How to Adopt from Taiwan
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
1. 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.
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 Dongshan Township Yilan County 269, Taiwan
Christian Salvation Services 7F, No. 420, Section1, Keelung Road Xinyi District, Taipei City 110, Taiwan
Cathwel Service No. 155, Section 2, Beishen Road Shenkeng Township Taipei County 222, Taiwan
2. 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.
3. 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.
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.
- 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 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.
- 1. Court processing fee – 1,000 NT or about U.S. $30;
- 2. 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;
- 4. Translation fees – Variable;
- 5. 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:
- 2. U.S. home study and Chinese translation;
- 3. Copy of U.S. state law pertaining to international adoption with Chinese translation certified by TECRO.
- 5. I-797 approval notice (indicating Form I-600A approval) from USCIS;
- 8. 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.
- 9. Other documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.) may be requested by the orphanage, agency, or Taiwan authorities.
- 10. 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.
6. 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:
- 1. Birth Certificate
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.
- 2. Taiwan Passport
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.
7. 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.
To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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