In international arrangements the only way you can be certain of bringing your child home safely is by ensuring you have a clear understanding of the UK’s immigration and nationality law before taking any permanent steps.
International adoptions are highly complex and it is essential that you seek specialist advice before considering adopting a child from abroad. We can advise in relation to cross-border recognition of adoption orders and our experienced immigration team can advise you on the immigration aspects of bringing a child into the UK.
Once you have identified the country from which you intend to adopt, you need to know whether that country is:
• A Hague Convention Country: if the country from which you want to adopt has signed up to the 1993 Hague Convention on inter-country adoption then an adoption order from that country would be recognised in the UK (and vice versa). If you are British, your child will obtain British nationality upon the grant of an adoption order in one of these countries;
• A country on the ‘recognised list’: if the country from which you intend to adopt is on this list of countries then you could obtain an adoption order in that country and not need to re-apply for an adoption order in the UK. However, your child would not automatically obtain British citizenship and so you would need to take immigration advice from our specialist immigration team;
• Neither Hague Convention nor on the recognised list: If you adopt from a country which does not fall into either of the above categories then you might need to apply for adoption in both your destination country and in the UK, and you would certainly need to take immigration advice. In those circumstances, we can offer you the added advantage of both a specialist family and a specialist immigration team both working collaboratively.
As with surrogacy, there are a few situations where the child may automatically acquire citizenship, namely if one or both parents are British and it is adopted in a country on a set list.
However, there are otherwise a variety of factors that will affect the route the parents take to bring their child home. The factors that come into play include: –
If your child is not eligible for a British passport, then you will need to apply for a visa to bring him or her back to the UK. There are a number of visa options available, including those issued so a child can be adopted once they arrive in the UK, those where a “de facto” adoption has taken place, and those where the child has already been adopted and no further proceedings are needed.
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For more information the following lawyers will be able to help with Forming Families – International Adoption.