Children adopted abroad by parents who are British citizens – section 3(1) application
This page explains how a child adopted abroad by parents who are British citizens can meet the requirements to be registered as a British citizen.
Applications for registration will be considered at our discretion under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:
- the adoption took place in a territory named in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973; and
- at least one of the adoptive parents is a British citizen otherwise than by descent; and
- both adoptive parents have given their formal consent to the registration. There may be cases when it is not necessary for both parents to give consent. These cases are detailed on the completing the application form page; and
- if the child is aged 10 or over they are of good character; and
- we are satisfied that the relevant adoption laws have been followed in both the country where the adoption took place and the country where the child and parents will be living; and
- we are satisfied that the adoption was not arranged simply to allow the child's entry into the United Kingdom.
Before making an application, you should make sure the child meets as many of the criteria above as possible and provide all the evidence you have to support the child's claim. Full details of the evidence we require can be found on the supporting documents page.
A foreign adoption order will only be recognised in the United Kingdom if it was made in a 'designated country'. This means a country that is included in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973. The current list of these countries can be found on the website of the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
British citizens have the right to live in the United Kingdom permanently and are free to leave and re-enter the country at any time. British citizenship is given to people who have a close connection with the United Kingdom, which includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. A close connection may be by birth, adoption, descent, marriage, registration or naturalisation.
British citizenship gained in your own right (not by descent through your parents or grandparents). This type of citizenship can be passed on to your own children. (See also Descent.)