Malaysia and the Hague Convention

Panorma of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia 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).

The Adoption Act of 1952 governs adoptions of non-Muslim children. The Registration of Adoption Act of 1952 governs adoptions of Muslim children. Therefore, different procedures apply to adoptions of non-Muslim and Muslim children. For example, prospective adoptive parents file their adoption applications with different Malaysian entities, depending on whether the adoption is of a Muslim or non-Muslim child. Only Muslim prospective adoptive parents may adopt Muslim children'.

Adoptions of children who are not related to the prospective adoptive parents are not common in Malaysia. Far more common are informal fostering arrangements of children within extended family groups. (Note: Participation in such informal fostering arrangements may not by itself be sufficient to qualify a child to immigrate to the United States.) Prospective adoptive parents must be “ordinarily resident” in Malaysia, i.e. working and living in Malaysia, as defined by the Social Welfare Department, at the time of the adoption application. In addition, Malaysian law may require prospective adoptive parents to remain in Malaysia for up to two years to complete a fostering period prior to finalizing the adoption. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to review our FAQ Information “Adoption of Children from Countries in which Islamic Shari’a Law is Observed.”


To bring an adopted child to the United States from Malaysia, 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.

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