Inter-Country Adoption

1.      What is Inter-Country Adoption?

Inter-Country Adoption refers to the socio-legal process of adopting a Filipino child by a foreigner or a Filipino citizen permanently residing abroad where the petition is filed, the supervised trial custody is undertaken and the decree of adoption is issued outside the Philippines.


2.      Is there any law in the Philippines that supervises the inter-country adoption of children?

Yes, Republic Act 8043, “An Act Establishing the Rules to Govern Inter-Country Adoption of Filipino Children, and for Other Purposes” was implemented in 1995. This act is also known as the “Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995”.


3.      Who may be adopted?

Only a legally free child may be the subject of inter-country adoption.


4.      Is there an age limit for a child?

Yes. A child means a person who is below fifteen (15) years of age unless sooner emancipated by law.


5.      What is legally-free child, as defined in R.A. 8043?

A Legally-free child means a child who has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in accordance with the Child and Youth Welfare Code.


6.      What children are available for inter- country adoption?

Children available for inter-country adoption placement are those who cannot be placed with an adoptive family in the Philippines. (For relative adoption – only up to the 4th degree of consanguinity)


   a.  All children have to be cleared for inter-country adoption by the Competent Authority - Programs and Projects Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (PPB DSWD)-Central Office.

   b.  Children of either sex are usually available but there may be longer waiting period for girls because of the Filipino culture whereby families hold on to their daughters since they are generally more submissive, less difficult to parent and can be relied upon to care for their family of origin even until parental senescence occurs.

   c.  The allowable age of Filipino children for Inter-country Adoption (ICA) is below 15 years old. A child who is above 15 years old may be processed for ICA when the following circumstances prevail:

        i.  When the child is a part of a sibling group where one or more is below 15 years old;

        ii.  Special Home Finding was initiated before the child’s 15th birthday;

       iii.  Other situations where the intent to adopt was manifested before the child reached 15.

   d.  The general ages of children cleared for inter-country adoption usually ranges from 6 months to 10 years old.

   e.  Special Needs or Hard to Place children include:

        i.      older children (usually boys or girls age 6 to 15 years old);
       ii.      Sibling groups of three (3) or more;
      iii.      Children with major medical/physical problems;
      iv.      Children with major developmental/neurological delay/handicap.


7.      What is Relative Adoption?

Relative Adoption as applies to inter-country adoption, refers to the adoption of children by relatives residing abroad within the fourth degree of consanguity.


8.      Who may adopt under R.A. 8043?

An alien or a Filipino citizen permanently residing abroad may adopt by filing an application for inter-country adoption of a Filipino child if they have the following qualities:

  1. The adopter is at least twenty-seven (27) years of age and at least sixteen (16) years older than the child to be adopted, at the time of the application, unless the adopter is the parent by nature of the child to be adopted or the spouse of such parent;
  2. If married, their spouse must jointly file for the adoption;
  3. Has the capacity to act and assume all rights and responsibilities of parental authority under his national laws, and has undergone the appropriate counseling from an accredited counselor in his/her country;
  4. Has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
  5. Is eligible to adopt under his/her national law;
  6. Is in a position to provide the proper care and support and to give the necessary moral values and example to all his children, including the child to be adopted;
  7. Agrees to hold the basic rights of the child as embodied under Philippine laws, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to abide by the rules and regulations issued to implement the provisions of R.A. 8043.
  8. Comes from a country with whom the Philippines has diplomatic relations and whose government maintains a similarly authorized and accredited agency and that adoption is allowed under his/her national laws;
  9. Possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided in R.A. 8043 and in other applicable laws.


Former Filipinos permanently residing abroad and/or foreigners intending to undertake either local adoption (the filing and the finalization of the adoption is done in the Philippines and have the intention of bringing the adoptive child to their country of residence) or through the inter-country adoption route MUST first secure the approval from the Central Authority or appropriate government agencies before filing any adoption petition.


Adoption applicants from the USA must first secure their suitability and eligibility to adopt (I800A) from the USA Central Authority on Inter-Country Adoption.


Canada based adoption applicants obtain such approval from the Central Authority on Inter-country Adoption of the Province or Territory of residence.


9.      Where may a prospective adopter file his application for an inter-country adoption of a child?

An application to adopt a Filipino child shall be filed either with the Philippine Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the child, or with the Board, through an intermediate agency, whether governmental or an authorized and accredited agency, in the country of the prospective adoptive parents, which application shall be in accordance with the requirements a set forth in the implementing rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Inter-Country Adoption Board.


DSWD also states that the application may be filed with the Board through the Central Authority (CA) on Inter-Country Adoption or a Board accredited Foreign Adoption Agency (FAA) or Governmental Adoption Agency (GAA) in the country where the applicant resides.


10.  What are the documents needed to process the inter-adoption of a child?

The following are the documents needed to be submitted to the Inter-Country Adoption Board, who acts as the central authority in matters relating to inter-country adoption:


  1. Birth Certificate of applicant(s);
  2. Marriage contract, if married, and divorce decree, if applicable;
  3. Written consent of their biological or adoptive children above ten (10) years of age, in the form of sworn statement;
  4. Physical, medical and psychological evaluation by a duly licensed physician and psychologist;
  5. Income tax returns or any document showing the financial capability of the applicant (s);
  6. Police clearance of applicant(s);
  7. Character reference from the local church/minister, the applicant’s employer and a member of the immediate community who have known the applicant(s) for at least five (5) years;
  8. Recent postcard-size pictures of the applicant(s) and his immediate family;


11.  How can a child be considered for placement in a prospective adopter’s family?

In order that a legally-free child may be considered for placement, the following documents also need to be submitted to the Board:

  1. Child study;
  2. Birth certificate/foundling certificate;
  3. Deed of voluntary commitment/decree of abandonment/death certificate of parents;
  4. Medical evaluation/history;
  5. Psychological evaluation, as necessary;
  6. Recent photo of the child.


12.  What is the procedure for Relative Adoption cases?

The Questionnaire for Relative Adoptive Applicants (ICAB Form No.2), which can be downloaded from the website of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, shall be submitted by the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to the Central Authorities (CAs)/ Foreign Adoption Agencies (FAAs). The CAs/FAAs shall endorse to the Board, the completed Questionnaire for Relative Adoptive Applicants (QRAA) with the agency’s assessment and recommendation on the prospective adoptive parents.


  1. If the CA/FAA favorably recommends the PAPs, the Board social worker will then request the CA/FAA to proceed with the preparation of the PAPs’ dossier. On the other hand, based on the significant data on the child as indicated in the QRAA, the assigned ICAB Social Worker will request the DSWD – Field Office (FO) to conduct the Child Study Report (CSR) with supporting documents. Periodic follow-ups will be made with the DSWD-FO.(The time frame from request to Board’s receipt of the report will be 3-6 months. In situations where the FO could not prepare the Child Study Report within the expected time frame in view of heavy adoption caseload, the Board social worker will assist in the conduct of the CSR).


  1. Once the Board receives from the DSWD-FO the child’s dossier and the complete adoption application dossier of the PAPs from the CA or FAA, the Board social worker will prepare an executive summary on the case with his/her recommendation on the child’s adoptive placement for the disposition of the Board.


13.  What are the rules for Family Selection/Matching in Inter-Country Adoption?

The following are the rules for Family Selection/Matching in Inter-Country Adoption:

a)      No child shall be matched to a foreign adoptive family unless it is satisfactorily shown that the child cannot be adopted locally;

b)      The clearance, as issued by the Board, with the copy of the minutes of the meetings, shall form part of the records of the child to be adopted;

c)      The Board would transmit the Placement Authority to the authorized and accredited inter-country adoption agency;

d)      The adoptive parents, or any one of them, shall personally fetch the child in the Philippines.


14.  What do you mean by Family Matching?

Matching refers to the judicious pairing of the adoptive child and the applicant to promote a mutually satisfying parent-child relationship.


15.  Can a foreign couple immediately process for the inter-country adoption of a child?

No. It is stated in R.A. 8043 that the inter-country adoption of a child is a last resort only. R.A. 8043 states that the Board shall ensure that all possibilities for adoption of a child under the Family Code have been exhausted and that the inter-country adoption is in the best interest of the child. Towards this end, the Board shall set up the guidelines to ensure that steps will be taken to place the child in the Philippines before the child is placed for inter-country adoption.


This means that before a foreign couple may ask for the adoption of a child, the Board must first ensure that the child was unable to be placed for adoption in the Philippines. Only then was it established that the child was unsuccessful in being adopted in the Philippines, that the inter-country adoption of the child would be considered.


16.  What are the Pre-Adoptive costs that the applicants in the inter-country adoption would have to bear?

The applicants would have to bear the following costs incidental to the placement of the child:

a)      The cost of bringing the child from the Philippines to the residence of the applicants abroad, including all travel expenses within the Philippines and abroad;

b)      The cost of passport, visa, medical examination and psychological evaluation required, and other related expenses.


The following are the common Pre-Adoptive costs of Inter-Country Adoption (Exhange Rate: USD1.00 = PhP45.00)



PhP Cost

USD Cost

National Statistics Office Birth Certificate or Foundling Certificate






Commission on Filipino Overseas Certificate




Other pre-travel/pre-adoptive cost such as visa pictures, visa medical fee, visa fee, authentication or legalization fee of documents varies according to the Receiving Country.


These requirements and fees may change at any time.


17.  What are the other fees that may be incurred in the inter-country adoption?

The following fees are provided for by Article III Section 13 of the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 (RA 8043) and Section 29 and 40 of the Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations on Inter-Country Adoption. Effective February 2007, the ICAB fees which applies to all adoption categories (Regular or Non-Relative, Relative, Special Needs, Special Home Finding, Summer Program and Medical Missions):





Application Fee


Upon filing of the adoption application.

Processing Fee

USD2,000.00 for single placement

USD3,000.00 for sibling group or 2 or more (as of October 13, 2007)

Upon acceptance of the matching proposal.

Pre-adoptive placement costs

The amount varies from one child to another depending on what part of the Philippines the child comes from and what country he/she is going to.

Some Embassies of the Receiving Countries charge visa fees and require visa medical examinations while others do not. The total amount will be quoted by the Board in the placement proposal.

Upon acceptance of the matching proposal.


The finalized Local Adoption cases requiring the Board’s ratification has its own schedule of fees.


No adoption application will be processed and no Placement Authority will be issued unless the corresponding fees are received by the Board.


These requirements and fees may change at any time.


18.  How would the payments be made to the Board?

All payments (except for the CCSF which shall be addressed to the child caring agency where the child came from) shall be in the form of a company check or international bank draft and shall be made payable to the Board. Personal checks, travelers checks or cash WILL NOT be accepted.


19.  Are there any documents that would need authenticating from the authorized agency?

The following documents require authentication from the Supreme Court, Department of Health and Department of Foreign Affairs:



PhP Cost

USD Cost

  1. Birth or Foundling Certificate

PhP250.00 per document

USD5.55 per document

  1. Deed of Voluntary Commitment or Declaration of Abandonment or DSWD Certificate of Child Legally Available for Adoption

PhP250.00 per document

USD5.55 per document

  1. Placement Authority

PhP250.00 per document

USD5.55 per document

  1. Placement Proposal

PhP250.00 per document

USD5.55 per document

  1. Medical Evaluation Report/Medical Certificate




All these requirements are in compliance to the requirements of the following Receiving Countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain.


These requirements and fees may change at any time.


20.  How long is processing time?

Adoption applicants that have substantive Home Study Report (HSR) and complete supporting documents are reviewed and approved within one month from receipt of the adoption applicant/s' dossier. On the other hand, adoption application with lacking information and/or documents are reviewed and processed depending upon the submission/completion by the Central Authority/Foreign Adoption Agency (CA/FAA) of the requested information and/or documents with the corresponding delay in its approval.


The matching or child referral or allocation largely depends on the stated child preference (i.e. child's age, gender and state of health or extent of known background) of the Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs). This usually takes nine (9) months to one (1) year after the PAPs' approval. If one is willing to accept a special needs child then it generally shortens the waiting period for child allocation.


21.  What happens during Trial Custody?

During the trial custody, the adopting parent(s) shall submit to the governmental agency or the authorized and accredited agency, which shall in turn transmit a copy to the Board, a progress report of the child’s adjustment. The progress report shall be taken in consideration in deciding whether or not to issue the decree of adoption.


22.  Who would supervise the Trial Custody of the child by the applicant?

The governmental agency or the authorized and accredited agency in the country of the adoptive parents which filed the application for inter-country adoption shall be responsible for the trial custody and the care of the child. It shall also provide family counseling and other related services. The trial custody shall be for a period of six (6) months from the time of placement. Only after the lapse of the period of trial custody shall a decree of adoption by issued in the said country, a copy of which shall be set to the Board to form part of the records of the child.


The Department of Foreign Affairs shall set up a system by which Filipino children sent abroad for trial custody are monitored and checked as reported by the authorized and accredited inter-country adoption agency as well as the repatriation to the Philippines of the Filipino child whose adoption has not been approved.


23.  How is an adoption illegal?

An adoption is illegal if it is effected in any manner contrary to the provisions of R.A. 8043 or established State policies, its implementing rules and regulations, executive agreements and other laws pertaining to adoption.


24.  How would the illegality of the adoption be presumed?

Illegality of the adoption would be presumed from the following acts:

a)      Consent for the adoption was acquired through, or attended by coercion fraud, improper material inducement;

b)      There is no authority from the Board to effect adoption;

c)      The procedures and safeguards placed under the law for adoption were not complied with; and

d)      The child to be adopted is subjected to, or exposed to danger, abuse and exploitation.


25.  What is child trafficking?

Acts punishable under R.A. 8043, when committed by a syndicate or where it involves two or more children shall be considered an offense constituting child trafficking and shall merit the penalty of reclusion perpetua.


According to Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the “Anti – Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003”, Trafficking in Persons refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.


The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall also be considered as "trafficking in persons" even if it does not involve any of the means set forth in the preceding paragraph.


26.  When is it deemed to have been committed by a syndicate?

Acts punishable under R.A. 8043 are deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring and/or confederating with one another in carrying out any of the lawful acts defined under R.A. 8043.