Visa and Immigration Rules for Adopted Children in the UK

Visa rules for bringing adopted children to the UK

If you are settled in the UK and you adopted a child overseas, then you can bring your adopted child to the UK. In order to do so, you need to follow UK visa and immigration rules for adopted children.

Visa rules for adopted children

  • You must show that you currently live and are settled in the UK legally – and that there is no time limit on your stay.
  • You must also show that you can adequately support and house your child without needing any support from public funds.

If you meet these two conditions, you qualify as a parent who can bring their adopted child to the UK.

However, your child must meet the following requirements in order to qualify to join you in UK:

  • He/she cannot support himself/herself financially, is not leading an independent life and is not married.
  • He/she has not made any independent family unit.
  • He/she is under 18 years.
  • He/she was adopted at a time when both parents lived together abroad or when either of the two was settled in the UK.
  • He/she has the same rights as any other child of the adoptive parents has.
  • He/she was adopted because their birth parents could not care for them and a genuine transfer of parental responsibility has taken place.
  • He/she has no ties left with their original family.
  • He/she was not adopted with a purpose to make him/her enter the UK easily.

In order to enter the UK, your adopted child must get entry clearance before travelling to UK. The Adoption Act 2005 states that it is an offence if prospective adoptive parents bring a child into the UK to adopt him or her, unless they complied with all legal requirements. In cases of non-compliance, there is penalty where the adoptive parents may have to pay an unlimited fine, serve up to 12 months imprisonment or both.

It is, therefore, in you and your child’s interest to accurately follow the rules and regulations. In order to not commit an offense, you – as prospective adoptive parents – must have done the following:

  • Applied for your suitability to adopt a child to be approved by a local council or VAA,
  • Complied with the assessment process,
  • Received confirmation from the agency in writing approving you as suitable to be an adoptive parent,
  • Received notification from the Secretary of State – in writing – that he is ready to issue a certificate of eligibility.

Within 14 days of your arrival in the UK with your child, you must notify your local council informing them about your intention to adopt the child. Once this notification has been received by the local council, the child will be a protected child under the law and his or her placement will be monitored by the council.

How long can an adopted child stay in the UK?

If you adopted the child in a designated country and both you and your husband or wife is settled in UK or you are solely responsible for the child, then in that case the child will normally be allowed to stay in the UK permanently from the date he or she arrives.

However, if your child was not adopted in a designated country, then he or she will normally be allowed to stay for 12 months in the UK during which the adoption process can continue through the UK courts.

Your child will become a British citizen provided you adopted them through the UK courts and at least one of one of you as their adoptive parents were a British citizen at the time of adoption order made.

Visa requirements for adopted children

All adopted children coming to the UK require a visa before they travel. There is an exception, however, if they qualify for a passport issued by an EEA member. In this case, they would not need a visa.

Once you apply for your child’s visa, then the Entry Clearance Officer will make a decision based on the application form and supporting documents you have submitted. If required, they may interview you.

We can support you with your visa application when bringing an adoptive child to the UK. Get in touch with us to find out more.

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