TaiwanLast Updated: March 2013
Hague Adoption Convention Country?NO
- Hague Convention Information
Taiwan 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).
In January 2013, the Taiwan Child Welfare Bureau announced its participation in a Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) program with the United States. The PAIR program requires prospective adoptive parents to receive a preliminary determination on the child’s likely immigration eligibility from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prior to filing an adoption case with a court. This preliminary determination, also referred to as the PAIR process, provides foreign courts and relevant Taiwan authorities with information regarding a child’s likely eligibility to immigrate to the United States before the court enters an order establishing a permanent legal relationship between the U.S. citizen parent(s) and the child.
The Taiwan Child Welfare Bureau issued an administrative order effective April 1, 2013 requiring adoption service providers to include a PAIR letter with the filing of an adoption proceeding with a Taiwan court. To enable prospective adoptive parents adopting from Taiwan to comply with Taiwan’s new administrative order, USCIS issued a policy memorandum allowing prospective adoptive parents to file a Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative), before filing an adoption proceeding with a Taiwan court.
Following the receipt of a PAIR letter from USCIS and subsequent issuance of a foreign adoption decree, prospective adoptive parents must submit the foreign adoption decree and the child’s travel and identity documents to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) which will then complete the final approval of their Form I-600 and issuance of a visa. If AIT finds the case is not clearly approvable, it will return the case to USCIS for further action. Prospective adoptive parents should pay special attention to the process described below as it differs from other non-Hague and Hague countries.
Please note again: Beginning on April 1, 2013, the Taiwan authorities will require a PAIR letter from USCIS in all U.S. adoption cases.
The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. All Consular and other representative functions are handled by AIT, a non-profit, private corporation authorized by the Taiwan Relations Act to conduct and carry out programs, transactions, and other relations between the United States and Taiwan.
We strongly urge prospective adoptive parents to only work with licensed adoption facilitators in Taiwan. The use of unlicensed facilitators in Taiwan could result in an adoption being carried out in a manner that does not permit the child to qualify as an orphan as defined under U.S. immigration law. If the child does not qualify as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, he or she may be found to be ineligible to immigrate to the United States. It is important for prospective adoptive parents to confirm that the adoption service provider they choose is authorized to facilitate adoptions in Taiwan by checking with Taiwan’s adoption authority, the Child Welfare Bureau. Please see the Information below in the “Choose and Adoption Service Provider” section.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Taiwan, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
- Who Can Adopt
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Taiwan:
- Residency: There are currently no residency requirements that prospective adoptive parents must meet in order to adopt an orphan from Taiwan.
- Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) must be at least twenty years older than the child to be adopted. If married, one spouse must be at least twenty years older than the child to be adopted and the other spouse must be at least 16 years older than the child to be adopted.
- Marriage: A married person who adopts a child shall do so jointly with his/her spouse. Single individuals may adopt from Taiwan..
- Income: Prospective adoptive parents must have a stable residence, legitimate employment and sufficient financial means.
- Other: There is no official policy or law prohibiting adoptions by LGBT individuals. Taiwan law does not recognize marriage between partners of the same sex.
- Who Can Be Adopted
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Taiwan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:
- Relinquishment: Where the biological mother is alive and her whereabouts known, the Family Court will request a written, signed relinquishment document.
- Abandonment: A legal determination of abandonment by a court is usually required.
- Age of Adoptive Child: An adoptive child must be at least 20 years younger than the adopted parent. If the adoptive parents are married, the child must be at least 20 years younger than one spouse and at least 16 years younger than the other spouse.
- Sibling Adoptions: None
- Special Needs or Medical Conditions: None
- Waiting Period or Foster Care: None
In addition, no child may be adopted who is:
- directly related by blood to the prospective adoptive parents (for example: grandparents cannot adopt their grandchildren);
- directly related by marriage, except in the adoption of the other spouse’s child as a stepchild (for example: A parent-in-law cannot adopt his/her son-in-law or daughter-in-law); or
- indirectly related by blood or marriage, such as cousins (unless removed by a certain degree), the spouse of a sibling, or a sibling of your spouse. (Note: Taiwan law is very detailed about what degree of indirect blood relation is excluded from adoption. If prospective adoptive parents are concerned about possible blood ties with the child they wish to adopt, they should contact AIT for clarification before proceeding with the adoption.)
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents 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
Taiwan's Adoption Authority
Children's Bureau (Er Tong Ju), Ministry of Interior
The process for adopting a child from Taiwan generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an adoption service provider
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child
- File the Form I-600 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to initiate the Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) prior to filing an adoption case with the courts
- Adopt the child in Taiwan
- Receive final approval of your Form I-600
- Obtain visa and bring your child home
Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Taiwan is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
Whether you choose a U.S.-based or foreign adoption service provider, they must be licensed in Taiwan or work with a licensed adoption agency in Taiwan. Please note that an unlicensed adoption service provider may not assume legal custody of a child for the purpose of intercountry adoption. The use of an unlicensed adoption service provider may result in your child not being eligible for an immigrant visa. Below is a list of agencies that are currently licensed in Taiwan.
Adoption Service Institutes and Foundations in Taiwan:
Child Welfare League Foundation
7F, No. 43 Chang’an W. Road, Datong District
Taipei City 103, Taiwan
Chung Yi Social Welfare Foundation
No.12, Lane 85, Jingxing Road, Wenshan District
Taipei City 116, Taiwan
Good Shepherd Welfare Services Tainan Babies’ Home
No.12, Lixing Street, North District
Tainan City 704, Taiwan
The Home of God’s Love
No. 36, Lane 189, Dapi 2nd Road
Yilan County 269, Taiwan
Christian Salvation Services
7F, No. 420, Section1, Keelung Road
Xinyi District, Taipei City 110, Taiwan
No. 155, Section 2, Beishen Road
Taipei County 222, Taiwan
Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from Taiwan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Taiwan and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the Children’s Bureau (Er Tong Ju), Ministry of Interior of Taiwan.
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.
Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, your Taiwan adoption service provider 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 Taiwan’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.
File the Form I-600 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to initiate the Pre-Adoption Immigration Review prior to filing an adoption case with the courts
Under the Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) program, the U.S. prospective adoptive parent(s) files a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with the National Benefits Center (NBC) prior to obtaining a final adoption decree from the relevant court authority in Taiwan. After review of the Form I-600 petition and completion of the necessary investigation, NBC will make a preliminary determination on whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. If the determination is favorable, NBC will issue a preliminary determination of immigration eligibility to the U.S. prospective adoptive parent(s) in the form of a USCIS PAIR letter. If an unfavorable determination is made, NBC may issue a request for additional evidence or denial letter to the U.S. prospective adoptive parent(s).
Under the PAIR process, prospective adoptive parents should submit a completed Form I-600 together with all available documentation listed in the Form I-600 Instructions, minus an adoption decree or grant of legal custody to the USCIS National Benefits Center through the Dallas Lockbox. This would include the Taiwan Household Registry of both the child and the birth parents and the contract between the birth parents and the Taiwan adoption service provider in cases of relinquishment, showing the placement of the child for adoption. For the address, see the “Where to File” section of the Form I-600 Instructions. All documents originally produced in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation. In addition, the following PAIR-specific documentation must be submitted when the child’s country of origin is Taiwan:
- Evidence of availability for intercountry adoption generated by island-wide database
- Signed adoption agreement between birth parents and prospective adoptive parents, where applicable, for use in Taiwan District Family courts
- Power of attorney appointing the Taiwan ASP to represent the prospective adoptive parents
In addition to the documentation required in the Form I-600 instructions pertaining to evidence that the child is an orphan as defined in section 101(b)(1)(F) and 8 CFR 204.3(b), there may be Taiwan specific documentation that can help establish the child’s orphan status. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to:
- Child’s original household registration
- Birth parent-ASP contract showing relinquishment of child
- Court order terminating parental rights and placing child into the care of an ASP
- Documentation establishing an abandoned child and placing the child with an ASP
- ASP report on the history of the child
Please note that additional documents may be requested.
USCIS will forward its preliminary determination, together with the prospective adoptive parent’s file, to AIT. USCIS will also forward the original preliminary determination letter to the prospective adoptive parents for their records. AIT will then issue a letter to the prospective adoptive parents to be included in the court filing indicating that the preliminary determination regarding the child’s likely immigration eligibility has been completed and will attach a copy of the original USCIS letter.
Upon issuance of the PAIR letter, USCIS NBC will forward the petition to AIT for final adjudication following the completion of the Taiwan court process.
- Adopt or Gain Legal Custody of Child in Taiwan
The process for finalizing the adoption in Taiwan generally includes the following:
- Role of Adoption Authority: The central authority for licensing adoption agencies and orphanages is the Child Welfare Bureau. It also oversees legal and legislative developments as they pertain to the welfare of children.
- Role of the Court: All applications for adoption are first submitted to the Taiwan District Court.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: Most adoptions are processed through local orphanages or adoption agencies identified by U.S. or other foreign-based adoption agencies. Unlicensed adoption agencies or orphanages in Taiwan cannot take legal custody of a child for the purpose of intercountry adoption. We strongly encourage the use of only licensed adoption service providers in Taiwan.
- Adoption Application: An application for adoption is first submitted to the Taiwan District Court. As of April 1, 2013, this application must include a letter from AIT indicating that the preliminary determination regarding the child’s likely immigration eligibility has been completed together with a copy of the original USCIS letter. After one to two months, the prospective adoptive parent(s) or a designated representative will receive a notice to appear. During this waiting period, a Taiwan social worker from the local Bureau of Social Affairs appointed by the Family Court will review the foreign (U.S.) home study. After the hearing, the court will rule on the adoption (usually within two months) and publish a final ruling three weeks later.
- Time Frame: The average time to complete an intercountry adoption in Taiwan ranges from one to two years from initial contact with the adoption agency in the United States until the immigrant visa is issued. This time includes approximately 4-6 weeks for the PAIR processing by USCIS following the match and approximately five to six months for the adoption petition to be finalized by the Taiwan District Family Court.
- Adoption Fees: The following fees apply to adoptions in Taiwan:
- Court processing fee – 1,000 NT or about U.S. $30
- Taiwan passport application fee (regular fee) – 1600 NT or U.S. $55. The application process can be expedited by paying fees up to 900 NT or U.S. $30.
- Taiwan Household Registry (HHR) application fee – U.S. $ 0.30 per copy
(All Taiwan residents are part of an efficient household registry system that tracks events such as births, deaths, marriage, and divorce)
- Translation fees – Variable
- Taiwan notary fees – U.S. $25 per document
- Documents Required: After a child has been identified, and the PAIR process has been completed with USCIS, the prospective adoptive parents must submit the following documents to the Taiwan authorities to process the local adoption:
- Power of attorney, in English and Chinese, appointing the Taiwan orphanage or social worker to represent the prospective adoptive parents;
- U.S. home study and Chinese translation;
- Copy of U.S. state law pertaining to international adoption with Chinese translation certified by TECRO.
- Evidence of prospective adoptive parents' right to adopt in the United States (included in U.S.-certified home study report);
- I-797 approval notice (indicating Form I-600A approval) from USCIS;
- Copy of U.S. prospective adoptive parents' home state adoption laws and Chinese translation;
- Signed adoption agreement notarized by the TECRO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) having jurisdiction over the place of the parent(s)' residence (in English and Chinese); and
- AIT’s notice of USCIS’ Pre-Adoption Immigration Eligibility Review, with USCIS’ original PAIR letter indicating preliminary determination regarding the child’s likely immigration eligibility has been completed
- Other documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.) may be requested by the orphanage, agency, or Taiwan authorities.
- *Chinese translations prepared in the United States must be certified by the TECRO office for that district and English versions must be notarized by a U.S. notary public.
Please note: All documents originally produced in a foreign language must be accompanied by certified English translation. Documents issued in the United States that would eventually be submitted to Taiwan courts, must be translated into Mandarin, must be certified by the TECRO office for that district, and English versions must be notarized by a U.S. notary public.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
- Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
- Receive final approval of your Form I-600
Under the PAIR program, your Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Adopted Child is not adjudicated until after your adoption is complete. You will need to submit the final adoption decree issued by the Taiwan District Family Court, as well as the child’s identity and travel documents, to the AIT in order to complete the processing of the I-600 and receive a final determination on the immigration eligibility of your child. AIT will approve Form I-600s that are clearly approvable.
You will need to apply for several documents before you submit your decree:
If you have finalized the adoption in Taiwan, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Taiwan birth certificates, once issued, cannot be modified or amended. PAPs can apply for a birth certificate from the hospital of birth and/or from the local Household Registration office where the child was registered at the time of birth. For further information, see the Department of Household Registration, Ministry of Interior website.
If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Taiwan.
For information on how to apply for a new passport in Taiwan, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. The fee is 1600 NT or U.S. $55, and the turn-around time is approximately four days. Expedited processing requires an additional fee of up to 900 NT or U.S. $30.
- Obtain a Visa and Bring Your Child Home
U.S. Immigrant Visa
If your Form I-600 is approved, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the AIT. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the AIT must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
You may submit your immigrant visa application and medical report when you submit the final, certified adoption decree, birth certificate, and Taiwan passport for final adjudication of your Form I-600. You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the adoption page of the AIT website. AIT will contact you, and your ASP or designated representative, once the Form I-600 is approved, to schedule the immigrant visa interview.
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.
- Traveling Abroad
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 Taiwan
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 Taiwan, see the Department of State’s Country 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 Taiwan, 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).
- After Adoption
Taiwan requires five years of post-placement reports. In the first year, post placement reports are required at three, six, and twelve months. After that, one report per year is required. (This means seven reports over a five-year period.) The reports, which include photos of the child, must be completed by a licensed social worker or agency through home visits.
We strongly urge you to comply with the wishes of Taiwan and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your U.S. adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Taiwan’s history of positive experiences with American parents.
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 services.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- North American Council on Adoptable Children
- Adoption Services Support Groups for Adopting Persons
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
- Contact Information
The American Institute in Taiwan
Immigrant Visa Unit, 2nd Floor
American Institute in Taiwan
Number 7, Lane 134
Xin Yi Rd, Section 3
Taipei 106, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 02-2162-2005
Fax: (886) 02-2162-2253
Taiwan’s Adoption Authority
Child Welfare Bureau (Er Tong Ju), Ministry of Interior
7F, No. 503 Li-Ming Road, Section 2
Nantun, Taichung 408, R.O.C.
Tel: (886-4) 2250-2850
Fax: (886-4) 2250-2903/2899
Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representation Office (TECRO) in the United States
4201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
Tel: (202) 895-1800
*Taiwan also has offices (consulates) in: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)