Who Can Be Adopted from United Kingdom

A student at Whitby Abbey

Because the UK is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from the UK must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of the UK have determined that placement of the child within the UK has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to UK requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.


Relinquishment or Abandonment: Birthparents or legal guardians must consent, except in cases where consent may be waived in accordance with UK law. See Adoption and Children Act 2002. A court ruling declaring adoptability is also required for a child to be eligible for adoption. The birth mother is not considered legally competent to give consent to her child’s placement for adoption until the child is six weeks old.

Age of Adoptive Child: A child can be adopted until age 19 provided that the appropriate UK authorities receive the application for adoption before the child reaches age 18.

Sibling Adoptions: There are no specific legal requirements. The local authority gives consideration to adoption of siblings together on a case by case basis depending on the needs of the children.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions: There are no specific legal requirements. The local authority assesses the ability of the prospective adoptive parents to care for a particular child’s needs during the adoption process.

Waiting Period or Foster Care: There is a mandatory 10-week pre-adoptive care period in each adoption case. Prospective adoptive parent(s) generally should plan to remain in the UK for the 10-week period.

In certain circumstances UK authorities may place the child with relatives who live abroad under a fostering arrangement prior to possible adoption. In these cases, if the child’s legal custodians wish to travel to the United States with the child then they may apply at the U.S. Embassy in London for a B-2 non-immigrant visa for the child to travel to the United States during the pre-adoptive care period.

NOTE: U.S. immigration law applies to the issuance of non-immigrant visas. There is no guarantee that the child will qualify for a non-immigrant visa, nor is it advisable for the child to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) during the pre-adoptive care period. In order to be eligible for a non-immigrant B-2 visa or travel under the Visa Waiver Program, the child must have a residence abroad that he or she has no intention of abandoning and cannot be an intending immigrant who is coming to live permanently in the United States. A person cannot be adopted if he or she is married.

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