A guide to intercountry adoption for UK residents

This publication was withdrawn on

This document is now obsolete. The current guidance about adopting children from overseas is available on GOV.UK.

This leaflet provides an overview of the process for intercountry adoption where children are brought into the UK. It should not be taken as a comprehensive guide to the relevant legislation.


A guide to intercountry adoption for UK residents 2011


An intercountry adoption is an adoption of a child who is habitually resident in one country by an individual or couple who are habitually resident in another country.

Anyone considering intercountry adoption should seek advice from their local authority adoption team or from a voluntary adoption agency that is registered to work on intercountry adoption; they should also take independent legal advice.


  • What is intercountry adoption?
  • What does UK law require?
  • Types of intercountry adoption
  • Prospective adopters in England and Wales
  • Prospective adopters in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • The role of the DfE and other bodies
  • A brief overview of the process
  • Further information