Home > Life in the UK > Adopting a Child from Abroad

Adopting a Child from Abroad

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Oct 2018 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I live in the UK. I think US citizens can adopt from Afghanistan depending on the situation and circumstances. Would I be able to adopt a baby from Afghanistan to the UK?
FR - 19-Oct-18 @ 6:41 PM
The situation is that my sister-in-law has passed away in the Philippines leaving an 11 year old daughter who is now an orphan as my brother passed away several years back. My husband and I are both UK citizens. We’d like to bring her over here because the only family we have in the Philippines are retired, a student and a sister who is unable to house her. I looked at ICAB and they require an adoption agency. Is there an agency you can recommend? Also some agencies require that the parents adopting have no cancer. I had a cancer history but I no longer have it. Would that exclude us from adopting?
Brent - 18-Oct-18 @ 6:04 PM
Hi Louise, I'm writing a book aimed at 8-14 year olds. The basic plot [ which can be altered for authenticity ]is Albanian lady with 8 year old daughter, husband disappeared [ dead? ]. Comes to UK, claims asylum [ protection from local men/gangs mistreating her ]. During the year of decision daughter adapts wonderfully. Claim refused, both deported. UK family , who had become friends, would like to adopt daughter with mums full permission. It seems under Hague Convention this would broadly be possible?What would the hurdles be, so that I'm able to ensure authenticity? If adoption accepted, girl would be UK citizen? Also, as UK citizens, I assume she and her adoptive family would be allowed to travel to Albania? Thanks in advance and am happy to credit you in book.
David - 17-Oct-18 @ 1:07 PM
I wanted to adopt my sister's son from Nigeria but I don't really know what to do. Please can you advise me.
Yebu - 15-Oct-18 @ 4:59 AM
@Rich - If your only intention is to visit the UK, she can apply for a standard visitor visa. Also you can apply to register her as a British citizen under section 3(1) using the MN1 form
TJ. - 19-Sep-18 @ 6:01 AM
My Wife & I are both UK citizens, but my work has taken us to India for the past 4 years. Over the past 2 years we had been waiting to adopt through the CARA official adoption agency of India. Earlier this year we were lucky enough to be matched with our daughter and since the Court Adoption Order has been granted. We also have her Birth Certificate & now Indian Passport. My query is in regard to what VISA is initially required for her travel to the UK for holiday/visit ahead of our repatriation? I note on the Gov website you can have a Standard Visiting VISA, Family VISA or an EEA Family Permit. Despite contacting the immigration contact number (and being heavily charged for the call), I am no clearer on the correct application to make. Any support, guidance or previous experience you can share would be welcomed.
Rich - 18-Sep-18 @ 5:46 PM
I have done a relative adoption of a 16yrs old girl in Nigeria and now have my court order. I am a British citizen and need to bring her into the uk, which form will i fill in to bring her in.
OB - 13-Sep-18 @ 4:48 PM
Im an Albanian Citizen who has a 14 years old boy. I have a friend who lives in UK. He got his UK citizenship becouse he was a victim of Kosovo-Serbia War. Can he adopt my child and give him British Citizenship and UK passport?
xxxAlbaniaxxx - 1-Sep-18 @ 1:13 PM
, I am the NetherlandsCitizen, marriedand we working me and my husbandin Britain for over 2 years.my husband hasfamily member resident I am originally from the Ethiopian. There's a few weeks old child whos find on the wey. The child is know in the hospital . Can I legally adopt the child for his best interest? Can I bring the child to the UK? what I am going to do to bring him here as soon as possible?
Eyerusalem - 28-Aug-18 @ 6:55 AM
Hi, I am a British Citizen, single living and working in Britain for over13 years. I am originally from the Philippines. There's a few weeks old child whos mother died. The father can't support the child for he has no work. He then gave the child to me through my mother back home. I have been supporting the child financially and went home for a month to look after him. Can I legally adopt the child for his best interest? Can I bring the child to the UK? what I am going to do to bring him here as soon as possible?
MG - 22-Aug-18 @ 9:04 PM
My partner would like to adopt my children. He is a UK citizen,we are American born. I am divorce and have sole legal & physical custody, thier bio father is not allowed contact due to extreme physical domestic violence and has not seen or spoken to them in over 2 yrs. My childeren are 12 & 16 and want the adoption as they want no contact with my x. Do we have to notify the x back in the states? Especially since it has to do with our safety?Thank you
Sww79 - 19-Aug-18 @ 3:38 AM
My partner would like to adopt my children. He is a UK citizen,we are American born. I am divorce and have sole legal & physical custody, thier bio father is not allowed contact due to extreme physical domestic violence and has not seen or spoken to them in over 2 yrs. My childeren are 12 & 16 and want the adoption as they want no contact with my x. Do we have to notify the x back in the states? Especially since it has to do with our safety?Thank you
WW79 - 19-Aug-18 @ 3:37 AM
@A.M. - If your daughter is below the age of 18, you can engage any registered adoption agency or solicitor to assist you with the process of getting a UK adoption order which make your daughter an automatic British citizen.
TJ. - 13-Jul-18 @ 4:37 PM
My partner is British and wants to adopt my daughter, who is an American citizen. However, we have been living in the UK for 5 years now. Can you please advise us as to the best course of action?
A.M. - 13-Jul-18 @ 1:25 PM
@Ric - Embassies cannot issue adoption orders. For the adoption to be recognised and for the child to become a British citizen, a UK court will need to give the adoption order.
TJ. - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:16 AM
I am a UK citizen who works in Asia I will be adopting my vietnamese step daughter (via the vietnamese authorities) later this year. As vietnam is not a member of the Hague convention am I still able to register the adoption with the embassy? Is my step daughter allowed to enter the UK education system?
Ric - 5-Jul-18 @ 1:08 AM
RO - Your Question:
I am a British citizen and I leave in UK, my sister passed away living her 2 young children who I have been taking care of them financially in nigeria, while my mum who lived with them is now too ill to look after them, as ashe a result the kids are not goingredients to school. I want to adopt them and brig them back to live with me in uk. Could you please advice me on what to do and how to do it.RO

Our Response:
You can adopt a child from overseas if they can’t be cared for in a safe environment in their own country and/or the adoption would be in their best interests. Please see link here, which should help answer your question further.
AboutImmigration - 4-Jun-18 @ 2:49 PM
I am a British citizen and I leave in UK, my sister passed away living her 2 young children who I have been taking care of them financially in nigeria, while my mum who lived with them is now too ill to look after them, as ashe a result the kids are not goingredients toschool. I want to adopt them and brig them back to live with me in uk. Could you please advice me on what to do and how to do it. RO
RO - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:52 AM
I adopted a child in Pakistan and granted by the court to be the guardian.I am Britishcitizen.What should I do to bring my son in here.
Ronnie - 6-May-18 @ 10:42 PM
None - Your Question:
I would like to adopt a child from Guyana how long the process will be if I apply in the uk

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here , which should further help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 17-Apr-18 @ 12:37 PM
I would like to adopt a child from Guyanahow long the process will be if I apply in the uk
None - 16-Apr-18 @ 8:53 PM
Sally - Your Question:
Hi me and my husband are thinking of adopting a child from India. We both live in uk, I am a British and my husband is still an Indian citizen. My q is for us to adopt would we have to go through a local adoption agency here or could we go to India and start our process there?

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here , which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:45 PM
KRM - Your Question:
My wife and I want to adopt from India( wife's sister's child), we are both UK citizens living in London. Please advise what options could be available ? Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 16-Apr-18 @ 11:40 AM
My wife and I want to adopt from India( wife's sister's child), we are both UK citizensliving in London. Please advise what options could be available ? Thanks
KRM - 15-Apr-18 @ 9:36 PM
Hi me and my husband are thinking of adopting a child from India. We both live in uk, I am a British and my husband is still an Indian citizen. My q is for us to adopt would we have to go through a local adoption agency here or could we go to India and start our process there?
Sally - 14-Apr-18 @ 9:44 PM
@Glen - If both you and your wife are residents in the UK then those two children will automatically become British citizens as soon as you have an adoption order from Belize. You can apply for their British passports after you get new Birth certificates for them.
TJ. - 8-Mar-18 @ 9:01 PM
My wife and I are adopting two boys from Belize and will have an interim adoption order processed by the courts there on 16 March. Can you advise what entry clearance I need to apply for to bring them to the UK? My wife and I are British citizens from birth. We have the relevant 17(c) agreement between Belize and the DfE. Please help as I am getting varying advice and I don’t find the gov.uk is that useful!
Glen - 8-Mar-18 @ 5:26 PM
@Ify - Adoptions completed in Nigeria are not recognised in the UK so you will have to also receive an adoption order from a UK court after which the child will become a British citizen. You can use government recognized adoption agencies to assist you with this.
TJ. - 7-Mar-18 @ 7:05 AM
I adopted a child from my country Nigeria with all the adoption process completed ..I want to ask if I require to get court order or make same application like I did with Nigeria..I read that Nigeria is one of the disgnated country listed ..So my question is I want to bring my child over..how do I go about it..?i am British citizen .
Ify - 6-Mar-18 @ 7:34 PM
Am ku British citizen I have a kid in Ghana but separately from my wife just wanna bring child in uk how will I do that thanks
Money - 2-Mar-18 @ 2:20 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments