Welcome to WH Solicitors. We are happy to help you.

  • Home
  • Overseas Adoption

How to Adopt a Child from Overseas

Young child for overseas adoption

Many individuals and couples want to adopt, and some choose to adopt children from overseas. Overseas adoption has a slightly different set of criteria to adoption in the UK although many areas overlap.

The Criteria for Overseas Adoption

Adopting a child from overseas is done via a UK adoption agency. The process is similar to adopting a UK child, and the agency may charge a fee. There are three criteria that the adoption should satisfy, and these are:-

  • The child cannot be cared for in a safe place in their own country
  • The adoption is in their best interests
  • The adopter/s have been assessed as suitable to adopt by a UK adoption agency and are also eligible to adopt an overseas child


What is the Process for Overseas Adoption?

The first step is to contact a UK adoption agency. They will assess your suitability; if you are approved, this is just the first stage in the process.

  • Your application is sent to DfE, the Department for Education, or the relevant UK Central Authority to check it is eligible
  • The Central Authority or DfE issues a Certificate of Eligibility to Adopt and sends it along with the adoption application to the appropriate overseas authority
  • When a child is matched to you, you will need to visit them in their own country and then confirm this visit in writing and that you want to go ahead with the adoption
  • It may be necessary to go through a legal adoption process in the Courts of the child’s own country as well as in the UK
  • Once the adoption has been finalised, you will need to arrange immigration clearance so that the child can come to the UK

Registering the Adoption of an Overseas Child

Once the adoption is complete, the adoptive parents can apply to register the child in the Adopted Child Register for England and Wales. The adoption will be accepted if it took place in specific, defined countries and the parent or parents were habitually resident in England and Wales at the time of the adoption. The adoptive parent or parents will also need to be able to provide all of the supporting documentation.

Thinking about Adopting an Overseas Child?

The adoption process for any individual or couple is daunting, even more so when the child in question is overseas. There are complex regulations and procedures to manage, plus often, a language barrier.

For many potential adoptive parents, the process of application is complicated Immigration Rules Appendix Adoption, and there’s always that innate fear of getting something wrong, which could jeopardise the outcome.

Finding the right professional to guide the adoption process is the security many adoptive parents need to take those first few brave steps. Legal representation will be essential if you have to deal with the Courts in the child’s country of origin.

WH Solicitors, Talk to the Adoption Experts

WH Solicitors are specialists in adoption both in the UK and overseas. We have the necessary experience working with adoption agencies in the UK and abroad, with detailed knowledge of different legal systems to facilitate adopting a child from another country.

Why Use WH Solicitors?

The team of experts at WH Solicitors specialises in overseas adoption cases. This professional service is affordable to adoptive parents, with transparent pricing and a cost estimate discussed before the process begins.

Here’s how we can help.

  • Review the eligibility of your application before it is sent to the DfE or UK Central Authority
  • Assist with the adoption process both in the UK and overseas if required by the Courts in the child’s country of origin
  • Arrange for the translation, legalisation, and notarisation of the adoption application and the supporting documents
  • Compile and support an exception request if you want to adopt a child from a restricted country
  • Register the overseas adoption in the Adopted Child Register for England and Wales
  • Assist in obtaining a passport for the child and advise on visa rights

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the process cost to adopt a child from overseas?

The fee levied by the Department for Education is £2,500 for processing an application to adopt an overseas child and case management. If you choose to instruct a solicitor to represent you, their fees will be additional, plus there may be other costs like charges for notarisation services or translation.

Which countries does the UK currently have restrictions on for overseas child adoptions?

Currently, the UK restricts child adoptions from Cambodia, Guatemala, Nepal, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. The reasons for the restrictions vary primarily based on child vulnerability and those countries not having sufficient processes in place to establish whether a child is adoptable. Making an exception request to adopt a child from a restricted country is possible, but evidence will be required to support this. Also, not all countries allow children to be placed overseas for adoption.

Do I have to be a British citizen in order to be able to adopt a child from overseas?

UK residents who are not British citizens can adopt a child from overseas but must have indefinite leave to remain (ILR), also known as settled status in the UK or permanent residence.

How long does it take to adopt a child from overseas?

The approval process alone can take up to six months before an individual or couple is authorised as suitable adopters. Waiting for a match in your country of choice can take any length of time and varies on a case-by-case basis. Some people wait for several years to adopt a child from overseas.

Get in Touch

Contact WH Solicitors for help with adopting a child from overseas. This is a long and complex process, and we are right by your side to present and support your application. We can also liaise with lawyers in your country of choice and coordinate a joint approach between that country and the UK. Our rates are transparent and affordable, and our friendly team is waiting to take your call.

The contents of this webpage are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal advice. All information is correct as of the date of publication, and any individual or organisation should be careful to seek qualified advice from a specialist immigration lawyer before acting on any of the topics referenced by this content.