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Adoption of a child - How it works

Adopting a child from overseas and bringing them to the UK is possible. In the UK one who wishes to adopt a child from overseas is permitted for the adoption. You can adopt a child from overseas if:

  • There is no safe environment for taking care of the child in their own country
  • Adopting such a child would be in the best interest of that child
  • The one who is adopting is found eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK.
The adoption process only applies to grant of limited leave or indefinite leave to remain to the UK as –
  • The adopted child of a parent/s present and settled in the UK or being admitted for settlement in the UK
  • The adopted child of a parent or parents given limited leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • A child for adoption
  • A child for adoption under the Hague Convention
Adoption under the UK Immigration Rules paragraph 310 to 316

Adopting a child

The process of adoption of a child from overseas is the same as adopting a child in the UK. The adoption will be done by a UK adoption agency. The adoption agency will tell you what you need to do and guide you through the steps of adoption. The following steps of adoption are required to receive certificate of eligibility:
  • Your application is sent to the Department for Education (DfE) or your relevant UK central authority to check it meets eligibility criteria
  • DfE or your relevant UK central authority then issues a certificate of eligibility to adopt. After that, this certificate is sent with your adoption application to the relevant overseas authority.
  • Once matched, you need to visit the child in the country they are living in. Now you need to confirm in writing that you visited the child and want to proceed with the adoption.
  • You may have to go through a court process in the country you are adopting a child from and in the UK.
  • Once the placement is finalized, you need to arrange entry clearance so that the child can enter the UK.
The above process MAY only be avoided in De-facto Adoption or where the child is adopted according to the law of an overseas country and the adoption is accepted valid under – The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions Order) 2013. And the adoption took place more than 12 months ago from the planned date of arrival. In almost all cases the parents are required to be habitually resident in the UK, unless the child is only travelling for the purpose of adoption by the parents habitually resident outside the UK.

Bringing adopted children to the UK

A child adoption order in a court of the UK gives the adoptive parents full parental responsibility for the adopted child. The adoptive parents thus become a legal parent(s) of the child for their lifetime.

British citizenship for the child

Adopted children can become British citizens automatically at the time of adoption under the British nationality act in 2 situations: 1. When the final adoption order is certified in accordance with the terms of the Hague Convention. Also at the time of the adoption order, at least one of the adoptive parents was British and habitually resident in the UK. 2. When the child is adopted by order of a court in the UK and at the time of adoption order at least one of the adoptive parents was a British citizen. In these situations, adoptive parents can send required proof of adoption and other documents and can make an application for a British passport for the child. In other situations, children need to be registered as British citizens under the British nationality act.

Entry clearance and leave to remain for adopted children

Adopted children can also be granted limited or unlimited leave to remain or enter for children adopted by British citizens or by one who is settled in the UK. Children can be granted indefinite leave to remain if: 1 Both parents are present and settled in the UK. 2. One parent is present and settled in the UK while the other parent is dead. 3. One parent with sole responsibility for the child is present and settled in the UK. 4. One parent is present and settled in the UK and it is found that exclusion of the child for the child may lead to serious consequences for the child and there are ample arrangements for the care of the child. The adoption process is complex and expensive and if you are looking for the professional assistance you can contact Visa and Migration Ltd for a consultation.
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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.