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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.


South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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