Malaysia Child Adoption Process

FAQ / Purpose

Can the surname of a child be changed through adoption process?

Yes. You can engage a lawyer to apply through the court for the change of surname during adoption process.

Can the Certificate of adoption be used for official purposes?

Yes. The certificate of adoption has the same validity as the birth certificate and can be used for the purpose of school registration, passport application and other official transactions.

Why should we apply for adoption?
  1. A valid registration/application provides protection for both the child and the adoptive parents to be legally recognized under the law as follows.
  2. Adoptive parents can legally deal with school registration, passport application, and other official transactions for the adoptive children.
  3. The natural parents of the adopted child will be prohibited to take the child back after the adoption has been granted.
  4. Adoptive parents can inherit the property of the adopted children if the adopted children predecease the adoptive parents.
  5. Adoptive parents can apply to change the surname of adoptive children.



What is adoptions?

Adoption is the permanent legal transfer of all parental rights from one person or couple to another person or couple. Adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as biological parents.

How do I make an application for adoption?

There are two ways to make an application for adoption:-

    1. Registration with the National Registration Department (NRD) under Registration of Adoption Act 1952 (applicable for Muslims & Non-Muslims)
    2. Application through the Court process under the Adoption Act 1952 (only applicable for Non-Muslims)

You can appoint a lawyer to apply for adoption for both method (a) and (b) as above.


What is the age requirement of the adoptive parents for the adoption application?

The minimum age requirement for an adoptive parent is 25 and above. The age different between the adoptive parent and adoptive child must be at least 18 years.
For cases where one of the adoptive parent are relatives to the child’s biological parents, the minimum age requirement shall be 21.

What are the requirements for adoption application?

The main requirement under the Registration of Adoption Act is that the adoptive parents (for application via the National Registration Department), will need to take care of the child for at least 2 years before they may apply to register the adoption of the child at NRD.
Whereas, the 2 years requirement is not applicable for application through a court process under the Adoption Act 1952, the adoptive parents have a duty to obtain a statutory declaration from the child’s natural parents consenting to the adoption, After 3 months of caring for the adoptive child, the adoptive parent(s) can petition the Session Court by engaging a lawyer for the adoption order. The original birth certificate of the child must be produced. The court would also consider the written reports from the Social Welfare Department and the child’s adoptive parents.

I am a single mother. Can I apply to adopt a child?

Yes. There is no restriction under the law regarding to this matter.

I am a single father. Can I apply to adopt a child?

The law does not prohibit a single father from making an application. However, in the event the adoptive child is a female, reference will be made to the Registrar General of Births and Deaths and the Department of Social Welfare.

Can a child who was born overseas be adopted by married couples in Malaysia?

Yes, provided that the child has fulfilled the normal period of residence as required under the Registration of Adoption Act and has a valid travel document before making the adoption application.

Can the relative of a child adopt the child?

Yes. The condition is that one of the spouses must have attained the age of 25 and that he/she is a brother or sister, uncle or aunt whether by consanguinity or affinity to that child.

Can a married couple residing out of Malaysia adopt a child living in Malaysia?

Yes. Under the Registration of Adoption Act, both the adoptive parents and the child must have lived in Malaysia continuously for 2 years before an application for adoption can be made.

Further Inquiries?
You may contact our panel lawyers/ the author of this article.