Hong Kong

Hong Kong operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.

Hague Convention information

The Convention requires Hong Kong to attempt to place a child with a family in Hong Kong before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.

The central authority in Hong Kong is the Social Welfare Department.

Australia works with two agencies in Hong Kong. These are the International Social Services Hong Kong (ISSHK) and Po Leung Kuk (PLK). The eligibility criteria, waiting times and adoption fees vary between agencies.

Waiting times: International Social Service Hong Kong (ISSHK)

It is difficult to calculate waiting times as applicants are not allocated children in the order in which they submit their applications, but based on their suitability to parent a particular child. Some families whose files are currently with the ISSHK have been waiting for over three years.

Waiting times will be considerably longer for children without special needs, children under the age of two years and female children. Waiting times are also considerably longer for single applicants.

The waiting time from acceptance of the placement proposal to travel is approximately six months.

Waiting times: Po Leung Kuk (PLK)

Similar to ISSHK, Po Leung Kuk (PLK) maintains a pool of applicants for matching when applicable, and these are not necessarily matched in the order in which applications are submitted. Waiting times may be less for those families seeking to adopt a child with special needs.

The waiting time from acceptance of the placement proposal to travel is approximately nine to 12 months.

Who can adopt via ISSHK?

To adopt from Hong Kong you must first be found eligible to adopt according to your state or territory’s eligibility requirements for intercountry adoption. In addition to these Australian requirements, ISSHK has the following requirements (some may be waived for those seeking to adopt children with special needs):

Marriage

  • Married applicants are preferred. Married applicants must be married for at least three years.
  • Single applicants are still eligible, but will wait longer for an allocation.
  • Single applicants must have excellent health, support networks and child-caring ability.
  • Applicants who have had two (or more) divorces before the current marriage are not usually considered.
  • Where the applicants are in a second marriage, applicants must be married for at least five years.
  • Applicants in a same-sex relationship are ineligible.

Age

  • Applicants must be aged 25 to 45 years for a child aged younger than two years.
  • The minimum age gap between applicants and the child to be adopted is 25 years.
  • Applicants aged between 45 and 50 years, with child care experience, may be considered if they are willing to adopt a child aged above five years with special needs or a complex social background.
  • Applicants without children must be aged younger than 45 years.

Citizenship

  • At least one applicant must be an Australian citizen.
  • Priority is given to applicants of Chinese ethnicity (although non-Chinese applicants are not excluded).

Health

  • Applicants need to be in good physical and mental health.

Education

  • Applicants should have completed 11 years of formal education.

Religion

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses will not be accepted unless prepared to sign a statement that they would consent to the child receiving a blood transfusion in a medical emergency.

Number of children in family

  • Applicants with no more than three young children are preferred.
  • Priority is given to childless couples, followed by couples with one child.
  • For children with special needs, families with up to five children can be considered.

Finances

  • Applicants must have adequate ability and resources to parent an adoptive child and provide the child with a stable home.

Criminal record

  • A criminal record check must be provided.

Who can adopt via PLK?

To adopt from Hong Kong you must first be found eligible to adopt according to your state or territory’s eligibility requirements for intercountry adoption. In addition to these Australian requirements, PLK has the following requirements:

Marriage

  • Married applicants are preferred. Married applicants must be married for at least three years.
  • Single applicants are still eligible, but will wait longer for an allocation.
  • Single applicants must have excellent health, support networks and child caring ability.
  • Applicants who have had two (or more) divorces before the current marriage are not usually considered.
  • Where the applicants are in a second marriage, applicants must be married for at least five years.
  • Applicants in a same-sex relationship are ineligible.

Age

  • Applicants must be at least 25 years old and mature enough to assume parental responsibility.
  • The age gap between applicants and the child to be adopted is taken into account.

Citizenship

  • At least one applicant must be an Australian citizen.
  • Priority is given to applicants of Chinese ethnicity (although non-Chinese applicants are not excluded).

Health

  • Applicants need to be in good physical and mental health.

Education

  • Applicants should be reasonably educated, preferably with at least nine years of formal education.

Religion

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses will not be accepted unless prepared to sign a statement that they would consent to the child receiving a blood transfusion in a medical emergency.

Number of children in family

  • Applicants with no more than three young children are preferred.
  • Priority is given to childless couples, followed by couples with one child.
  • For children with special needs, families with up to five children can be considered.

Finances

  • Applicants must have stable employment, accommodation and financial sufficiency.

Criminal record

  • A criminal record check must be provided.

Characteristics of children in need of adoption

For both the ISSHK and PLK agencies, the majority of children in need of adoption are aged three years or over and have generally faced significant challenges in their early childhood.

Children are wards of the Social Welfare Department and are in foster or residential care. The majority of children in need of adoption via both ISSHK and PLK have special needs and/or are older children. They may present with one or more of the following needs:

  • minor or correctable health problems
  • emotional and behavioural concerns
  • record of developmental delay
  • complicated family backgrounds (including a parent with drug dependence, mental hardship or mental illness).

Comprehensive medical and child study reports are provided to the people considering adoption.

Costs

The estimated ISSHK adoption fees and costs are US$600. This does not include travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals.

The estimated PLK adoption fees and costs total US$600, comprising a non-refundable registration fee of US$100 and a processing fee of US$500. This does not include travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals. If applicants require an escorting worker, additional costs for the escorting worker’s round trip airfare, hotel accommodation, visa application fee, airport transfer and daily expenses will also apply.

Travel

Both members of the couple are required to travel to Hong Kong to accept placement of their child. Children from the family are welcome and encouraged to accompany their parents.

A minimum of five working days is needed to complete the Chinese adoption and immigration formalities, although two weeks is preferable.

Finalisation and post-adoption

Adoptions from Hong Kong must be finalised through an Australian state or territory court.

ISSHK requires quarterly post-placement reports and a court report for a period of 12 months following the adoption.

PLK requires arrival and quarterly post-placement reports for 12 months, including photos.

Applicants must also fulfil any post-placement reporting requirements in their home state or territory.

The Australian Governments is working to improve post-adoption support for newly formed families. For more information, visit Post adoption and support.

Immigration and citizenship

Children must travel to Australia on an Adoption Visa (subclass 102). Following the finalisation of the adoption in an Australian state or territory court, the child will automatically acquire Australian citizenship. An application for Australian citizenship is not required, but parents may apply for evidence of Australian citizenship.

More information on citizenship requirements can be found by visiting Immigration, citizenship and passports or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

More information

For more information about Hong Kong, including the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs ‘Hong Kong’ page.