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Adoption From Abroad – Guide

In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about adoption from abroad, including what international adoption could cost and any restrictions that are in place. If you’re thinking of adopting a child from overseas, it’s important to do your homework.


Is adoption from abroad possible?

Adoption from abroad may be possible as long as certain criteria are met.

You can only adopt a child from overseas if:

• it would be in the best interests of the child and
• the care of the child in a safe environment where they come from is not possible

Adoption from abroad is only possible once an assessment by an adoption agency in the UK has taken place, to confirm that you are ‘eligible and suitable’ to undertake adoption from abroad. Factors taken into account include whether you have any other children, your health and your financial circumstances.


Who can undertake adoption from abroad?

In order to adopt a child from overseas from the UK, you must be over 21 years old.

What’s more, you must not have any convictions in the ‘specified offences’ list, which includes certain offences against children and sexual offences.

In addition, you must be habitually resident or domiciled in the UK (sometimes for at least one year).

adoption from abroad


Adoption from abroad: what is the first step?

If you’re considering adoption from abroad, you should contact either an adoption agency which deals with adoption from abroad or your local council.


Is the adoption from abroad process similar to UK adoption?

Yes. The process is carried out through a UK adoption agency (a fee may be charged). However, there are some additional steps necessary in order to carry out an adoption from abroad.

For instance, you will have to visit the child in their own country.

Your UK adoption agency will guide you through the various different stages of the process, which will include a home study assessment (involving home visits) and approval from a panel of experts.


Restrictions on adoption from abroad

Currently, the UK has restricted adoption from:

• Cambodia
• Guatemala
• Nepal
• Haiti
• Ethiopia

Adoption from abroad from these countries may still be possible, but you will need to apply to the Intercountry Adoption Team if a child comes from any of these countries.


Cost of adoption from abroad

A charge of £1,975 is payable to the Department for Education for the processing of your application.

This covers case management but not legalisation costs.


How to register adoption from abroad

It may be possible to file an application to register an adoption from abroad in the Adopted Child Register for England and Wales, but only if certain criteria are met:

• the parent was habitually resident in England and Wales when the adoption from abroad took place
• the adoption from abroad happened in certain countries
• all the supporting documents are available


Adoption from abroad if you live overseas

If you are normally resident in another country, you will have to follow the adoption laws of the country you’re living in.

Get in touch with Austin Kemp for further information about adoption from abroad.


How international adoption works

International adoption is the adoption of a child from another country. If you’re considering adopting a child from abroad, it’s important to understand how the process works.

In this article, we’ll explain the international adoption process and discuss what difference your chosen country makes to the international adoption procedures you will need to follow.


What is international adoption?

If you live in the UK and want to adopt a child from another country, this is known as international adoption.


Where to start: international adoption

If you want to adopt a child from abroad, there are certain eligibility criteria that you must meet.

In the UK, the law is fairly broad when it comes to who can adopt.

In order to be eligible for international adoption, you must:

• be over 21 years old
• be domiciled or habitually resident in the UK (sometimes for a minimum of a year)
• not have been convicted of a ‘specified offence’ (specific offences against children and sexual offences)

International adoption will only be possible once an assessment by an adoption agency in the UK has confirmed that you are ‘eligible and suitable’ to adopt a child through international adoption. When deciding whether to approve you for international adoption, the adoption agency will take various factors into account, including your financial circumstances and your health.


International adoption: decide which country you want to adopt from

When it comes to international adoption, it makes a difference where you want to adopt a child from in the world. Which country you decide on will dictate which procedures you need to follow.

If you are adopting from a Hague Convention country (a country that signed up to the 1993 Hague Convention on inter country adoption), the adoption order made in either country is recognised in all Hague Convention countries (including the UK). If you adopt a child from a Hague Convention country, the child will automatically acquire British nationality when the adoption order is made.

If the country is not a Hague Convention country, it may be on the designated list. If it is on this list, the UK will recognise the adoption order made in the other country (so no need to apply again to a British court). However, the child will not automatically acquire British nationality.

If the country you want to carry out international adoption from is not a Hague Convention country and is not on the designated list, it may be necessary to apply for adoption in both countries (the UK and your international adoption country). You will also need to consider immigration (as the child will not automatically become a British citizen).

An agency authorised to deal with international adoption should be able to advise you where you may be able to adopt a child.


International adoption: beginning the process

International adoption includes more steps than non-international adoption. For example, you will need to visit the child in their own country.

If you’re considering international adoption, you can contact either a voluntary adoption agency which deals with international adoption or your local council.


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with the adoption from abroad options?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to adoption from abroad, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on adoption from abroad

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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20th March 2020

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