finalised.
  • INZ requires evidence of a genetic link between at least one of the commissioning parents and the child, as well as evidence that adoption proceedings are underway with the New Zealand Family Court. 


The only way a child born as the result of an international surrogacy arrangement can become a New Zealand citizen is by Ministerial grant by the Minister of Internal Affairs, unless the commissioning parents have adopted the child.

Even if the child has become a citizen, the parent-child relationship is not legally established until an adoption process is completed. 

Information for parents and lawyers

Immigration New Zealand is part of a whole-of-government approach for surrogacy matters. A fact sheet on international surrogacy, produced jointly by Oranga Tamariki, Immigration New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade,  is available here:

Information Fact Sheet: International Surrogacy