Child Adoption in the UK
In the UK one can adopt a child from overseas if:
- the child cannot be cared for in a safe environment in the home country and
- adoption is in the best interest of the child and
- an Adoption Agency in the UK has assessed an adopter eligible and suitable to adopt a child from the overseas
Moreover, for bringing an overseas child to the UK, the adopting parents needs the approval of Department for Education (DfE). Therefore, after the approval, the overseas adopted child can make an entry clearance applications under the Immigration Rules. Accordingly, if someone in the UK wants to adopt a child from overseas then needs to contact the relevant local council or a voluntary adoption agency that deals with overseas adoption.
Bringing an overseas adopted child to the UK
The overseas child adoption process is similar to a adopting a child living in the UK. In fact a UK adoption agency facilitates the overseas child adoption process. And usually the adoption agency charges a fee for the services. However, there are additional steps involved in overseas child adoption such as:
- assessment by overseas adoption authority
- adopting parent needs to visit the child in his/her home country
- sending the adoption application to the home country of the child
An adoption agency can provide specific guidance for child adoption from the overseas.
Child Adoption Order for Bringing Adopted Child
In fact, a child adoption order by a court in the UK gives full parental responsibility for a child to the approved adopting parent(s). Quite clearly, a child adoption order effectively severs the legal ties between a birth parent and the child. And accordingly, the adoptive parent(s) become the child’s legal parent(s) afterwards for a lifetime.
De-facto child adoption in the UK
Perhaps, a de-facto adoption takes place if immediately preceding the entry clearance application, the adoptive parents are living together abroad for a least 18 months, of which the 12 months immediately preceding the application the adoptive parents have spent with the overseas adopted child. Moreover, the parents also needs to assume the role of the child’s parents at the beginning of the 18 month period, so that it can be considered that they have genuinely been transferred parental responsibility.
Certificate of Eligibility for Bringing Adopted Child
In terms of paragraph 309B of the Immigration Rules, Inter-country child adoption in the UK may be subjected to section 83 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or the equivalent legislation in Scotland or Northern Ireland if the adopter’s habitual residence is there. Where this is the case, a letter obtained from the Department for Education (England and Wales habitual residents) or the equivalent from the relevant central authority (Scotland or Northern Ireland habitual residents) confirming the issue of a Certificate of Eligibility must be provided with an entry clearance adoption application under paragraphs 310-316C of the Immigration Rules.
Restrictions on bringing an adopted child to the UK
In the UK, there are restrictions on overseas child adoption from Cambodia, Guatemala, Nepal, Haiti and Ethiopia. However, an applicant can contact the Intercountry Adoption Team for child adoption from any of these countries. Moreover, an applicant needs to apply in writing, explaining the reasons for the exception. Apparently, the relevant regulations for overseas child adoption are:
- The Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005
- The Adoptions with Foreign Element Regulations 2005
Is an overseas adopted child eligible for British Citizenship?
Perhaps, adopted children by British Citizens can be eligible for British Citizenship. Apparently, in certain circumstances, the British Nationality Act 1981 allows children adopted on or after 1st January 1983 to automatically become British Citizens from the date of the adoption order.
Department of Education (DfE) Approval
Approval of DfE for bringing adopted child to the UK
Indeed, the prospective parents first need to get the approval of the Department of Education (DfE) before applying the visa application for bringing an adopted child to the UK. However, the DfE does not advice and intervene in immigration matters. The DfE fee is £1,975 to process a child adoption application, which is exempt from VAT. Moreover, once the Department for Education (DfE) accepts the child adoption application then only the adopting parents needs to pay the DfE fee.
How to apply for the approval of DfE for overseas child adoption?
In fact, an application to the Department of Education (DfE) for adopting overseas children must include written confirmation of the decision from the Agency Decision Maker and any recommendation the agency has made about the country, the number of children, their age range and/or gender. And also the likely needs and background of the children.
Child Adoption Panel – Documents Checklist
Indeed, as per Regulation 25, all applicants need to provide the requisite documents and information to the adoption panel. Perhaps, the documents may include:
- the original medical report on each prospective adopter
- the original DBS check for each prospective adopter and every adult member of the household
- report of the visit to 3 independent referees (2 of which must be non-family members)
- the record of proceedings of the adoption panel and that of the Independent Review Panel
- also their recommendation and the reason for the recommendation.
Adopters Eligibility Requirements for Bringing Adopted Child
The application to the Department of Education (DfE) also needs to confirm that each prospective adopter is eligible to adopt i.e. aged 21 years or over. And also has the immigration status to sponsor the entry of a dependent into the UK. Moreover, for Non-Hague overseas child adoption, adopted parent needs to meet the following requirements:
- if a couple, at least one adopting parent needs to be a UK domiciled or
- both parent are habitually resident in the British Islands for not less than one year ending with the date of application for an adoption order
- meets the residency requirements
Moreover, for a child adoption under Hague Convention, the adopting parents needs to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- both parents are habitually resident in the British Islands for not less than one year ending with the date of application to be assessed by the adoption agency
- the adoption agency has explained in writing to the prospective adopter the procedure in relation to, and the legal implication of, adopting a child in accordance with the Convention.
- meets residency requirements
Immigration Rules for Bringing an Adopted Child from the Overseas
The paragraphs 309-316 of the Immigration Rules explain the details of bringing an adopted child from the overseas.
- Paragraphs 309A and 309B explains the de-facto adoption and certificate of eligibility for bringing an adopted child to the UK
- Paragraphs 310 and 311 explains the requirements for indefinite leave to enter and remain as an adopted child, respectively. And Paragraphs 312-313 explain when an Indefinite leave to an adopted child is granted or refused
- 314-316 of the Immigration Rules explain the details of Limited Leave to Enter or Remain as the Adopted Child.
- Paragraphs 316A, 316B and 316C of the Immigration Rules explains the details of Limited Leave to Enter the UK as a Child Seeking Adoption in the UK
- Paragraphs 316D, 316E and 316F of the Immigration Rules Part 8: Family Members, explains the details of Limited Leave to Enter as a Child for Adoption under the Hague Convention.
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