Before applying to the Family Court for the Adoption
Step 1 Attend Pre-Adoption Briefing
The Pre-Adoption Briefing is compulsory. You must attend it before you identify a child to adopt or begin the adoption process.
For more information, please refer to
Step 2 Endorsement from your home country (for non-Singapore Citizen who would like to adopt a foreign child)
Non-Singapore citizens who wish to adopt a child in Singapore have to apply for a Letter of Approval to commence their Home Study Assessment. To do so, you need to obtain a Letter of Support (LOS) from your home country's Embassy/High Commission, indicating the following:
- The adopters meet the requirements of adoption under the laws of your own country.
- The adoption in Singapore will be recognised by the adopters' home country(s).
- The adopted child will be granted permanent stay in the adopters' home country(s).
In the event of a joint application by a married couple, both adopters have to obtain an LOS each, if they are of different nationalities.
To apply for a Letter of Approval, please send the following to MSF_Adoption@msf.gov.sg:
- Letter(s) of Support
- Copies of applicants' identification documents (i.e. valid passport and immigration pass)
- Residential address
- Period of residency in Singapore
- Future residency plans
- Marriage certificate
Please note that the application process will take about 1-2months, barring any complexities to the application.
Step 3 Identify a child to adopt
You can identify a child on your own or through MSF. For more information, please refer to
How do I find a child for adoption. If you are adopting your stepchild, please refer to
How to adopt a stepchild.
Step 4 Obtain the Notarised Consent of the child's parents
You must obtain the notarised consent of the parents or any of the following persons (if the parents are not available):
- the guardian of the child;
- the person who has the actual custody of the child;
- the person who is liable (i.e. has a duty) to support the child; or
- the parents or guardian of the biological parent, if the biological parent is below 21 years old.
As adoption involves the extinguishment of rights, duties, obligations and liabilities of the birth parents and the vesting of such rights, duties, obligations and liabilities in the adoptive parents as stipulated in Sections 7(a) and 7(b) of the Adoption of Children Act, efforts have to be made to obtain the birth parents' consent for the adoption. If you are unable to obtain the notarised consent of the relevant persons under (1) - (4) above, you have to apply to the Court to have their consent dispensed with. The Court may decide to dispense with the consent if there are special circumstances to justify this.
Do note that establishing the consent from the birth parent(s) and/or the relevant person(s) will help address the risk of the adoption proceedings being contested should the birth parents gain knowledge of the adoption proceedings subsequently.
You will need to provide an affidavit to Court detailing all the efforts made to locate the birth parent(s) and/or relevant person(s) via the following means:
- Social media
- Mutual friends
- Last place of residence
- Other possible means
For more information about the Consent from parents, please refer to the
Family Court website.
Step 5 Obtain all identification documents of the child
You must obtain and ensure that all documents with regards to the child’s identity are genuine. These documents include:
- Birth Certificate of child
- Passport of child (if child is a Permanent Resident)
Step 6 Prepare an itemised breakdown of costs involved (if any) in obtaining the child
Section 11 of the Adoption of Children Act restricts payment or any other reward in consideration of the adoption, except those with the sanction of the Court.
If you have incurred cost during the transfer of the child (e.g. token of appreciation to parents, payment to an agency for the services rendered or any other parties), the Family Court requires you to provide a breakdown of the amount, with proof of original receipts.
Applying to the Family Court for the Adoption
Step 7 Submit an application to the Family Court
If you have completed steps 1 to 5, you can proceed to submit an application to the Family Court. You can do so in person or through a lawyer. For more information such as procedures to submit application and the required documents,
A Procedural Guide to Adoptions.
Step 8 Court appoints a Guardian-In-Adoption for the child
The Court will instruct you or your lawyer to seek consent from the Director-General of Social Welfare from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to act as Guardian-In-Adoption (GIA) for the child during the adoption process. This is in accordance with Section 10 (3) of the ACA.
The GIA has the duty of safeguarding the interest of the child being considered for adoption. The GIA conducts the necessary social investigations into the circumstances of the adoption application and submits an affidavit to the Family Court. This is in accordance with the Rule 7, Order 68 of Rules of Court.
MSF will review your request for the Director-General of Social Welfare to be the GIA and issue the consent if it is accepted. When you have obtained the consent from MSF, you or your lawyer will have to submit it to the Family Court.
The Family Court will then appoint the Director of Social Welfare as the GIA.
In order for MSF to process your request for the Director-General of Social Welfare to be the GIA and issue the consent if it is accepted, please ensure that all the documents listed below are prepared before applying here.
Do note that only applications with complete set of forms and documents will be processed.
- Certificate of Attendance for Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB), Prospective adopters must attend a compulsory PAB. You can register for this via the
- Originating summons for adoption
- Adoption statement
- Affidavit in support of the originating summons
- Consent for adoption by natural parents and/or relevant person(s) (please refer to Step 4 above for more information).
- Birth certificate of the child to be adopted
- Dependant's Pass of the child to be adopted
- Approval letter for Waiver of Home Study assessment (if applicable)
- GIA fee of $250 for per adoption application. This is payable via interbank funds transfer or PayNow. MSF’s bank account details and SGQR code are provided as follows: Bank Account Name: AG/MSF, Bank Account Type: DBS Current Account, Bank Account Number: 015-020294-7.Please indicate the Child's name and the OSA number for us to identify the payment.
Step 9 Attend interviews with MSF
The GIA will appoint a Child Welfare Officer (CWO) from MSF to conduct the necessary interviews regarding your family and the child’s status and circumstances. You need to cooperate with the appointed CWO and provide the information asked.
You need to attend all interviews at the MSF office or other premises as required, and also allow the CWO to visit your home. Upon completion of the investigation, MSF will prepare an affidavit (which is an assessment on the adoption application based on the findings of the social investigation) to the Family Court.
Step 10 Apply for date of hearing
MSF will send the affidavit to you or your lawyer when it is completed and notify the Family Court. You or your lawyer will submit the affidavit to the Family Court within 2 weeks and apply for a date of hearing.
Step 11 Case Hearing
You or your lawyer has to be present during the court hearing of the case. The Court may decide to call on other parties such as the CWO and the child's natural parents to be present during the hearing.
Step 12 Registration or Return of the child after the Family Court hearing
If the Family Court grants the Adoption Order, the Family Court will inform the Registry of Births & Deaths, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for the issuance of a new Birth Certificate for the child. You or your lawyer will receive a letter from ICA to collect the Birth Certificate.
If the Court dismisses your application, you will have to return the child to his/her family at your own cost.