How to Adopt a Child in Singapore

Adoption Law in Singapore

The law on adoption in Singapore is governed by the Adoption of Children Act (Cap 4).

There are two ways in which a child may be adopted in Singapore. Firstly, a couple can adopt a child through relatives, friends or other parties. Secondly, they can apply to adopt a child that is under state care via Ministry of Social and Family development (MSF).

Requirements that you must meet to be eligible to adopt a child

You must be:

  • Singapore citizens or permanent residents, or deemed by the Family Justice Court as residents in Singapore;
  • Must be at least 25 years old;
  • at least 21 years old older than the child. Exceptions may be granted if the adopter is related to the child by blood; and
  • Not be older than the child by more than 50 years.

Both married couples and singles can adopt a child. If you are married and intend to adopt alone, you must obtain the consent of your partner.

Please note that if you are single and male, you will not be allowed to adopt a girl unless special circumstances exist.

Requirements that the child must meet

The Child must be

  • below 21 years old; and
  • A resident of Singapore meaning a Singapore citizen, Permanent resident or Dependant’s pass holder.

A child residing in Singapore on a student pass, visit pass or special pass does not qualify.

What if I want to adopt a child from overseas?

Yes, you can adopt a child from another country. However, there are additional requirements to doing so. Furthermore, some countries may have their own requirements on top of the requirements in Singapore.

The first thing you have to do if you want to adopt a child from another country is to obtain a favourable Home Study Report (HSR). This report must be done even before you start looking for a child to adopt. The HSR is also one of the requirements for making an application for a dependant’s pass which will make the child eligible for adoption.

Home Study Report

The HSR is a comprehensive investigation carried out by accredited social service organisations looking into the circumstances surrounding the adoption and your family. It also assesses your eligibility and readiness to adopt a child. A list of HSR accredited social service organisations can be found here.

A HSR cost about $1,500, and is only valid for 2 years or one adoption. A new HSR will be required for a second adoption or upon expiry of the old HSR.

Dependant’s pass

It is only after receiving a favourable HSR report can you proceed to make an application for a dependant’s pass for the child so that the child can remain in Singapore while waiting for the adoption to be finalised and be eligible for adoption under Singapore law.

A dependant’s pass is valid for 9 months and can be renewed on a case by case basis.

The application for a dependant’s pass can be done online here and the cost breakdown as follows:

* Please note that if you wish to adopt a child from China, you are also required to satisfy the requirements set out by the Chinese government. You can find out more information here.

What is the Adoption Process?

Depending on whether the child you wish to adopt is a Singapore citizen/Permanent resident or born overseas, the adoption process differs slightly. If you intend to adopt a child who is born overseas, you may get an overview of the process here.

There are two broad stages in the adoption process. Namely, the Pre-Court stage and Court stage.

How long will it take?

Local adoptions are usually faster and take around 5 – 7 months. As adoption of overseas children requires a HSR and a dependant’s pass, it will usually take a few more months.

What Outcomes are there in an Adoption Application in Singapore?

There are only two outcomes for your adoption application. Your application will either be granted or it will be rejected.

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 will be informed when you can collect the new Birth Certificate.

If the Court rejects your application, you will have to return the child to his/her family.

What are the Effects of Adoption Orders?

Once the adoption order is granted, the child’s ties with the biological parents will be severed and the adoptive parents will assume all rights, obligations and responsibilities in the care and education of the child.

Looking for help in adopting a child in Singapore? Contact us for a free consultation.