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Overseas adoption and British citizenship

Date:20 AUG 2019
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Immigration Barrister

The entitlement of adopted children to British citizenship is not a straightforward matter. In some circumstances adopted children are British citizens automatically from the date of their adoption. In others the Secretary of State for the Home Department may exercise discretion to register them as British citizens following an application. Finally adopted children who are not British automatically and who cannot be registered as British on the basis of their adoption have to apply for leave to enter and remain in the UK.

British citizenship by automatic acquisition under s.1(5) of the 1981 Act

Sections 1(5) and 1(5A) of the British Nationality Act 1981 state as follows:


  • any court in the United Kingdom or on or after the appointed day any court in a qualifying territory makes an order authorising the adoption of a minor who is not a British citizen; or
  • a minor who is not a British citizen is adopted under a Convention adoption

that minor shall if the requirements of subsection (5A) are met be a British citizen as from the date on which the order is made or the Convention...

Read the full article here.