Inter-Country Adoptions & Foreign Adoption

This means an adoption where the applicants do not have the same nationality as the child or live in a different country from the child. A child who is adopted outside the UK will not automatically become a British citizen, even if his / her adoptive parents are British. They will need to apply for citizenship.

Whereas, a child adopted in the UK will become a British citizen if either adoptive parent is a British citizen at the time the adoption order is made.

English courts recognise adoption orders made in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

In order to bring a child who normally resides outside the British Isles into the UK a prospective adopter must comply with the provisions of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, this provides that:

1. A prospective adopter must have applied to a local authority or accredited adoption agency for assessment of his/her suitability to be an adoptive parent.

2. The authority or accredited adoption agency must then provide a report approving the prospective adopter as suitable to be an adoptive parent. The report must set out the family, medical and social background of the applicants and the characteristics of the child to be adopted.

3. The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families must have notified the prospective adopter in writing that he is prepared to issue a certificate confirming to the authorities in the overseas country that the prospective adopter has been assessed and approved as suitable and that the child will be authorised to reside permanently within the British Isles. This is known as a Certificate of Eligibility and Suitability.

4. The state in which the child lives must then prepare a report about the child's adoptability, family and social background and whether the child has any needs and whether consent to the adoption has been given freely and whether adoption is in the best interests of the child.

When bringing a child into the country it is necessary to show the child is under 18, unmarried, will be looked after and paid for by the applicants, was adopted legally in the child's country and the adoption took place because the birth parents could not care for the child and was not arranged to get the child into the UK. The child also has to hold a valid UK entry clearance.

It is an offence to send a child who is a British subject abroad for the purposes of adoption unless the adoption is legitimate and the adopters are not living in the UK and intend to obtain a proper adoption order abroad. 

Links & Addresses - Adoption Law

Adoption Law