IMMIGRATION CORNER - Applying for my adopted child

Published: Tuesday | December 24, 2013 Comments 0
John S. Bassie
John S. Bassie

 Dear Mr Bassie,

My child is adopted and I would like her to join me in England. I am aware that there are some additional requirements with respect to an application for a child's settlement in the United Kingdom (UK). I would appreciate it if you could advise what these are.

- OT

Dear OT,

There are some additional requirements in making an application for a child to join a parent in the UK if that child has been adopted by the parent who is making the application.

In addition to the rules for children joining their parent(s) in the UK the following additional rules also apply. A person can take his or her adopted child to the UK if he or she can show that the child was adopted when both parents lived together abroad or the single parent lived abroad or when either parent was settled in the UK.

It is also necessary to show that the adopted child has the same rights as any of the parents' other children. Also, the child should have been adopted because their original parents could not care for them, and there has been a genuine transfer of parental responsibility from the original parent(s) to the person(s) who adopted the child. Furthermore, the child should have broken all ties with their original family; and it must not be seen that the child was adopted just for the purpose of making it easier for him or her to enter the UK, and the child must obtain a visa before he or she travels to the UK.

foreign adoption order

A foreign adoption order will only be recognised usually in the UK if it was made in a country on the 'designated list' - this means a country that is included in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973. Anyone seeking to find out if the order was made in a country that is on the list can find the current designated list on the UK's Department for Children, Schools and Families website.

A child who was adopted in a country on the designated list would normally be given permission to stay in the UK permanently if both or either of the child's parents are settled there; or if both or either of the parents have permission to settle there permanently, or if both are entering the country together with the child.

Another scenario to be considered could be if the parent has permission to settle there permanently and is entering the country with the child, and the other parent is already settled there; or if that parent has sole responsibility for the child. If the child was adopted in a country on the designated list and is going to the UK with a parent who has temporary permission to stay there, also known as 'limited leave to remain', that child will be allowed to stay there for up to 12 months.

If the adoption order was made in a country that is not on the designated list, the child can apply to go to the UK to be adopted through the courts there. In this case, if successful, he or she will initially be allowed to stay there for up to two years.

A child will not automatically become a British citizen, unless he or she was adopted through the UK courts and at least one of the adoptive parents was a British citizen when the adoption order was made.

If the child is going to the UK so that he or she can be adopted by that person there under the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption that child must be joining one or two prospective parents who are both habitually resident in the UK and who are the sole occupiers of accommodation where they can support and house the child without help from public funds.

That child must also be the subject of an agreement made under the Hague Convention; and have been entrusted to the prospective parents by the authorities of the country from which that child is travelling from; and the child must be under the age of 18 years.

The parent should recognise that there may be other immigration rules on inter-country adoption that may need to be adhered to, and there may be other requirements that must be met before that parent would be allowed to adopt a child from another country.

Other information pertaining to adoption laws and procedures can be found on the Department for Children, Schools and Families website. The parent is also advised to read the more detailed guidance about inter-country adoption and the immigration rules, which can be downloaded from the same website.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK).

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