Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

> The MSF Consolidated Hotline (1800-111-2222) is temporarily unavailable. You may reach MSF via the alternative numbers on the Contact Us page.
> The MSF website may undergo scheduled maintenance every Tues, Fri and Sun, from 12mn to 9am.

Singapore Government

How to adopt a foreign child (excluding children from the People’s Republic of China)


How to adopt a foreign child (excluding children from the People’s Republic of China)




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)

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
  • 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 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, adoption applicants are only allowed to source for a child after obtaining a favourable HSR. There may be implications on the adoption application if the applicants do not adhere to this regulation. 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):

  1. the guardian of the child;
  2. the person who has the actual custody of the child;
  3. the person who is liable (i.e. has a duty) to support the child; or
  4. 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
  • Relatives
  • Last place of residence
  • Other possible means

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. As of 1 May 2020, security deposit will not be required if the foreign child is your spouse's or your biological child.

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 steps 1 to 7, you can proceed to submit an application to the Family Justice Court within 3 weeks of DP collection​. You can do so in person or through a lawyer. For more information on procedures ​relating​ to the submission of applications ​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-General 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-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-General 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.

  1. Certificate of Attendance for Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB), Prospective adopters must attend a compulsory PAB. You can register for this via the Adoption Portal.
  2. Originating summons for adoption
  3. Adoption statement
  4. Affidavit in support of the originating summons
  5. Consent for adoption by natural parents and/or relevant person(s) (please refer to Step 4 above for more information)
  6. Birth certificate of the child to be adopted
  7. Dependant's Pass of the child to be adopted (if applicable)
  8. Approval letter for Waiver of Home Study assessment (if applicable)
  9. GIA fee of $250 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 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.