Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Immigration Corner | Obtaining a British passport for an adopted or fostered child

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2023 | 12:50 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

My child was adopted and I would like to find out how I would go about getting a British passport for him.

I am hoping that you can assist me.


Dear DE,

Persons may be able to obtain a British passport for their child, whether he/she is adopted or fostered.


To obtain the passport where the child was adopted in the United Kingdom, either adoptive parent would need to be British and usually living in the United Kingdom, which is ‘habitually resident’, at the time of adoption.

The parents would need to send their child’s adoption certificate showing the British parents’ details. The parent applying must also send one of the following:

• The British passport details for either parent;

• A United Kingdom birth certificate for either parent;

• A Home Office certificate of registration or naturalisation for either parent;

• The passport that was valid at the time of the child’s birth, for either parent.


Adopted before June 1, 2003

Persons should be aware that a child does not automatically qualify for a British passport – even if one of the parents is a British citizen.

The reason for this is that the adoption may be recognised for parental responsibility purposes, but not for nationality purposes, as this would depend on the country where the adoption took place.

Adopted on or after June 1, 2003

A child can get a British passport if either parent is British, and he/she was usually living (‘habitually resident’) in the UK when the child was adopted as well.

It should be noted that only adoptions conducted under the Hague Convention are recognised for nationality purposes. The adoptive parent must send the child’s full Hague Convention adoption certificate showing the parents’ details.

They must also send evidence of the British parent’s nationality status, such as a British passport issued before the date of adoption. He/she must put the passport number on the child’s application.

If the parent does not have a British passport, there are other documents that can be sent. A list of these can be found online.

With respect to children who are in care and/or being fostered, those persons must contact the Passport Adviceline if they want a passport for a child who’s in care.

It is important that persons seek help and contact the Passport Adviceline if they are not sure what documents they need, or if their circumstances are more complicated.

All the best.

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, the global president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: