You may refer to this flow-chart for the process.
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 Pre-Adoption Briefing.
Step 2 Endorsement from your home country (for non-Singapore Citizen who would like to adopt a foreign child)
You must obtain endorsement from your home country through your embassy or High Commission. Your country must support and recognise the adoption.
You will need to submit the following letter of support, duly completed and endorsed by the relevant authority of your country before commencing home study in Singapore.
Step 3 Apply for a Home Study
A Home Study assesses your family's readiness to care for an adopted child. It is conducted by professional social service staff from voluntary welfare organisations accredited by MSF.
If you wish to apply for a non Singapore citizen child, you need to obtain a Home Study Report first. For application of a Home Study, please refer to Apply for Home Study Report.
In the interest of the child, it is important that the prospective adopter/s be assessed to be suitable and ready to adopt a child. As such, you are not to bring any child into Singapore or accept any child from a third party or agency for the purpose of adoption at the Home Study stage. Applicants may have a foreign child under their care only after obtaining the following documents:
i. A favourable HSR and
ii. An In-Principle Approval letter for the said child’s Dependant’s Pass application
Step 4 Identify a child to adopt
You can identify a child on your own.If you are adopting your stepchild, please refer to How to adopt a stepchild.
Step 5 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.
If you cannot obtain the notarised consent of the relevant persons under (1) - (4) above, you can apply to the Court to have their consent dispensed with. The Court may also decide to dispense with the consent if there are special circumstances that justify this.
For more information about the Consent from parents, please refer to the Family Court website.
Step 6 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
Step 7 Apply for Dependant's Pass
A Dependant's Pass (DP) is required for a foreign child to be considered a resident of Singapore. You need to apply to MSF for a Dependant’s Pass for the child, so that he or she will be allowed to enter and remain in Singapore until the adoption is finalised. The application for a DP must be accompanied by a favourable home study report. You are also required to place a security deposit ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 on the day you collect the DP.
For more information, please refer to Apply for Dependant's Pass.
Step 8 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 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 9 Submit an application to the Family Court
If you have completed step 1 to 7, 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, you can refer to A Procedural Guide to Adoptions.
Step 10 Court appoints a Guardian-In-Adoption for the child
The Court will instruct you or your lawyer to seek consent from the Director of Social Welfare from 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 before the Court. The GIA conducts the necessary social investigations into the circumstances of the adoption application with a view to safeguard the interest of the child 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 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 of Social Welfare to be the GIA and issue the consent if it is accepted, kindly ensure that the following documents listed below are prepared. Please seal the documents in an envelope addressed to Child Welfare, Child Protective Service (10th Floor) and deposit it at the MSF DROP BOX which is located at MSF Building Level 1 (beside the security counter).
Do note that only applications with complete set of forms and documents will be processed.
- Date of Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB)
Note: The prospective adopters must attend a compulsory Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB). Registration of PAB can be made via the Adoption Portal at www.adoption.gov.sg.
- Originating summons for adoption
- Adoption statement
- Affidavit in support of the originating summons
- Consent for adoption by natural parents
(a) If consent for adoption by natural parents are unavailable, an affidavit stating the reasons for failure to obtain natural parents’ consent for adoption is required.
(b) If natural parents are below 21 years-old, consent for adoption by natural grandparents is required. If consent for adoption by natural grandparents are unavailable, an affidavit stating the reasons for failure to obtain natural grandparents’ consent for adoption is required.
- The NRICs of the prospective adopters (front and back)
Note: For foreign nationals, the Employment Pass or Visit Pass is required
- The marriage certificate of the prospective adopters
- The birth certificate of the child to be adopted
Note: For foreign nationals, the Dependant’s Pass or Singapore Permanent Resident’s Pass is also required. Application for a Dependant’s Pass can be made via the Adoption Portal at www.adoption.gov.sg.
- GIA fee of $250 for per adoption application. The cheque should be made payable to “AG/MSF”.
- For foreign child, the Home Study Report or Approval Letter for waiver of Home Study assessment for stepchild and biological child adoption is required
Note: Prospective adopters have to obtain a favourable Home Study Report before they can source for a foreign child for adoption. Application for a Home Study assessment can be made via the Adoption Portal at www.adoption.gov.sg
Step 11 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 to the Family Court.
Step 12 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 13 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 parents to be present during the hearing.
The Court may choose to make a decision or adjourn the case for further information on the adoption application at the hearing.
Step 14 Outcome of 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 Birth Certificate. You or your lawyer will receive a letter from ICA to collect the Birth Certificate.
You will have to apply separately to ICA if you intend to apply for Singapore Citizenship for the child.
If the Court dismisses your adoption application, you will have to return the child to his/her family at your own cost.
Step 15 Refund of the security deposit for your child's Dependant's Pass
If the Adoption Order is granted, you are to submit a copy of the child's new Singapore Birth Certificate to MSF for the refund of the security deposit.
If the Court rejects your application, you are required to return the Dependant's Pass to MSF for cancellation.
You will receive the refund within two months after submission of the relevant documents (if Adoption Order is passed) or the Dependant’s Pass (if the Family Court had dismissed the adoption application).
For more information, please refer to Apply for Dependant's Pass.