Adopted Child

Adopted Child of Settled PersonHow do I bring my adopted children to the UK?
You must be able to show that:

  • you currently live and are settled in the United Kingdom legally, with no time limit on your stay
  • you can adequately support and house your child without help from public funds

How does my adopted child qualify to join me in the United Kingdom?
You, or your child, must show that he or she:

  • is not leading an independent life, is not married and has not formed an independent family unit
  • is under 18 years
  • was adopted when both parents lived together abroad or when either parent was settled in the United Kingdom
  • has the same rights as any other child of the adoptive parents
  • was adopted because their original parents could not care for them and there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility
  • has broken all ties with their original family
  • was not adopted just to make it easier to enter the United Kingdom

Your adopted child must get entry clearance before they travel to the United Kingdom.
Following the implementation of the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999 on 30/4/2001, it is now an offence* for prospective adoptive parents to bring a child into the United Kingdom for the purposes of adoption, unless they have complied with requirements prescribed in law. The penalty for non-compliance is a fine of up to £5000 and/or up to three months imprisonment.

*Section 56A of the Adoption Act 1976, inserted by Section 14 of the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999

The Adoption of Children from Overseas Regulations 2001 aims to deter people from bringing children into the United Kingdom for the purpose of adoption unless they have first been assessed and approved by a local council or a voluntary adoption agency (VAA) and had their suitability endorsed by the Secretary of State. In order to avoid committing an offence, the Regulations require prospective adoptive parents in England and Wales, to have first:

  • applied for their suitability to adopt a child to be approved by a local council or VAA
  • complied with the assessment process
  • received confirmation, in writing, of the agency’s decision to approve them as suitable to be an adoptive parent
  • received written notification from the Secretary of State that he is prepared to issue a certificate of eligibility

Within 14 days of the prospective adoptive parents’ arrival in the United Kingdom with a child, they must notify their local council of their intention to adopt or not. Once this notification has been received, the child will be a protected child under Section 22 of the Adoption Act 1976 and his/her placement will be monitored by the council under Sections 32 to 37.

How long can my adopted child stay?
If your child was adopted in a designated country and both you and your husband or wife are settled here, or you have sole responsibility for the child, he or she will normally be allowed to stay here permanently from the date they arrive. If your child has not been adopted in a designated country he or she will normally be allowed to stay for 12 months so the adoption process can continue through the United Kingdom courts.

Will my adopted child become a British citizen automatically?
Your child will only become a British citizen if you adopted them through the United Kingdom courts and at least one of their adoptive parents was a British citizen when the adoption order was made.

Will a foreign adoption order be recognised in the UK?
A foreign adoption order will only be recognised in the UK if it was made in a country that is included in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas adoptions) Order 1973. This is known as a designated country.

If the adoption order was made in a country that is not designated, the child can apply to come to the UK to be adopted through the courts.

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