Before you file, make sure you:
If you file an application, you are the applicant.
Refer to the following on how to file an application for an adoption order with the Family Courts.
Who can apply
Applicants who meet the requirements to adopt and have completed the pre-application steps.
Refer to the full list of documents.
Estimated filing fees
Refer to this table for the estimated fees.
How to apply
How long it takes
Most applications for an adoption order conclude within 6 months, unless there are incomplete submissions, complex circumstances or objections to the application.
You may choose to file the application for an adoption order yourself or engage a lawyer. Find out where to get help.
You will need to file these documents:
The Adoption Statement must be prepared according to Form 38 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015. It must be filled in accurately, as the court will use the information from this statement to issue the legal documents related to the adoption.
Ensure that you check all personal details against available documentation, in particular the:
You should check all of the following particulars for each of the relevant parties:
For the applicant
For the child
For the biological parents
Note: If the biological father’s particulars are known, you must include these details in paragraph 8(c) even if they do not appear in the child's birth certificate. You must also obtain his written consent to the adoption.
When filling up paragraph 6(l) of the Adoption Statement, you should state whether you have been supporting the child.
You have to file a supporting affidavit for your application. Refer to this template.
The required supporting documents (exhibits) include:
After completing the affidavit, you must swear or affirm the affidavit before a Commissioner for Oaths.
Refer to the following guidelines on what to do in any of these situations:
If your name or the child's name appears differently in separate documents
You must explain the discrepancies under paragraph 5 of the affidavit. Even a discrepancy in one letter, comma, space is considered significant.
Note: You must also set out all the different names in the Originating Summons and the Adoption Schedule as aliases, for example John Tan@Tan Ah Kow or “John Tan (formerly known as Tan Ah Know)”.
If the child is not a Singapore citizen
You must exhibit the child’s dependant’s pass documents in support of the change in the child’s name..
Ensure that the child’s dependant’s pass appears as a stamp in the child’s passport and that it is valid beyond the date of the next hearing. Otherwise, you must apply to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to extend the pass. A copy of this extended dependant’s pass must be exhibited in the affidavit.
Note: A dependant's pass is compulsory. It is not sufficient to exhibit any other identity card, social visit pass, student’s pass, disembarkation card or any other passes.
If the child has no nationality but was born in Singapore
You must obtain a letter from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority which states that they have no objections to the adoption.
If you are a foreign applicant applying to adopt a child who is a Singaporean citizen
You must exhibit your work permit, employment pass or dependant's pass in the affidavit.
If you do not have any of the mentioned passes or permits, you must state the basis on which you consider yourself a resident in Singapore. For example, you may mention that you are in the process of applying for permanent residency in Singapore or that you have lived here for a number of years and will be doing so in the foreseeable future.
Ensure that all photocopies of documents are clear and without dark smudges. Otherwise the documents may become illegible when scanned and submitted through eLitigation.
If this happens, you will be required to file a supplementary affidavit to exhibit clearer copies of the documents.
Before submitting your application, you must seek consent from at least one of the following parties:
The party needs to sign the consent form (Form 39, Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015) before a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public.
Note: If you cannot use the court's form, your version of the consent form must make it clear that the person who is consenting understands the nature and effect of the adoption order:
If consent is not obtained, you need to apply for the dispensation of consent and service of documents on them. This means that you are requesting to proceed with your application without the relevant party's written consent.
You need to include the reasons for your request in the Originating Summons for Adoption. You must explain the efforts taken to obtain their consent. Refer to Paragraph 29 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015 for more information.
Refer to the following guidelines on what to do in any of these situations:
If the child has been adopted from a foreign country
The consent of the child's biological parents must still be obtained.
Foreign adoption orders have no legal effect in Singapore for the purpose of adoption proceedings. However, you must still exhibit the foreign adoption order in the affidavit.
If either the biological father or biological mother is under 21 years old
You must obtain the consent of all of the following parties:
Note: Please use separate forms when obtaining the consent of the biological parents and their parents (or guardians).
If the person signing the consent is not English-literate
The consent form must be interpreted in the person's chosen language. You must include an interpretation clause to state that this has been done.
If a biological parent cannot be found
You need to request for the dispensation of consent and service on this person.
If the biological father refuses to accept the child as his child
You must still file and serve the application for dispensation of consent and service on the biological father.
If the biological parents or biological grandparents are deceased
You do not need to apply for the dispensation of consent and service on such persons.
If the consent of the biological father cannot be obtained as his identity is unknown
The biological mother must file an affidavit stating that she is not aware of the identity of the biological father and to give brief reasons why. (For example, she may explain that she does not know the biological father's name, even his first name.)
In such cases, you do not have to apply for the dispensation of the biological father's consent.
Note: The fact that the biological father’s name does not appear in the birth certificate is not sufficient to establish that the biological father’s identity is unknown.
If the child is an abandoned child
The written consent of a protector is required for the adoption. The protector could be an MSF officer or an authorised person from a welfare home or orphanage.
You must serve the documents on this person, unless you obtain an order for the dispensation of service of documents on them.
In some cases, you may need to file other related documents to the court for your application. These may include:
Note: This list is not exhaustive as the documents depend on the facts of each case. You may wish to seek legal advice if you need help for your case.
The estimated filing fees include:
Item or service
File the Originating Summons for Adoption
File the Adoption Statement
File the supporting affidavit
File a consent
Note: This table does not include fees payable to the MSF or additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.
Your application is filed in the Family Courts.
You receive a copy of the application documents that have been endorsed by the Family Courts.
You inform the relevant parties of your application.
The Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of whether your application documents have been accepted by the courts.
If the court accepts your application documents, you will be asked to return to the Service Bureau to collect an endorsed version of the documents. This will include the date and time of the first hearing that you must attend.
You will need to serve a copy of the endorsed documents on the relevant parties. This means giving them a copy of the documents in person, in accordance with the court's rules. Refer to Paragraph 78 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions 2015 and Division 66 of the Family Justice Rules 2014.
If you are not represented by a lawyer, you may serve the documents yourself or engage a process server from a law firm of your choice.
You will need to serve your application documents on the MSF.
The court will also instruct you to seek the MSF's consent to act as the Guardian in Adoption (GIA). Refer to the MSF's website for instructions on how to submit the request for the adoption of a Singaporean or permanent resident child or a foreign child.
You will also need to serve your application on the child's biological parents unless any of the following applies:
Note: Even if the biological father refuses to accept the child as his child, he must still be served with the application.
You will need to submit additional supporting documents after you obtain the MSF's written consent to act as the Guardian in Adoption. Find out what you need to do.
Legislation associated with this topic includes:
If you are unable to serve the application, you must file a summons supported by an affidavit to request for dispensation of service or substituted service. The documents must be filed through eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file.
The supporting affidavit needs to include the following details:
You must file a summons supported by affidavit through eLitigation to amend the Originating Summons for Adoption. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file.
The summons will be scheduled for a hearing within 3 weeks after filing.
If the application is granted by the court, the amended Originating Summons must be filed within 14 days, or you will have to apply for an extension of time. You do not need to extract the order granting leave to amend.
Follow the following steps to make changes to the Adoption Statement:
If the child does not have an original birth certificate, you have to explain in an affidavit why this is so and why you are unable to obtain a certified true copy of the original birth certificate. Submit this affidavit through eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file.