U.S. Embassy in The Philippines
Embassy of the United States of America, Manila, Philippines
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Ermita, Metro Manila – 1000
Tel: (632) 528-6300

The Philippine’s Adoption Authority
The Inter-Country Adoption Board
P.O. Box 1622
#2 Chicago corner Ermin Garcia Streets
Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: (632) 721-9781/82; (632) 726-4551/68
Fax: (632) 727-2026


Embassy of The Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 467-9300
Fax: (202) 467-9417

*The Philippines also has consulates in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.


Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel:  1-888-407-4747


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Philippines Flag


Philippines FlagThe Philippines is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Therefore all adoptions between The Philippines and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.
Note:  Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.  Learn more.


Updated: October 2008




To bring an adopted child to United States from The Philippines, you must be found eligible to be an adoptive parent by the U.S. Government.  The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, The Philippines also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements:  U.S. citizens interested in adopting a Filipino child while they are living in The Philippines must be residents of The Philippines for at least three years prior to the filing of the adoption petition, maintain such residence until the adoption is finalized, and posses a certificate of legal capacity to adopt issued by the appropriate agency from the state of residence.  Prospective adoptive parents who meet these requirements should file a petition for adoption with the Philippines Court to begin the adoption process. 

U.S. citizens not meeting these residency requirements will have to adopt through the Inter-Country Adoption Board procedures.

The Philippines Government may waive these requirements if the prospective adoptive parent is a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity as defined by Philippines law, or the prospective adoptive parent is a person who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his/her Filipino spouse. 

  • Age Requirements:  There is no age limit for married prospective adoptive parents.  Single prospective adoptive parents must be at least 24 years old at the time of filing the adoption petition. 


  • Marriage Requirements:  If prospective adoptive parents are married, they must file jointly for adoption.


  • Income Requirements:  There are no minimum income requirements set by The Philippines.  Prospective Adoptive Parents must prove financial stability.


  • Other Requirements:  Prospective adoptive parents must not have ever been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.  Parents must be in a position to provide proper care and support and to give necessary moral values and example to all his/her children, including the child to be adopted.   Prospective adoptive parents agree to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under The Philippines laws and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.



The Philippines has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption.  You cannot adopt a child in The Philippines unless he or she meets the requirements.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States.  Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

Note:  The adoption of relatives is common in Philippine culture.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Relinquishment Requirements:  A child is “committed” by way of the “Deed of Voluntary Commitment,” a document used by DSWD asking for signature from the biological parents prior to matching the child with a prospective adoptive parent.  The document is essentially the consent of the parent(s), releasing the child to DSWD for subsequent adoption.  In the event that the child is abandoned or neglected and no parent is available to sign the “Deed of Voluntary Commitment,” the DSWD instead obtains a commitment order from the court.  This endorsement certifies that intercountry adoption is in the best interests of the child.



The Philippine’s Adoption Authority
The Inter-Country Adoption Board

The Process

Because The Philippines is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from The Philippines must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.   A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below.  You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

Note:  If you filed your I-600a with The Philippines before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption.  Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions.  Learn more.

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
3. Be Matched with a Child
4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in The Philippines
6. Bring your Child Home

1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider  

The first step in adopting a child from The Philippines is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited.   Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and The Philippines.  Learn more.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt  

After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).   Learn how.   

Once the U.S. Government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in The Philippines.   The Philippines’ adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Philippino law.

3. Be Matched with a Child 

The Philippines adoption authority matches the prospective adoptive parents with a child. The Central Authority prepares a report that determines that: the child is adoptable, the envisaged placement is in the best interest of the child, the birth parent or legal custodian has freely consented in writing to the adoption, and no payment has been made to obtain the consent necessary for the adoption to be completed.

4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption 

After you accept a referral to a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800).  USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.   Learn how

After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy.  The Consular Officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa inelegibilities.  If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Philippines’ adoption authority (Article 5 letter).  For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place. 

Remember:  The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process. 

5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in The Philippines  

Remember:  Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in The Philippines, you must have completed the above four steps.  Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purpose of adoption in The Philippines.

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in The Philippines generally includes the following:

  • Role of The Court: The Regional Trial Courts are responsible for domestic adoptions in The Philippines.  This is where prospective adoptive parents file adoption petitions.


  • Adoption Application: To start the Philippine adoption process, prospective adoptive parents or their accredited FAA must contact the Philippine Inter-country Adoption Board (ICAB).
    • Application:  The prospective adoptive parents file an application with the ICAB through a United States adoption agency.
    • Endorsement of Child for Inter-Country Adoption: The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should endorse to the ICAB a child who has been previously committed to the Philippine Government.  See “Relinquishment of the Child” for a description of “committed.”
    • Matching:  The Inter-Country Adoption Placement Committee matches the child with a person or couple interested in adopting and refers its proposal to ICAB for approval.  If the match is approved, the concerned adoption agency in the United States shall be sent a notice of matching proposal. 
    • The prospective adoptive parents shall notify the adoption agency in the United States of his/her decision within 15 days of receipt of the matching proposal.  Note: The Philippine Inter-Country Adoption Act prohibits contact between the prospective adoptive parents and child’s parents /guardians or custodians.
    • Placement Authority:  The ICAB shall issue the Placement Authority within five working days upon receipt of the prospective adoptive parents’ acceptance of the matching proposal.
    • Application for Immigrant Visa: The child appears at the Embassy for his/her immigrant visa interview.
    • Child travels to the United States: The adoptive parents must escort the child from The Philippines to the United States.
    • Supervision of Trial Custody:  Upon assuming custody of the child, the adoptive parents enter a six-month trial period where the accredited adoption agency in the United States monitors the child’s welfare.
    • Petition for Adoption: After completion of the trial custody period, the adoptive parent should file a petition for adoption before the court in the United States.
    • Final Adoption Decree: The final U.S. adoption decree should be submitted to ICAB within a month after its issuance. 


  • Time Frame:  Adoption processing depends upon many variables, including the availability of children to be matched with prospective adoptive parents, the number of prospective adoptive parents on the waiting list, and the caseload of social service agencies and the courts.


  • Adoption Fees:  Fees can vary widely depending upon the adoption agency used.


  • Documents Required:  The following documents, which must be written and officially translated into English, shall accompany the prospective adoptive parents’ application for adoption:
    • Family and Home Study Reports on the family and home of the prospective adoptive parents;
    • Birth Certificates of prospective adoptive parents;
    • Marriage certificate or Decree of Absolute divorce, if applicable;
    • Written consent of the prospective adoptive parents’ biological or adopted children who are ten years of age or over, witnessed by the social worker after proper counseling;
    • Physical and medical evaluation by a duly licensed physician and psychological evaluation by a psychologist
    • Latest income tax return or any other documents showing financial capability;
    • Clearance issued by the police of other proper Government agency of the place of residence;
    • Character reference from the local church minister/priest, employer, or a non-relative member of the immediate community who have known the prospective adoptive parents for at least five (5) years;
    • Certification from the U.S. Department of Justice or other appropriate Government agency that the prospective adoptive parents are qualified to adopt under their national law and that the child to be adopted is allowed to enter the country for trial custody and reside permanently once adopted; and
    • Recent postcard-size pictures of the prospective adoptive parents and all immediate family.

Note:  Additional documents may be requested. 

6. Bringing Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home.   Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport.  Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. 

Philippines Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Philippines. 

U.S. Immigrant Visa 
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.


Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad:  The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree.  We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*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.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.


Statisitcs about adoption from Haiti



Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave The Philippines. 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 Your Visa

In addition to a U.S. passport, you 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 attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for The Philippines, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.  

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The State Department is a good place to start.

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 register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis The Philippines, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.



What does The Philippines require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

According to Philippine law, after the adoptive parents escort the child to the United States and assume custody of the child, they enter a six-month trial period where the accredited adoption agency in the United States monitors the child’s welfare.  After adoptive parents complete the trial custody period, the adoptive parent should file a petition for adoption before the court in the U.S.  The final U.S. adoption decree should be submitted to the ICAB within a month after its issuance.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. 

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note:  Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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