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Passports for Adopted or Fostered Children

Special rules apply when getting a passport for a child adopted in the United Kingdom (and overseas). This guide also explains the process of getting a passport for foster children and for youngsters in care.

Get a Passport for a Child Adopted in UK

You will be able to get a British passport for your child if, at the time when you adopted your child:

  • Either of the adoptive parents has British nationality.
  • They were ‘habitually resident’. This means that the parent was usually living in the United Kingdom (not abroad).

You will need to send in the child’s adoption certificate. It must show the valid details of at least one British parent.

Along with the child adoption certificate, you will also need to send at least one of these documents:

  • British passport details for either of the parents.
  • A United Kingdom birth certificate for either parent.
  • A Home Office certificate of registration or naturalisation for one of the parents.
  • The passport that was valid when the child was born (for either parent).

Get a Passport for a Child Adopted Overseas

Children Adopted since 1st of June 2003

What if the adoption took place overseas on or after June 1st 2003? In this case, a child can get a British passport providing:

  • One of the parents is British (and)
  • The British parent was ‘habitually resident’ in the United Kingdom when the child got adopted.

For nationality purposes, only adoptions conducted under the Hague Convention get recognised. Thus, you need to send the full Hague Convention adoption certificate for the child. It will show the details of both parents.

You also need to send evidence of the nationality status of the British parent. A British passport issued before the date of adoption will suffice. Remember to insert the passport number on the application form.

Note: There are other types of ‘official documents you must send’ instead if you do not hold a British passport.

Children Adopted before 1st of June 2003

If you adopted a child overseas before June 1st 2003 they will not ‘automatically’ qualify to get a British passport. This rule applies even if one of the parents has British citizenship.

As a rule, the child adoption will be legal and recognised for parental responsibility purposes. But, it may not be for nationality purposes. It will depend on the actual country where the adoption took place.

Passports for Foster Children (or children in care)

You must contact the Passport Adviceline to get a passport for a child you are fostering or is in care. They can also confirm what documents you need for complex applications.

Passport Adviceline
Telephone: 0300 222 0000
Outside the UK: +44 (0)300 222 0000
Textphone: 18001 0300 222 0222
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Weekends and public holidays: 9am to 5:30pm

Passport for a Child Born through Surrogacy

Children Born through Surrogacy

You must have the documents needed for a first child passport, and you also need to send:

  • A letter that shows the details of the surrogacy arrangement.
  • Evidence of the surrogacy treatment (e.g. a letter from the clinic where it took place).
  • Proof that the child has a valid claim to British nationality.
  • Proof of identity of the applicant (e.g. a passport or a birth certificate).
  • Proof of the marriage or civil partnership (if relevant to the application).

In some cases, you may be in possession of a parental order. If so, you will also need to send:

  • The actual parental order (if you are in possession of it).
  • The birth certificate for the child (issued after the granting of a parental order).

What if you do not have a parental order? You can send a full UK birth certificate instead if the child was born in the United Kingdom.

Note: There are special rules on applying for a passport and surrogacy overseas if you do not have a parental order and the child was born outside of the United Kingdom.

Passport for a Child Born through Sperm Donation

You can get a passport for a child conceived through sperm donation born in the United Kingdom. You must send the child’s birth certificate when you make an application. Even so, there is no requirement to state that the child got conceived through sperm donation.

Note: Was the child conceived through sperm donation and born in another country? If so, you must provide extra evidence to support the passport application.

Getting Expert Help and Advice

The Passport Adviceline can help if you are unsure what documents you need. They also offer guidance and advice on circumstances with complicated situations.

Child Passports for Adopted or Fostered Children in the United Kingdom