Hong Kong

Last Updated: January 2010

Hague Adoption Convention Country?

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Hague Convention Information

China is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Since Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a territory of China, all adoptions between Hong Kong 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.

The Government of Hong Kong tends to prefer that prospective adoptive parents are ethnic Chinese. However, non-ethnic Chinese may also adopt if willing to consider an older child or a child with special needs.

Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Hong Kong is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Hong Kong, you must first be found eligible to adopt 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).

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

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents currently living in Hong Kong must be residents of Hong Kong or should offer assurance to the Adoption Unit that they will be living in Hong Kong for a minimum of 12 months.

    There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents residing in the United States.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age. Prospective adoptive parents over the age of 45 will be considered if they are willing to accept older children or children with special needs.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS:
    Both single individuals and married couples are eligible to adopt from Hong Kong. For single prospective adoptive parents, preference is given to single parents with special parental skills, such as nursing or social work skills. Some single parents have found their chances of being approved for adoption in Hong Kong increase if they agree to adopt a child with special needs. Single parents who already have a special needs child have a better chance of being matched with a special needs adoptee.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS:
    Prospective adoptive parents will have to prove their income exceeds the Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income set by the Social Welfare Department. The Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income requires that after a family has paid all the necessary monthly expenditures (e.g., mortgage, loans, insurance, helper wages, tuition, etc.), a minimum level of funds are left over for incidental expenses. For instance, a family of three must show monthly funds of HK$18,700 and a family of four must show monthly funds of HK23,500. The Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income is not available publicly. The Social Welfare Department must be contacted directly for specifics. Couples residing outside of Hong Kong must submit their tax returns and complete a questionnaire detailing their financial assets.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents should be in good physical and mental health.
Who Can Be Adopted

Because Hong Kong has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Hong Kong must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Hong Kong attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Hong Kong's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

Hong Kong also has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Hong Kong unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Age Requirements: Children between the ages of six months and 18 years of age can be adopted. (Statistics reflect that most children available for adoption are five years old or younger and some have health problems or are disabled.)
How To Adopt

Hong Kong's Adoption Authority

Adoption Unit of the Social Welfare Department

The Process

Because Hong Kong has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Hong Kong 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 Hong Kong 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.

The process for adopting a child from Hong Kong generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Hong Kong
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Hong Kong 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 Hong Kong.

  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 Hong Kong. Hong Kong's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Hong Kong law.

    The Hong Kong-licensed provider will submit the adoption application to the Hong Kong central authority, including any preferences the prospective adoptive parents may have about the child's age, sex, physical/medical condition, or region of origin within Hong Kong. The application package should also include a cover letter, written along the lines found at the following web site: http://www.gwca.org/adoption/faqs/p_faq.php?faq=30.

    The Hong Kong central authority reviews the documents and advises the prospective adoptive parent(s), either directly or through their adoption agency, whether additional documents or authentications are required.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Hong Kong as described in the "WHO" tab.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Hong Kong determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Hong King may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    Once the Hong Kong central authority approves the application, it matches the application with a specific child. The central authority then sends the prospective adoptive parent(s) a letter of introduction about the child, including photographs and the child's health record. This document is commonly called a 'referral.' Prospective adoptive parents who still have questions about the child after reviewing this information may follow up with the Hong Kong central authority either directly or via their adoption agency .

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Hong Kong's requirements, as described in the "Who" tab. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

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

    Prospective adoptive parent(s) then either accept or refuse the referral and send the document to their agency, which forwards it to the Hong Kong central authority. If prospective adoptive parent(s) are considering refusing a referral they should discuss with their agency the possibility of getting a second referral.

    After you accept a match with 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 for 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 ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Hong Kong 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 Hong Kong:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Hong Kong, 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 purposes of adoption in Hong Kong.

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

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Director of the Social Welfare Department reviews the documentation to determine if the adoption is in the best interests of the child. Upon approval, the Social Welfare Department will file a court order to pass the care and control of the child to the Director of the U.S. adoption agency. (If the prospective adoptive parents are residents of Hong Kong, the child is released into their home for at least six months.) During the six months of living with the family, an adoption social worker makes periodic visits to determine if adoption by the prospective adoptive parents is in the best interest of the child.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: The District Court grants the adoption order and issues the final adoption certificate. For non-residents of Hong Kong, the finalization of the adoption passes the care and control of the child from the U.S. adoption agency to the adoptive parents.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES:The adoption agency arranges the prospective adoptive parents' home study. The adoption agency works with one of the agencies in Hong Kong that have been accredited to facilitate international adoptions. The U.S. adoption agency forwards the home study report and supporting documents to the Hong Kong accredited body. The Hong Kong agency submits the documentation to the Social Welfare Department.

      Currently the following agencies have been accredited in Hong Kong to facilitate intercountry adoptions: International Social Service (ISS), Po Leung Kuk, and Mother's Choice Overseas Adoption Service. The ISS works closely with Hong Kong's Social Welfare Department in placing children overseas. Mother's Choice specializes in placing children with special needs - ranging from vision and hearing impairment to cerebral palsy, down's syndrome, and developmental delays.

      International Social Service Hong Kong Branch
      6/F., Southorn Center
      130 Hennessy Road
      Wanchai, Hong Kong
      Tel: (852) 2834-6863
      Fax: (852) 2834-7627
      Email: isshkbr@netvigator.com
      Website: http://www.isshk.org

      (U.S. Office)
      700 Light Street
      Baltimore, MD 21230
      Tel: (410) 230-2734
      Fax: (410) 230-2741

      Intercountry Adoption Service
      Po Leung Kuk

      66 Leighton Road,
      Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
      Tel.: (852) 2277 8368
      Fax: (852) 2577 7380

      Mother's Choice
      Overseas Adoption Service
      10 Borrett Road
      Mid-Levels
      Hong Kong
      Tel: (852) 2537-4122
      Fax: (852) 2537-7681
      Email: adoption@motherschoice.com
      Website: http://www.motherschoice.com/
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: The adoption application is filed with the Adoption Unit of the Social Welfare Department.
    • TIME FRAME: The average amount of time required to complete an intercountry adoption ranges from 12-24 months. The timeframe may be increased if the prospective adoptive parents have specific requests regarding the child's age and/or medical conditions.
    • ADOPTION FEES: The Social Welfare Department's Adoption Unit provides an assessment of the prospective adoptive parents' suitability to adopt at no charge. Adoptive parents based in Hong Kong are required to pay $2,840 HK for acting as guardian ad litem while the adoption proceedings are finalized. Prospective adoptive parents residing outside of Hong Kong are not required to pay this fee.

      In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.
    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following is a list of documents required to adopt a child from Hong Kong:
      • Copy of U.S. passport;
      • Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable);
      • Evidence of termination of previous marriage (if applicable);
      • Proof of income;
      • Copies of school credentials;
      • Evidence of prior adoptions (if any); and
      • Satisfactory home study report and medical examination reports of the adopting parents. (These documents are not required by Hong Kong to be authenticated. The agencies in the U.S. engaging in adoptions submit notarized home study and physical exam reports in adoption cases.)

    NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

  6. Bring 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
      The Social Welfare Department will obtain the child's original birth certificate (or certified duplicate) from the Hong Kong Birth Registry. This document will then be passed to the agency that is caring for the child. Adoptive parents can apply for their names to be added as annotations to the child's birth certificate.

    • Hong Kong Passport
      Your child is not yet an American citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Hong Kong.

    • 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 Consulate General for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Consulate General for final review and approval of the child's I-800 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.

      On November 3, 2008, the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong's panel physicians began using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening for all immigrant visa applicants from Hong Kong and Macau, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/panel_2007.htm for further information regarding the 2007 Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians.

    Child Citizenship Act

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

    For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

    * 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. about the Child Citizenship Act.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Hong Kong. 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 Hong Kong, 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 in Hong Kong, registration assists the U.S. Consulate General in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

After Adoption

Post-Adoption Reporting Taking Care of Your Family

What does Hong Kong require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Hong Kong does not have any post-adoption requirements.

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.

Contact Information

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau
26 Garden Road
Central, Hong Kong
Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of State
Hong Kong Immigrant Visa Unit
8000 Hong Kong Place
Washington, DC 20521-8000
Tel: (852) 2841-2211
Fax: (852) 2845-4845
Email: http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/visa_inquiries.html

Hong Kong's Adoption Authority
Adoption Unit
Social Welfare Department
Room 201, 2/F., North Point Goverment Offices,
333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3595 1935
Fax: (852) 3595 0025
Email: grau@swd.gov.hk
Internet: http://www.info.gov.hk/swd

Diplomatic Mission for Hong Kong
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 588-0032
Email: webmaster@china-embassy.org

*The People's Republic of China also has consulates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, and Chicago.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
http://adoption.state.gov

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).

American Citizens residing in Hong Kong and Macau are served by the USCIS District Office in Bangkok, Thailand.
E-mail: bkkcis.inquiries@dhs.gov
Phone: +66-2-205-5352
Fax: +66-2-255-2917
Mail: DHS/USCIS
Sindhorn, Tower 2, 15 th Floor
130-133 Wireless Rd.
Lumpini Pathumwan
Bangkok Thailand 10330