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Adopting a Child from Abroad

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 27 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Adopting A Child From Abroad

The UK authorities allow citizens and residents to adopt children from abroad and bring them to live in the UK. However, there are restrictions on adopting abroad to prevent abuse of the system. Adoption abroad is permitted by the UK Government in cases where the adoption is in the child’s best interests and the adoptive parent or parents have been assessed as suitable by an adoption agency.

The Adoption Procedure

Anyone thinking of adopting a child from abroad should start by contacting their local authority adoption agency or one which is registered with the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills for overseas adoption. Adopting a child from abroad is often referred to in official literature as intercountry adoption.

The UK-based agency will assess the prospective adoptive parents for their suitability. This is an intensive process involving police and medical checks as well as lengthy interviews. If the application to adopt is approved by the adoption agency it will be passed to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The Department will check that the application complies with UK law. If satisfied that it does, it will issue a certificate of eligibility to the relevant agency in the country where the adoption is to take place. Once a suitable child has been found the overseas adoption agency will send information about the child back to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Depending on the country where the adoption took place the new parents will either obtain an adoption order in that country or will have to apply for one once the child is in the UK.

Immigration Rules for Bringing Adopted Children to the UK

The child will need a visa or entry clearance before being allowed to enter the UK. If the adoption is from a Hague Convention or designated country (see below) the child will generally be given permission to stay in the UK permanently. Otherwise the child will usually be allowed to stay for 12 months so that formal UK adoption procedures can be completed. Visa applications for adoptive children should be made in their original country of residence.

In order to be able to bring a child adopted abroad to live permanently in the UK the adoptive parents must be able to show that:

  • They live in the UK and that there is no legal restriction on their stay;
  • They can support the child financially;
  • When the child was adopted both adoptive parents lived together abroad or that at least one of them lived permanently in the UK;
  • The child was adopted because his birth parents could not look after him and the adoption represents a genuine assumption of parental responsibility for the child;
  • The child has no ongoing connection with his original family.
  • The purpose of the rules is to prevent people with permission to be in the UK pretending to adopt children who are foreign citizens purely so that the child and / or members of the child’s actual family can more easily enter the UK.

The Three Types of Overseas Adoptions

  • Hague Convention Adoptions – adoption from a country which has implemented the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of intercountry Adoption. The adoption will automatically be recognised by the UK authorities and the child will have an immediate right to British citizenship.
  • Designated list adoptions – where adoption is from a country which is listed as a designated country in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973, the adoption will be recognised but an application will have to be made for the child to obtain citizenship and this will not be granted automatically.
  • Other adoptions – if the adoption is from any other country the new parents will have to apply in the UK for an adoption order. If a UK court grants such an order the child will acquire citizenship as a result.
The government may place a temporary restriction on adoptions from a particular country if it considers appropriate to do so – for example to prevent child trafficking.

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[Add a Comment]
Bibi - Your Question:
I want to adopt my niece from Pakistan, who is 13 years old can l adopt him

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will tell you more.
AboutImmigration - 28-Sep-17 @ 11:56 AM
I want to adopt my niece from Pakistan, who is 13 years old can l adopt him
Bibi - 27-Sep-17 @ 5:18 PM
Hi.My husband&I are trying to adopt our niece who is just 1 year old.The adoptionprocess is going on in the country where we originally from Fiji. And court hearing for the Adoption is in process too. JUST a question that we need to ask,do we have to apply for the intercountry adoption again??Or if theAdoption has gone through are we able to bring our niece here to UK without any restrictions.?or what elenoa need to be done.??Please do need some advice
Lisa - 29-Aug-17 @ 11:21 AM
MK - Your Question:
Hello,My wife & I are both naturalized British citizens. We have adopted our nephew from India. We have been assessed by the adoption agency, DfE UK & CARA India have approved our case and we also have obtained adoption order from the court.DfE have told us that our case would be processed as a non-Hague one and also they have advised us to apply for a family settlement visa. We would need some assistance in making the application. Basically we would like to know what evidence should be provided in order to prove that the original parents could not care for the child and there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility.Thanks.

Our Response:
You can get immigration advice if you need help with getting permission to stay in the UK. Immigration advisers can help you with most things to do with immigration, including helping you to fill in the right forms and representing you at a tribunal. Please see gov.uk link here . Please also be aware there is likely to be a charge.
AboutImmigration - 28-Jul-17 @ 3:03 PM
Hello, My wife & I are both naturalized British citizens. We have adopted our nephew from India. We have been assessed by the adoption agency, DfE UK & CARA India have approved our case and we also have obtained adoption order from the court. DfE have told us that our case would be processed as a non-Hague one and also they have advised us to apply for a family settlement visa. We would need some assistance in making the application. Basically we would like to know what evidence should be provided in order to prove that the original parents could not care for the child and there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility. Thanks.
MK - 27-Jul-17 @ 7:40 PM
DADA - Your Question:
I have finalised the adoption process of my 17 years old nephew in Zambia. What else will I need to bring him to the UK? Do I still need to process for adoption in the UK too?

Our Response:
You can adopt a child from overseas the child can’t be cared for in a safe environment in their own country, and if the adoption would be deemed to be in the child's best interests. In addition, the adopter has to be assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 18-Jul-17 @ 10:31 AM
I have finalised the adoption process of my 17 years old nephew in Zambia. What else will I need to bring him to the UK? Do I still need to process for adoption in the UK too?
DADA - 17-Jul-17 @ 10:27 AM
@IAM - you would have to do this in your own country - but also make sure the adoption is recognised in the UK.
Karen - 14-Jul-17 @ 2:27 PM
Hello, my husband (a british citizen) and I (a malaysian citizen) both live in Singapore with my son. We were married outside of the UK and now he wants to legally adopt him. Do we come back and get married in the UK to start the process OR is it done in the country where my son is from?
IAM - 14-Jul-17 @ 4:39 AM
Hi I am single male wanted to know what are the restrictions on adopting a 6months old baby from cousin who lives in pakistan but the child is a British citizen due to their situation and safety of child I would like to adopt because child is British citizen and is over seas how does it differ if child wasn't British citizen. Kind regards Jay
Jj - 14-Jul-17 @ 4:39 AM
Samir- Your Question:
My friend's sister is UK citizen & she has adopted my friend's son. (India).Legal procedures have been completed.Let me know from which country adopted child can get passed

Our Response:
Your friends sister can only apply to bring a child to the UK if the adopter has been assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK. Please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 10-Jul-17 @ 3:34 PM
My friend's sister is UK citizen & she has adopted my friend's son. (India). Legal procedures have been completed. Let me know from which country adopted child can get passed
Samir - 7-Jul-17 @ 4:37 AM
Hi My nephew in india. And my older brother is past away and my sister low was live my nephew. My mom and dad look after him. They are also to old so I think about my nephew to adopt and wish to bring with in uk .me and my husband both us British citizen. I have 2 daughter.so can I have possible adopt my nephew?
Pari - 27-Jun-17 @ 2:24 PM
somi - Your Question:
Hi.my husband and I are UK citizen and are looking to adopt a child (less the a year old ) from Pakistan this year (2017), Can you guide us for the procedure like, time scale, costs, documentations if he needs passport etc. looking forward to hear from you. Many thanks

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link herewhich should tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 31-May-17 @ 10:46 AM
hi.....my husband and i are UK citizen and are looking to adopt a child (less the a year old ) from Pakistan this year (2017), Can you guide us for the procedure like, time scale, costs, documentations if he needs passportetc..... looking forward to hear from you.. Many thanks
somi - 30-May-17 @ 12:17 PM
I would like to adopt my nephew from Pakistan I am uk resident My hubbie has limited leave to remain
Rara - 6-May-17 @ 9:26 PM
We are close to an Afghan family of refugees living in Germany. They have had their asylum application turned down twice and face deportation back to Afghanistan where they face persecution or death. They have asked us to adopt the two children to basically save them. Is this possible and where do I start??
Lottie - 4-May-17 @ 7:02 PM
Hi I realise I would have to go through checks to see if I am a suitable adoptive parent first - that aside (considering I am suitable and tick all the boxes) I am wondering how it works with children who are currently still living with their birth parents? I am a mother myself, financially stable enough to take on her adoption... I have met a 15 year old girl from UAE through online support groups, she is currently being abused both verbally and sexually and because of her culture is terrified to talk to anybody to make it stop. Although living with her birth parents she's currently unsafe and it would be in her best interest to be removed from that situation.. if she was taken into care, would she be able to be adopted by someone overseas? Any feedback appreciated
Poppy - 1-Apr-17 @ 1:28 AM
Brem - Your Question:
I am a single and I want to adopt a child from Pakistan. I want to know what the process is and how long this will take me. Do I need to be in a relationship to adopt or can I be single.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 28-Mar-17 @ 12:53 PM
I am a single and I want to adopt a child from Pakistan.. I want to know what the process is and how long this will take me. Do I need to be in a relationship to adopt or can I be single.
Brem - 27-Mar-17 @ 6:59 PM
Jazz - Your Question:
Dear memers, The reason I brought it up here is because it is immigration related. As my sister is subject to border control. Please I need help on how to go about adopting my half sister from Africa. We share the same dad but different mums. Our Dad passed away 8 years ago. My step mum has since taken care of her. Although things have been really rough for them since dad died, my step mum is now no where to be found. My half sister is curently living with extended family who find her a burden. She is 15. 16 in July. I am currently a British citizen with 2 kids of my own. Am I able to adopt her and bring her here to live with us? If so what do I need to do, and how soon can she join us?It breaks my heart to know that she might not be wanted over there when I would love to look after her and make our dad smile from above.I look forward to your reply/ies. Kind regards Jazz

Our Response:
It is very important to understand that it is illegal to adopt a child from overseas and bring them back into the UK (even if it is a relative) without being assessed and approved as suitable adoptive parents - please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 20-Mar-17 @ 10:32 AM
Dear memers, The reason I brought it up here is because it is immigration related. As my sister is subject to border control. Please I need help on how to go about adopting my half sister from Africa. We share the same dad but different mums. Our Dad passed away 8 years ago. My step mum has since taken care of her. Although things have been really rough for them since dad died, my step mum is now no where to be found. My half sister is curently living with extended family who find her a burden. She is 15. 16 in July. I am currently a British citizen with 2 kids of my own. Am i able to adopt her and bring her here to live with us? If so what do I need to do, and how soon can she join us? It breaks my heart to know that she might not be wanted over there when I would love to look after her and make our dad smile from above. I look forward to your reply/ies. Kind regards Jazz
Jazz - 19-Mar-17 @ 12:24 AM
Hi I'm Spanish citizen and my wife is British citizen couple of years ago my cuzan got divorced and have 2 kids she couldn't afford so I send her money every month .i would like to adopt her kids .what is the process ?
Shani - 26-Feb-17 @ 5:29 AM
i got adopted in this country in 1995 what nationality am I if I hold a British adoption birth certificate please , I was born in malaysia
Sharan - 24-Jan-17 @ 1:15 AM
Hi, my sister passed away in Jamaica andshe a little girl at the age of 2 at the time, my other sister and brothertook her, her father died after 4 years of her mum dying. My brother died 2 years after, and my sister that is looking after her died 4 months ago. My mum i would like to adopt her to the UK. What the best way to go about it?please .
Levy - 15-Jan-17 @ 5:08 PM
Lizzy - Your Question:
I am a British citizen, I recently adopted my niece in Nigeria, but I discovered it is not on the list of designated countries, so what can I do to bring her to live with us in the UK.

Our Response:
The Coram Legal help centre here may be able to point you in the right direction, as it offers free legal advice.
AboutImmigration - 9-Nov-16 @ 11:33 AM
I am a British citizen, I recently adopted my niece in Nigeria, but I discovered it is not on the list of designated countries, so what canI do to bring her to live with us in the UK.
Lizzy - 8-Nov-16 @ 5:06 PM
Hi! My husband and I are british citizen and we adopted our niece back home .We have done already the domestic adoption and we have the court finality order/decision. HCan We apply for ENTRY CLEARANCE so we can bring over in UK our adopted daughter?Thanks
Mehul - 1-Nov-16 @ 7:28 PM
Konibk - Your Question:
Hi there I am desperate for advice. I have a sister who lives in Ethiopia and she had a 5 year old son. My husband and I are both British citizens. Unfortunately my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years and and now she is terminally ill. The father of the child is not on the picture and never was. To cut the story short now my sister is in her last stage of secondary liver cancer. We are hoping to adopt her son to give him a better full loving family life. Where do we start and is this hopeful? Is it a lengthy process? We want re assure my sister that when she is gone her son will be well looked after. We r very desperate for any advice. Thanks , koni

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should point you in the right direction.
AboutImmigration - 21-Oct-16 @ 12:51 PM
Hi there I am desperate for advice. I have a sister who lives in Ethiopia and she had a 5 year old son. My husband and I are both British citizens. Unfortunately my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years and and now she is terminally ill. The father of the child is not on the picture and never was. To cut the story short now my sister is in her last stage of secondary liver cancer. We are hoping to adopt her son to give him a better full loving family life. Wheredo we start and is this hopeful? Is it a lengthy process? We want re assure my sister that when she is gone her son will be well looked after. We r very desperate for any advice. Thanks , koni
Konibk - 20-Oct-16 @ 10:21 PM
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