Inter Country Adoption


This procedure applies to the assessment and approval of applicants resident in the UK who wish to adopt a child who is resident abroad.

For procedures in relation to the placement of a child resident in the UK with adopters resident overseas, see The Child's Journey - Placement for Adoption Procedure.


See National Minimum Standards, STANDARD 11: Intercountry - assessing prospective adopters

Overseas Adoption (Inter-Country Adoption) - Frequently Asked Questions / Advice

Adoption Support Fund

GOV.UK - Adopting a child from overseas


Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters Procedure

1. Introduction

Applications for overseas adoption can only be accepted from residents of the One Adoption West Yorkshire area.

Applicants will be expected to identify one country from which they wish to adopt and should have a good understanding of that country's culture and be able to demonstrate that understanding. Applicants will be expected to bring any adopted child up in the knowledge that they are adopted and to preserve and promote the child's cultural and ethnic origin.

There is a charge for the assessment process for applicants.

2. Responding to Requests for Information

Inter country adoption enquires will come via the One Adoption duty telephone:

  • If they live in the One Adoption WY areas of Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield, they should be provided with the phone number for Yorkshire Adoption Agency. YAA manage all enquiries and assessments regarding overseas adoption on behalf of One Adoption West Yorkshire. The phone number of Yorkshire Adoption Agency is 01302 638 337;
  • Yorkshire Adoption Agency manages all enquiries and assessments regarding overseas adoption on behalf of One Adoption West Yorkshire.

One Adoption West Yorkshire will have no further contact with the enquirer as the arrangements described above will ensure that the request for information, Initial Home Visit, Application, Preparation Training, Checks, Home Study, Panel and Approval will be undertaken by Yorkshire Adoption Agency or Adoption Matters North West respectively.

3. After Approval

After approval, the voluntary agency will inform One Adoption. A copy of the Prospective Adopter's Report (PAR) will be provided to One Adoption where upon an adopter file will be created on Mosaic.

The voluntary agency will ensure that the paperwork is sent to the IAC, Centre for Adoption. The IAC will then arrange for the relevant paperwork to be passed to the country the prospective adoptive family are planning to adopt from.

4. Matching

Where links are made, the voluntary adoption agency will arrange to share information with the prospective adoptive families prior to travelling to the country. For some countries it is necessary to be away from the UK for some months.

The voluntary agency will keep One Adoption updated on potential links, matches and adoptions. One Adoption would usually know before a child is being placed.

Some countries require a letter of undertaking from the local authority stating that they will supervise the placement and take responsibility for the child. The voluntary agency will inform One Adoption if this is required.

5. Post Placement Duties

The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013 enables Adoption Orders in countries listed in the Order to be recognised in the UK.

Children from Designated Countries

If an Adoption Order has been made in a Designated Country, it is recognised under UK law and the child's visa usually states 'for settlement'. The adoption service may have no further involvement other than providing or making arrangements for post-adoption services, if appropriate (see Adoption Support Services Procedure).

However it is usual that a child placed with a family, once present in the UK will require ongoing supervision (a few countries do not require this and will inform you). For example, visit from a LA social worker every 3 months for the first 2 years and then every 6 months in the 3rd year. There is a charge to the adopters for this service from One Adoption at 250 per visit. This is dependent on where the child was originally placed from.

Adoption Orders made in Designated Countries do not automatically result in the child acquiring British citizenship. An application for registration will usually need to be made; application forms can be obtained from the Nationality Directorate of the Home Office or from any British Diplomatic Post.

Children from Non-Designated Countries

The arrangements for the placement will vary from country to country; the prospective adopters will either adopt the child in the child's country or bring the child to the UK for the purposes of adoption in a UK Court.

If an Adoption Order has been made in a Non-Designated Country, the Order is not recognised in the UK.

The prospective adopters must seek clearance for the child to enter the UK from the nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission. If the Entry Clearance Officer is satisfied that the entry requirements have been met, a visa for a limited period, usually 1 year, will be issued.

The prospective adopters must notify the adoption service within 14 days of arriving in the UK with the child of their intention to apply for an Adoption Order (or their intention not to provide a home to the child). This notice should be acknowledged by the Adoption Service.

An adoption application cannot be made until the child has lived with the prospective adopters for 6 months or more. Where the prospective adopters have not complied with all the necessary regulations, the child must have lived with them for at least 12 months.

On receipt of the notification, the adoption service will arrange for a social worker from the resident LA to monitor the child's welfare by regular visits to the family home. A joint visit will be arranged between the LA social worker and a worker from OAWY to enable the sharing of adoption support services, ensuring the family are added to our mailing list etc.

The allocated worker must fulfil the qualifications and experience criteria set out in Adoption Panel Procedure, Reports to Adoption Panel.

An Adoption Case Record must also be set up for the child. Any information received from the relevant authority in the child's state of origin, the agency that approved the prospective adopters (if not the local authority), the prospective adopters, the Entry Clearance Officer and the DfE should be placed on the case record.

The allocated worker must send notification of the child's arrival in the UK to the prospective adopter's GP (including a written and up to date health report on the child), the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and (where the child is of school age) the education service for the area where the prospective adopter lives.

Visits to the child should be weekly until the first review.

The allocated worker should also arrange for the placement to be reviewed within 4 weeks of the receipt of notice of intention to adopt. Thereafter the requirement is for the local authority to visit and review not more than 3 months after the first review and thereafter every 6 months.

The purpose of the review is to enable the local authority to consider whether the child's needs are being met and if not, what advice and assistance may be provided. To do this, the review must consider the child's needs, welfare and development, and if any changes are required to meet the child's needs or assist their development; the arrangements for the provision of adoption support and whether there should be a re-assessment of the need for those services; and the need for further visits and reviews.

If the prospective adopters notify the local authority of their intention to move to the area of another local authority, the original local authority must notify the new authority of the child's name, sex, date and place of birth; each prospective adopter's name, sex, date and place of birth; the date the child entered the UK; the date of the notification to adopt; whether an adoption application has been made and if so, the stage of the proceedings; and any other relevant information.

The allocated social worker should advise prospective adopters of the most appropriate timing of their adoption application. It is likely that the prospective adopters will need to apply for an extension of the child's visa, which is usually straightforward if an adoption application has been made.

When the prospective adopters make their adoption application, the Court will notify the Adoption Service and request that a Court Report is produced supplied directly to the court.

If no adoption application has been filed within 2 years, a special review must be held. This review must consider the child's needs, welfare and development, and if any changes are required to meet the child's needs or assist their development; the arrangements for the exercise of Parental Responsibility in relation to the child; the terms of the child's entry clearance and the child's immigration status; the arrangements for the provision of adoption support and whether there should be a re-assessment of the need for those services; the arrangements for meeting the child's health care and educational needs; the reason why no adoption application has been made; and the options for the child's future permanence.

When an Adoption Order is made in the UK, it automatically confers British Citizenship on the child provided one of the adoptive applicants is a British citizen at the time the Adoption Order is made.

Where the adopters are not British citizens, they will need to seek clearance to allow the child to remain in the UK, on the same basis as them.

Occasionally a family may adopt a child whilst overseas prior to their being approved to adopt in the UK. It may be that the child has to remain in the country of origin until an assessment is carried out in the UK. Should they be approved, they may re-approach immigration services.

6. UK Child being Adopted Overseas

On rare occasions, it could be in the best interests of a child within the One Adoption area to be adopted by someone residing in another country. In such cases, One Adoption will need to identify an adoption agency in that country to undertake an assessment if appropriate, though matching panel would be in the UK. Immigration issues would have to be considered. Legal advice should always be sought.

7. Post Adoption Support

Families who have adopted from abroad are eligible for assessment for adoption support as set out in Adoption Support Service Procedure.

8. Placement Breakdowns

If, after the child is placed, the prospective adopters decide not to proceed with the adoption or an Adoption Order is refused or a Convention Adoption Order is annulled, the child's social worker must regard the child as a Child in Need and arrange for an assessment of their needs, in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children within 7 days, including whether it remains in the child's interests to be placed in the UK and/or to be placed with an alternative adoptive family.

The child's social worker must notify the Department for Education (DfE) of the outcome.

Where it is decided that it would not be in the child's best interests to remain in the UK, the child's social worker must notify the DfE. The DfE will notify the relevant overseas authority, which will make arrangements for the return of the child.

Where it is determined that it would be in the child's best interests to remain in the UK, the child's social worker must take the necessary steps to identify a suitable alternative placement in accordance with the The Child's Journey - Placement for Adoption Procedure and amend the child's immigration status.

Once an adoptive family has been identified, the child's social worker will notify the DfE. The DfE will advise the child's country of origin of the change.

9. Review of Prospective Adopter's Approval

The requirements for reviewing the approval of approved inter country adopters with no placement is the same as for agency adopters, i.e. every 12 months.

This requirement to review continues until (in relation to a convention country) the prospective adopters have received notification in writing from the central authority that an agreement under Article 17 has been made so the adoption may proceed or (in relation to a non-convention country) the prospective adopters have visited the child in their country and confirmed in writing that they wish to proceed with the adoption.