International Adoption

Are you thinking about adopting a child from outside the UK? Our international adoption solicitors can provide all the advice and support you need to make your dream a reality.

The process of overseas adoption is more complicated than adopting a child within the UK, so the advice of a specialist family solicitor is essential.

At Crisp & Co, we can talk you through the process in detail and help you with all the legal aspects of adopting your child. This is an exciting but also stressful time; we will ensure that all matters are completed as swiftly as possible and to the highest degree of accuracy so that you can focus on welcoming your new arrival into your family.

Contact our international adoption solicitors in London and across the UK to discuss your case with an expert member of our team. Alternatively, please contact our simple online enquiry form and someone will be in touch shortly. 


Our international adoption solicitors’ expertise

We can advise in all types of overseas adoption matter, including:

  • Adopting a child who does not have parents or suitable guardians overseas
  • Adopting a child from overseas relatives
  • Adopting your partner or spouse’s child from overseas

Following the correct processes when adopting your child is essential, such as dealing with an adoption agency authorised to handle intercountry adoptions, obtaining an Adoption Order and registering the adoption in the Adopted Children Register. We can guide you through the correct processes, leaving no box unticked and no risk of any issues arising later on.

Giving a home to a child who may not be able to get the care they need in their home country is a rewarding and admirable thing to do, particularly if they also have additional physical and emotional needs. We are here to help you achieve that dream as efficiently as possible so you can bring your child home and start helping them flourish.


International Adoption FAQs

When can you adopt a child from overseas?

You can adopt a child from overseas if:

  • They cannot be safely cared for in their country of birth
  • The adoption would be in their best interests
  • You are eligible and suitable to adopt and have been approved by an adoption agency

Are you eligible to adopt from overseas?

To be eligible to adopt from overseas, you must be:

  • Over 21 years of age
  • Habitually resident in the UK (if you spend some time in other countries, we can provide further advice)
  • Not have been found guilty or cautioned for certain criminal offences (usually offences against children)

Typically, you must also meet the eligibility criteria of the country you want to adopt from. Because of equality laws, the UK’s eligibility criteria is relatively wide, however, other countries’ criteria may be more difficult to meet. For example, some countries have upper age limits or they may only accept married couples. We can help you determine whether you are eligible to adopt in your chosen country.

Do you have to be a British citizen to adopt from overseas?

No, although you must be a permanent resident or have indefinite leave to remain.

What does 'habitually resident' mean?

You must be habitually resident in the UK to adopt from overseas. Habitually resident means that you regularly live in the UK. If you have lived in the UK all your life or for many years, you are habitually resident, even if you occasionally leave the country to go on holiday. If you leave the country to take up residence elsewhere and with no intention to return, you will lose your habitual residence. You may also lose your UK habitual residence if you move to another country for a family member’s employment, even if you are planning to come back at some point.

If you do not know whether you are habitually resident in the UK, we can provide further advice.

How does the international adoption process work?

To get started with international adoption, you need to contact your local authority or an adoption agency that can handle overseas adoptions.

The assessment process is similar to UK adoptions - for more information, visit our main Adoption Solicitors page.

There are also some additional steps, for example, you will need to visit the country to see the child. As part of our inclusive service, we will provide tailored advice and guide you through the entire process.

Finalising an overseas adoption

You will usually need to get a court order to make the adoption final. The exact steps will depend on the circumstances of your case, so we will provide tailored advice about what you need to do.

If you adopt a child from a country that is signed up to the Hague Convention 1993, you can get an Adoption Order in the UK and it will be recognised in both countries. The child will also automatically become a British citizen.

If you legally adopt in a country that is on the UK’s ‘designated list’ then you do not then if you adopt overseas, you do not also need to apply for an Adoption Order in the UK - the UK will recognise your adoption. However, the child will not automatically become a British citizen.

If the country you want to adopt from is not signed up to the Hague Convention or on the designated list you will need to adopt in both the overseas country and the UK. Again, the child will not automatically become a British citizen.

Depending on the circumstances, it may also be necessary to seek specialist immigration advice to be able to bring your child back to the UK to live with you.

What countries can you adopt from?

You can adopt from many countries, including China, the US and India. However, the rules and eligibility criteria will vary from country to country.

The UK does not allow people to adopt from:

  • Cambodia
  • Guatemala
  • Nepal
  • Haiti
  • Ethiopia

We can provide advice if you think there should be an exception made for you as it may be possible to request one.

Some countries may not allow you to adopt a child from there or may have strict eligibility criteria that excludes you from adopting. For example, Haiti temporarily suspended intercountry adoption applications after the earthquake in January 2010 (the UK also restricts adoptions from Haiti).

What are the costs of international adoption?

Intercountry adoption is likely to be more expensive than adopting in the UK. The costs include any agency fees and travelling to and from the child’s home country. Unlike UK adoptions, there is no funding for families looking to adopt from overseas and you will need to pay for your assessment costs yourself. For example, The International Adoption Centre estimates that it costs around £10,000 to £15,000 to adopt from abroad. The child’s home country may also have charges to process the adoption paperwork.

There will also be your legal costs. At your initial meeting with us, we can provide advice about our flexible fee structures so that you can get an accurate idea of how much the adoption will cost. Please get in touch to request a tailored quote.

Get in touch with our international adoption solicitors

Contact our international adoption solicitors in London and across the UK to discuss your case with an expert member of our team. Alternatively, please contact our simple online enquiry form and someone will be in touch shortly.