Adoption from China

US EmbassyThe adoption wait times for China is very long. You may want to consider this when thinking of adopting from China. Below you will find the basics that the Chinese government requires. Note however that Taiwan has a different system to China which much shorter wait times. The current wait times for China is now at 9 years. Yes that is correct, the wait times for adoption from China is now at 9 years. Special needs children do take fewer years and you will have to speak to your agent about this.

Adoption from China

Firstly you will need to be approved by the USCIS in the United States for the adoption. This would be the first step and you can find the process here and also if you are eligible for adoption as an American citizen here. Once you have been approved at home only then can you take the next steps to adoption. Compared to other countries the Chinese conditions are far more strict and encompassing. The basics for these requirements have been added below.


  • Only married couples and single women can adopt from China; (additional requirements for single women may be added)
  • Adoptive couples must have been married for at least two years;
  • Adoptive couples must have been married for at least five years if either party has been married previously (no more than two previous marriages).
  • Couples whose marriage does not meet the above time requirements may ask CCCWA to include the period of their de facto relationship (prior to the marriage);
  • Any same-sex relationship are ineligible for adoption from China;
  • China will allow women in a de facto relationship to adopt as a single applicant.


  • Any applicants must be over 30 years old to adopt from China;.
  • Applicants can adopt when they are 50 years or older but the age difference must not be more than 50 years;
  • A single women adopting from China must be no more than 45 years older than the child;
  • Single women are also eligible to adopt non-special needs children from China;
  • Note that the age is worked from the time of adoption application in China by the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).


  • At least one of the applicants must be an American citizen;
  • The applicants who have two parents of Chinese origin up to second generation will have their application processed faster;


  • The applicant need to be physically as well as mentally healthy which includes a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 40.
  • Applicants for adoption must not have any of the following illnesses or conditions:
    • Any intellectual disability;
    • HIV positive or infectious disease that is actively contagious cannot adopt from China;
    • Those with mental disorder, such as mania, anxiety, phobia, depression or obsession;
    • Those with binocular blindness, binocular low vision or monocular blindness with no ocular prosthesis.
    • Those with binaural hearing loss or language function loss;
    • Those applicants with non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limbs, paralysis or deformation.
    • Those with severe facial deformation.
    • Those with diseases that require long-term treatment such as malignant tumours, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis;
    • Those people who have had a vital organ transplant within the last 10 years.


  • The applicants must have at least finished senior high school, or achieved vocational skills training of the same level.


  • Jehovah’s Witness applicants or applicants from other religions that do not allow blood transfusions are ineligible.

Number of children in family

  • The youngest child in the home must be 3 years old before a family may apply to adopt.
  • Single females may still adopt, but may have only two children living at home, not including the adopted child.
  • Married couples may have up to five children, under the age of 18, in the home, not including the adopted child.
  • Families must wait one full year after an adoption is complete before applying to adopt another child.
  • Only one child may be adopted at a time (unless its a sibling).


  • The applicant (at least one party in applicant couples) should have a stable occupation and income.
  • Family income must be at least US$10,000 for each family member (including the prospective adoptive child).
  • Family net assets value should be at least US$80,000.
  • For single applicants, when calculating average per-capita annual income, the actual post-adoption number of family members should be increased by one, and the family net assets value should be at least US$100,000.
  • When calculating the family annual income, relief fund, pension, disability benefits, foster care subsidy, etc. should not be included.
  • For applicants whose per capita annual income and/or net assets do not meet the requirements but are above the local average living standards, the limitation can be relaxed accordingly if they can provide valid certification.

Criminal record

  • A criminal record check must be provided.
  • Applicants should have no record of criminal penalties.
  • Applicants must not have a history of domestic violence, sexual abuse, abandonment or abuse of children (even if not arrested or convicted).
  • Applicants must not have a history of alcohol abuse in the past 10 years, or taking narcotics.
  • CCCWA will consider on a case-by-case basis applicants who have had no more than:
    • 3 criminal records with minor violations and no severe outcomes, and the time for correction has reached 10 years; or
    • 5 records of traffic law violation with no severe outcomes.

Further Information

As you will note that the Chinese government has made the laws for adoption very strict. If you have more than 5 traffic violations that will prohibit you from adopting a child. You will also not that religions that do not allow for blood transfusions are also excluded. The family unit additions are new under the current system and you might want to check with them before you start the adoption process in China as to what new rules may have been added after this post date.

The application fee from CCCWA is US$1100 per application as of January 2015. If you are adopting your step-child then it is US$800 per application. This fee must be added to your application form to show that it has been paid normally by wire transfer. The overall cost for the adoption in China is about US$6,500, including an orphanage donation fee of RMB 35,000. This does not include travel and accommodation costs or immigration fees which will also become due.

Both parents need to go to China to complete the adoption and you can expect to stay at least two weeks (10 working days) to complete the process. You will then need to apply for an IH-4 visa at the US Embassy in Beijing for this visa. Note that much like other countries the CCCWA requires six post-placement reports following the adoption as well.

See also the eligibility to adopt as well as who can adopt as well as adoption from Colombia and adoption from Bulgaria.



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About Andre Hector

I develop websites and content for websites related to embassies from around the world. See more pages and content about US embassies from around the world. From Canada to Nepal all US embassies have been listed here. See the other websites listed on the sidebar for Thai, Canadian and British embassies.

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