This guide explains how to adopt a child from another country and bring them to live in United Kingdom. Check DfE fees, several key restrictions, and how to register an overseas adoption.
As a rule, you can adopt a child from abroad to United Kingdom providing:
You would need to contact your local council authority or one of the voluntary adoption agencies that deal with overseas adoption (e.g. CVAA).
There are several similarities to the UK child adoption process. The main difference is that the adoption agency is likely to charge a fee for their services. Other differences include the need to:
Note: The United Kingdom adoption agency will guide you through the process of adopting a child from abroad.
Your income determines whether the Department for Education will charge you a fee. The fees are for processing the application and are exempt from VAT.
Use the 'Intercountry adoption: means test form' to apply for a fee reduction. As a close relative of the child you would be exempt from the adoption fees.
Note: The fee includes the charges for case management but excludes legalisation costs. The relevant authority can confirm the fees and procedures in Scotland, Wales, and in Northern Ireland
The United Kingdom has some restricted adoption practice and procedures from these countries:
You might still be able to adopt a child from a restricted country. But, you would need to contact the Intercountry Adoption Team.
Intercountry Adoption Casework Team
Level 0, Riverside
Darlington DL1 5QE
You can check the full list of countries and the reasons why some special restrictions are in place. You would have to apply in writing and give some reasons why your particular case should be an exception.
Note: In Scotland, there are countries in which special restrictions are in place too. You will find them published under section 62 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.
You may be able to adopt even if you are 'normally' resident in a country overseas. You would need to follow the adoption laws of the country where you live.
Follow the UK adoption law if you are 'normally' resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. Often called 'habitual residence', it can apply even for people living abroad at the time of the adoption.
The country might ask for a 'no objection' letter from the United Kingdom government. If so, you might need to give a sworn statement in front of a solicitor. It would state that you are no longer 'habitually' resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. Send it to (either):
Note: Moving or traveling to a third country after adopting a child (abroad or in the UK) means that country may not recognise the adoption. Always seek legal advice if you have any doubts.
In some cases, you can make an application to register an overseas adoption in the Adopted Child Register for England and Wales. Eligibility for applying would depend on whether:
You can read further guidance notes before filling in the application form. Registration would then take place with the General Register Office (GRO).
Adopting a Child from Overseas to the United Kingdom