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What is a de facto adoption?

De facto means that the child is in the custody of, and is being brought up, maintained and educated by any person or a married couple for a period of not less than two (2) years.

Can a child without birth certificate be adopted?

One of the the main requirements for an adoption application is the birth certificate. If the child was born in this country but is without a birth certificate, then the application for the late registration of birth must be made first.

What is the age limit of the child for a de facto adoption?

The child to be adopted must be under the age of 18.

What is the age requirement of the adoptive parents for the registration of a de facto application?

The age requirement for an adoptive parent is 25 and above and the age difference between the adoptive parent and adopted child is 18 years. For either of the adoptive parent with blood ties to the child’s biological parents, the age requirement for the adoptive parent is 21.

Where can the adoption application be made?

The adoption application can be made at the counter of any NRD office located near the adoptive parents’ place of residence.

Should the child be present during the adoption proceeding?
 Kanak-kanak WAJIB hadir bersama-sama  ibu bapa angkat untuk proses pengangkatan.
Should the natural parents be present during the adoption proceedings?

The natural parents need not be present if the statutory letter of consent has been submitted.

How do the adoptive parents prove that they have been taking care of the child for two (2) years as required by the act?

The proof is the letter of consent provided by the natural parents which is the statutory declaration made by the natural parents during the handover of the child to the adoptive parents. The 2-year period starts from the date of handover and not the date the statutory declaration was made.

Can an informal agreement between the natural parents and the adoptive parents be made?

No. A statutory declaration between the two parties is required by law.

Can a relative of a child apply to adopt the child?

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

Can a single mother apply for adoption?

There are no restrictions under Act 253 regarding this matter.

Can a single father apply for adoption?

Although Act 253 does not restrict any individual from doing so, the application to adopt by a single father is, however, NOT ENCOURAGED if the child is female. In such cases, reference will be made to the Registrar-General of Births and Deaths and the Department of Social Welfare.

Can a Muslim child be adopted by non-Muslim parents?

Although Act 253 makes no reference to this, the Adoption Act 1952 stipulates that a Muslim child cannot be adopted by non-Muslim adoptive parents.

Can a non-Muslim child be adopted by Muslim adoptive parents?

A non-Muslim child can be adopted by Muslim adoptive parents.

Can a Muslim apply for adoption through a court order (Act 257)?

Adoption by means of a court order (Act 257) is applicable only for non-Muslim applicants. However, adoption through the Registration of Adoptions Act (Act 253) is open to all eligible persons.

When will the adoption application be referred to the Department of Social Welfare?

An application for adoption will be referred to the Department of Social Welfare only if there is no consent from the natural parents/mother/father for the adoption of the child. However, there is no restriction on the Registrar refering the case to the Department of Social Welfare if required.

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

Yes, provided that the child has completed the normal period of residence as required under the act and has a valid travel document before being eligible for the adoption application.

Can a married couple who live outside the country apply for adoption of a local child?

Under Act 253, both the adoptive parents and the child must have lived in this country continuously for 2 years before an application for adoption can be made.

Can a birth certificate instead of a certificate of adoption be issued to a child who has been adopted?

Adoptions under Act 253 will be issued only with a certificate of adoption and not a birth certificate.

Can the certificate of adoption be used for official purposes?

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

What is the charge for an adoption application?

A registration fee of RM30.00 will be charged on approval of the application.

Can a child who has been adopted be returned to the natural parents or given to another couple?

The return and re-adoption of a de facto adopted child are not allowed, although adoption may be cancelled with a court order under Section 13 (2) of Act 253.

Can a child who has been adopted under the Registration of Adoptions Act (Act 253), i.e. by de facto adoption, be re-adopted under the Adoption Act (Act 257), i.e. through a court order?

Yes. However, a child who has been adopted through a court order SHALL NOT be re-adopted through the de facto adoption process.

Is it mandatory to register an adoption?

Adopting a child without registration is not in violation of any law of the country but registration provides protection for both the child and the adoptive parents as they will be legally recognised under the law.

Further inquiries

For any other queries, please submit them via e-Enquiry (NRD SISPAA) at



Please call:

Customer Service Officer
Phone : 03-80008000
Faxs : 03-88808288
Email (@jpn.gov.my) : pro


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