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Bringing an adopted child to UK

If you adopt a child from abroad then in certain circumstances the Immigration rules allow that child to be brought to the UK to live permanently.  

If the adoption was a de facto one, the rules state the following:

  • Immediately preceding the application the adoptive parent/s were living abroad for at least 18 months, of which 12 months preceding the application must have ben spent living with the child.
  • The adoptive parents must have assumed the role of the child’s parent since the beginning of the 18 month period so that there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility. 

Alternatively, if the child was adopted through the Courts in their country of origin or country where they have been resident, then for the adoption  to be recognised in the UK the country must be a signatory to the Hague Convention. 

If so, the following requirements must also be met:

  • The child must have the same rights and obligations as any other child of the adoptive parents or parent’s family, AND
  • The child was adopted due to the inability of the original parent/s or current carer to care for him/her and there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility to the adoptive parent/s; AND
  • The child has lost or broken his/her ties with his family of origin; AND
  • The child was adopted but the adoption is not one of convenience arranged to facilitate his admission to the UK or to remain in the UK. 

Children who are adopted by British Citizens can be eligible for British Citizenship. The British Nationality Act 1981 allows for children adopted on or after 1st January 1983 to automatically become a British Citizen from the date of the adoption order in certain circumstances. 

If you would like further information on bringing an adopted child to the UK or whether your child is eligible for British Citizenship then please contact a member of our immigration team or email

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