Adopting a child from the Philippines

Who can adopt?

Who can adopt? Who can’t adopt?
Married couples Same sex couples
Single people De facto couples
Health requirements
Strict age requirements
Religious requirements

Please note: the Philippines program is currently on hold.

In 2018, the Philippines Government advised that they won’t be accepting adoption applications from Australia. This also includes for the adoption of a relative or known child.

We are discussing options with the Philippines Government to resolve the program hold.

Until further notice, the information below is for reference only.

Children you can adopt from the Philippines

Philippines has 2 programs:

  • general
  • special home finding list

The general program includes children aged 2 and older.

The special home finding list includes:

  • children aged 6 and above
  • sibling groups of 3 or more
  • multiple and/or complex medical needs
  • global development delays or seizure disorders
  • intellectual disability, complex social backgrounds, including exposure to physical and sexual abuse

Specific eligibility criteria to adopt from the Philippines

If you’re interested in adopting a child from the Philippines, you need to meet the eligibility criteria of your state or territory central authority. You will also need to meet the following Filipino criteria:


  • you must have been married for at least 3 years
  • if you’ve only been married for 12 months but were previously living in a de facto relationship for several years you can still apply
  • if you have been divorced twice or more you can’t apply
  • if you’re single you can apply to adopt an older child aged 9 to 15
  • you can’t apply if you’re a same sex or de facto couple


  • you must be aged over 27 years
  • you need to be at least 16 years older than your child
  • the maximum age gap between you and your child is 45 years


  • you should be in good physical and mental health
  • you can’t apply if you have any of the following:
    • current or previous cancers
    • type 1 or type 2 diabetes
    • obesity (BMI needs to be below 35)
    • major organ transplant (kidney, liver, heart, lung etc.)
    • pacemaker/stroke/myocardial infarction
    • multiple sclerosis and other degenerative muscular disorders
    • hepatitis C
    • autoimmune disorders
    • risk factors that can impact your ability to care for a child (for example: blindness, deafness, wheelchair bound)
    • psychiatric disorders
    • mood/major depressive disorders
    • anxiety disorders
    • substance abuse disorders
    • sexual disorders
  • if you have a health condition and want to adopt a special needs child, it will be assessed on a case-by-case basis
  • you also need to undergo 2 psychological tests:
    • the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF)
    • the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (MCM III)
    • if you’ve already adopted a child from the Philippines you don’t need to undertake the above tests again, but you will need to provide a psychological report from a psychologist


  • you must have finished year 10 and have a certificate to prove this


  • you need to show your Christian beliefs and values through regular church attendance and participation in your church community
  • you can’t apply if you practice a religion that doesn’t allow blood transfusions, unless you sign a statement giving consent to blood transfusions for your child

Number of children in your family

  • priority is given to childless couples
  • if you have a larger than average family (3 or more children) you will not be a priority
  • if you already have children aged over 10 they will need to consent to the adoption
  • if you have already adopted a child you need to wait 2 years before another placement can be made


  • you should have a combined income of US$40,000 or more

Criminal record

  • you need to supply your criminal record check
  • if you have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude you can’t apply

Character reference

  • you need to provide 3 character references:
    1. 1. from a church minister or priest who has known you and your partner for at least 5 years. The reference needs to include:
      • your religious beliefs
      • how you practice your faith and how often you attend church
      • your relationship with the church community
      • your intention to foster your child’s spirituality
    2. 2. from both you and your partner’s employers, who need to have known you for at least 5 years
    3. 3. from a community member who has known you and your partner for at least 5 years

Waiting times

The Philippines allocates each state and territory central authority a yearly quota for new applications. The waiting time is between 3 and 4 years from when your application is approved. But you should be prepared for a longer wait.

Cost of adopting a child from the Philippines

The estimated fee is US$3,500.

Other fees

On top of state and territory central authority fees, there are other expenses, such as:

  • translation fees
  • travel and accommodation costs
  • incidentals

Travel to the Philippines

You will need to travel once to meet your child. If you have children, they are encouraged to travel with you.

You should plan to stay about 2 weeks in the Philippines to ensure that the adoption and immigration processes are finalised.

After the adoption

Your child will need to travel to Australia on an Adoption Visa (subclass 102) and complete a 6 month trial placement period.

Your state or territory central authority will need to complete 3 post-placement reports for the Philippines as follows:

  • every 2 months during the trial placement period

These reports are important to ensure your child is settling in to your family and their new social environment.

You may also need to complete post-placement reports for your state or territory central authority.

Immigration and citizenship for your child

Once you have finalised the adoption in an Australian court your child will automatically receive Australian citizenship.

Hague Convention information

The Philippines will attempt to place a child within a family in the Philippines before deciding if a child can be placed for intercountry adoption.

The central authority in the Philippines is the National Authority for Child Care.

More information