Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Country Information > Singapore Intercountry Adoption Information
Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.
Exercise normal precautions in Singapore.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Singapore.
If you decide to travel to Singapore:
Singapore is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
Because adoptions of children in Singapore are relatively rare and complicated, the U.S. Embassy in Singapore strongly urges U.S. citizens considering adopting a child in Singapore to consult with it before identifying or taking custody of a child or otherwise proceeding with an adoption. The U.S. government is fully committed to protecting the welfare and interests of all parties to an adoption (children, birth parents, and adoptive parents), as well as the integrity of the adoption process, and hopes to avoid situations in which an adoption may have been completed under local law but the child is not eligible under U.S. immigration law to travel to the United States.
The U.S. Embassy in Singapore is aware of cases in which U.S. families have concluded adoptions in Singapore involving children of other nationalities. It is critical that prospective adoptive parents understand that the laws of the child’s country of origin may remain relevant, even if the child has departed that country and is now residing in Singapore. It is therefore important that U.S. prospective adoptive parents residing in Singapore who are considering adopting a child born outside Singapore in Singaporean court first consult with the U.S. Embassy prior to initiating the adoption process.
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Singapore, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Singapore:
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Singapore has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
The person who gives the consent must understand that an adoption order will permanently deprive him/her of his/her parental rights. The Court can waive this consent if it is satisfied that the person whose consent cannot be obtained:
The Court may also allow if there are any other special circumstances that justify the dispensation of consent.
The Court may also allow a waiver if there are any other special circumstances that justify the dispensation of consent.
Please note that in order for a child to meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600 petition must be filed while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if adopted, or to be adopted, together with a sibling under the age of 16).
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents may place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
HOW TO ADOPT
Singapore’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
The process for adopting a child from Singapore generally includes the following steps:
1. Attend pre-adoption briefing
2. Choose an adoption service provider
3. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
4. Be matched with a child
5. Adopt the child in Singapore
6. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
7. Bring your child home
1. Attend Pre-Adoption Briefing
Effective January 2012, all prospective adoptive parents must attend a compulsory Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB) before either applying for a Home Study Report or beginning adoption proceedings. The PAB is conducted by voluntary welfare organizations appointed by MSF. The PAB will provide prospective adoptive parents with all relevant information on adoption, such as the adoption process and the responsibilities of being an adoptive parent.
2. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
Before adopting a child from Singapore, you may wish to consider whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers in the United States must be licensed by the state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
Adopting a child in Singapore is a complex legal process requiring several court appearances. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to consider whether to engage the services of a Singaporean attorney or adoption service provider. Though MSF does not regulate adoption, MSF has designated specific voluntary welfare organizations to provide Home Study Reports (when needed) and the PAB.
Please note that there are many private adoption agencies in Singapore.
Any person (or agency) found to have compromised the welfare of a child may be subject to charges under the Singaporean Children and Young Persons Act.
3. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Singapore, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Singapore and U.S. immigration law.
If you are adopting a non-Singaporean child, a child in state care (under MSF custody) or a child from “Project Cherub,” you must first submit a favorable Home Study Report to MSF. Then you can apply to the Family Court in Singapore for the adoption. When adopting a Singaporean child, a Home Study Report is not required and you can instead petition the Court directly.
You can submit an adoption application to the Family Court in person or through a lawyer. For more information on this process, such as required documents, please refer to the Court’s Procedural Guide to Adoptions.
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
4. Be Matched with a Child
If you are found eligible to adopt and have received a favorable Home Study Report, if you are seeking to adopt a child under state care (MSF) or from Project Cherub, and if a child is available and is deemed eligible for adoption by the MSF, then the MSF will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Singapore’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
5. Adopt Child in Singapore
The process for finalizing the adoption in Singapore generally includes the following:
Home Study Reports are only required before initiating an adoption when the adoptive child is non-Singaporean, in MSF care, or from Project Cherub. The Home Study Report is an assessment of a family's readiness to care for an adopted child, bearing in mind the child’s best interests and the appropriateness of the prospective home. The Home Study Report is also designed to help prospective parents prepare for the adoption process and subsequent raising of an adopted child. It must be performed by an agency accredited by the MSF and takes approximately five weeks to complete. The process typically includes a series of home visits and interviews with relevant family members and friends. The current fee for a Home Study Report is up to U.S. $1,200 and is subject to change. Persons wishing to adopt a Singaporean child can contact an organization accredited by the MSF to complete their home study report. More detailed information on Home Study Reports is available through the MSF.
Given the requirement that prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Singapore, a Home Study Report must be performed in Singapore. A home study performed in the United States is not likely to be considered in support of an adoption in Singapore.
After the child is legally adopted in Singapore and after USCIS has approved the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, the U.S. Embassy in Singapore can process the immigrant visa application in an average of two to three months, depending upon the circumstances of the case.
Singaporean society is virtually corruption-free and “additional” or “hidden” fees are not likely to be encountered in the adoption process. Furthermore, it is illegal for a person relinquishing a child for adoption to ask for or receive monetary payment in exchange for the child. It is also illegal for prospective adoptive parents to make any monetary payment to adopt a child, unless it is approved by the Court.
For additional, detailed information on the Singaporean adoption process, please see Adoption-Ministry of Social and Family Development and Adoption in Singapore Court.
6. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
After you finalize the adoption in Singapore, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
Forms I-600A and I-600 may be filed at the Immigrant Visa Unit, Consular Section, of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. The Embassy accepts petitions from prospective adoptive parents who are resident in Singapore on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Filing fees are payable in cash or by major credit card. Please note that if Form I-600A is filed with the embassy, the embassy will forward it to the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive parents’ current place of residence for adjudication.
Forms I-600A and I-600 must be accompanied by original civil documents and two sets of photocopies. The documents required are:
An appointment to fingerprint all adult family members will be given when the Forms I-600A/I-600 are filed.
7. Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
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.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Singapore.
Please refer to information on Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Authority’s website on how to apply for a passport for your Singaporean child.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and after you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Singapore’s website.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Singapore
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Singapore, see the Department of State’s Singapore Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Singapore, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements]
Singapore does not have post-adoption/post-placement reporting requirements, though adoptive parents are encouraged to participate in Singapore’s pre- and post-adoption programs to help them prepare for and transition to their new parenting roles and ensure the continued well-being of the adopted child. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to visit the individual websites of agencies accredited by MSF for information on any available programs.
If adopting a child from China in Singapore, China’s post-adoption reporting requirements may apply. Please refer to the information on MSF’s website regarding adoptions of children from China in Singapore.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community organizations.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.
*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
U.S. Embassy in Singapore
Embassy of the United States
27 Napier Road
Email: SingaporeCON@state.gov (Attn: IV Unit)
Singapore’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Social and Family Development
512A Thomson Road
#02-01/09 SLF Podium
Embassy of Singapore
3501 International Place, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 537-3100
Fax: (202) 537-0876
Internet: Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C.
Singapore also has Consulates in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1-913-214-5808
For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
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