It is vitally important that prospective adopters fully consider the immigration and nationality requirements in respect of their inter-country adoption. At Arden Solicitors Advocates, we aim to provide professional advice and guidance, in a friendly and accommodating manner, in order to help you reach a judgment on which path you wish to take in your journey for adoption.
Types of adoption
- Adoptions under the terms of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption 1993 (otherwise known as the “Hague Convention”):
This Convention only applies to inter-country adoptions. What this means is that, prospective adopters based in the United Kingdom adopting a child in the United Kingdom cannot adopt under the terms of the Hague Convention. This adoption is commonly reserved for over-seas adoptions whereby the respective country the child is habitually resident is also a party to the convention. In some cases, Hague Convention adoptions will only be finalised after a child’s entry to the UK (e.g. Philippines, Thailand). Adoptive parents in these cases will need to apply for a visa to gain entry clearance for the respective child.
- Overseas adoptions recognised by UK law:
These are adoptions which took place in countries or territories whose adoption procedures are recognised by the United Kingdom. For adoptions which took place before 3rd January 2014, please see The Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973 and The Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions)(Variation) Order 1993. For adoptions which took place after 3rd January 2014, please see The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013.
- Overseas adoptions not recognised by UK law:
These are adoptions which took place in any of the countries which are not listed above. Adoptions of this nature can be very difficult for adopters, in immigration terms, unless they are classed as “de facto adoptions”. However, the recent judgement from W v SSHD  EWHC 1733 (Fam) illustrates that in some rare cases, a successful resolution can be achieved.
- De facto adoptions:
There adoptions are defined under paragraph 309A of the Immigration Rules, as:
(i) The adoptive parents have been living together abroad for at least eighteen months; and
(ii) The adoptive parents have been living together with the child for twelve months; and
(iii) The adoptive parents have cared for the child for the full eighteen month period.
De facto adoptions exist as a concept of the Immigration Rules. They do not “mean” anything per se, under the common family law body, and they further do not grant parental rights to parents or nationality rights to an adopted child.
Entry clearance requirements and timescales can vary significantly from country to country and the child will not be granted entry clearance if the immigration rules are not satisfied by supporting evidence.
When making post adoption plans to apply for a visa to bring a child adopted from overseas into the UK, adoptive parents need to be aware that there are different application processes for each type of inter-country adoption. Hague Convention intercountry adoptions by British citizens. For example, for Hague Convention adoptions, where British citizenship is conferred to the child, adoptive parents should not apply for a visa but instead apply for either a ‘certificate of entitlement for a right to abode’ or a British passport. On the other hand, non-Hague Convention inter-country adoptions adoptive parents need to apply for a visa for the child. Please note that the type of visa required can vary depending on specific country and circumstances.
Regardless, adoptive parents need to be mindful that they will need to provide sufficient evidence for any application they wish to make, in order to satisfy the Immigration Rules. It is always important to be aware that just because adoptive parents have complied with adoption legislation does not automatically mean that they will satisfy the Immigration Rules in relation to the respective child being adopted.
With our experience, knowledge, and expertise, Arden Solicitors Advocates can guide you in your journey as both prospective and experienced adoptive parents, to make your journey as adoptive parents a smooth and stress-free one.