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British citizenship
by adoption

The rules governing adoption in British nationality law are complex and you will need specialist
advice if claiming British nationality on these grounds.

Get specialist advice from our British citizenship consultants

If a child was adopted in the UK after 1 January 1983 and a parent was a British citizen at the time of the adoption, then that child is a British citizen.

Adoption outside of the UK

If a child was adopted outside the UK, then one needs to look at the natural (or biological) parents to determine whether the adopted child has a claim to British nationality. The nationality of the adopting parents will normally have no bearing on the nationality of the child, though again there are some exceptions.

If either adoptive parent had a UK-born parent, then the UK Ancestry visa is available to the adopted child (as long as they meet the other criteria of this visa class).

Children under 18

For as long as the adopted child is still under the age of 18, then that adopted child will be eligible for the same UK visas that a natural child will have rights to. Also, it is possible to apply for a discretionary registration for British nationality if it can be shown that it is in the child’s best interest to do so.


Contact our citizenship team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2139

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

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77/91 New Oxford Street
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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