United Kingdom

Legislation and Central Authority 

UK signed the Hague Convention on Protection and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption on 12 january 1994, ratifies it on 27 February 2003 and it entered into force on 1 June 2003. 


Central Authorities under the Hague Convention in the UK are: 

  • For England – The Department for Education 
  • For Wales – National assembly of Wales
  • For Scotland – Scottish Executive 
  • For Northern Ireland – Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

The Central authorities issue the Certificate of Eligibility to Adopt and the Certificates under art.17 and art. 23 of the Hague Convention. 


Home study

You need to contact a local authority or a voluntary adoption agency which works on intercountry adoption. You will need to be assessed and approved as eligible and suitable to adopt. The law allows only local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies registered to deal with intercountry adoption to assess prospective adopters who want to adopt from abroad. Once you are approved for an adoptive parent, your agency will send your application to the Department of Education. After reviewing your application and documents, the Department of Education will issue the Certificate of Eligibility to Adopt.  


For more information about the international adoption procedure you can visit the website of the Department of Education ( 


Eligibility requirements 

In order to be able to adopt you need to meet the UK law requirements, i.e. you shall be 21 years old, you shall not have any criminal convictions and you shall have permanent residency in the UK for at least a year prior the submission of the application. 


Recognition of the adoption

A child adopted from a country, party to the Hague Convention by a citizen of the UK is automatically recognized in the country. 


Model table of the Hague Conference on private international law for the costs associated with international adoption


Please contact us if you have any questions or require additional information.