Hoping somebody here has insight to offer.

I did email the UK Home office but their response was to effectively point me to their website - or an immigration consultant.

Thank you for your further enquiry dated 18th October about citizenship for an adopted child.

Directing you to the guidance material is the only advice we can give you. We cannot tell you which form, if any, you need to use. If you need any further help you should seek independent immigration advice. Immigration advisers can help you with immigration matters, including completion of forms and representing you at a tribunal.

My wife is a natural born British Citizen. We got married in New Zealand, and have lived here since that time with a 6 year period living in the USA

My daughter was born in New Jersey. We adopted her in 2005

When I look on the citizenship website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-citizenship-british-parent/born-between-1983-and-2006

It does not identify specifically what the citizenship status is for those who were adopted, and there appears to be a requirement that my daughter will need to apply for a grant of citizenship, and might receive it "other than by descent" in so doing. I found this from the information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_nationality_law#British_citizenship_by_adoption

The Home office gave a link to search for immigration consultants, but I couldn't find any in New Zealand.

I am hoping someone may have some insight to offer as to how I apply to the Home Office for my daughter to receive citizenship. We want her to have those choices in life that having triple citizenship would offer.

  • Where are you currently resident (the question implies, but does not state, New Zealand), where did the adoption take place, and how old is your daughter now?
    – MadHatter
    Oct 19, 2018 at 10:01
  • "and the adopters are habitually resident in the UK on that date." Sounds like your wikipedia research doesn't apply to you. Perhaps this can help, specifically "3. Other adoptions". I believe both the USA and New Zealand are 'designated countries'. Btw, don't expect the Home Office to help, sadly it's their job to be unhelpful.
    – Nathan
    Oct 19, 2018 at 10:02
  • @NathanCooper about 2 paragraphs after that is "In all other cases, an application for registration of the child as a British citizen must be made before the child is 18. Usually this is granted provided the Secretary of State accepts the adoption is bona fide and the child would have been a British citizen if the natural child of the adopters. <snip> This is the standard method for children adopted by British citizens permanently resident overseas to acquire British citizenship." So I'm reasonably confident it is possible - I just don't know how! :-)
    – kiltannen
    Oct 19, 2018 at 10:09
  • It's clear this is not a question about travel. I've flagged it for migration to Expatriates Oct 19, 2018 at 10:31
  • @CannonFodder I wondered if this would be better suited to that site. I am happy to move it there, can I do it or does a Mod need to move it?
    – kiltannen
    Oct 19, 2018 at 10:34

2 Answers 2


It has been quite some time since I found the answer to this out - it took HOURS of almost randomly clicking on links on the Home Office website - but I finally found this page here: Guidance on how adopted children can become British

This seems to say the process is quite straightforward - BUT is pretty expensive at £1012 (as of Apr 2019) The fees are listed here: fees for citizenship applications

Plus a fee of £10 for the Biometric enrollment

Plus a fee of £80 for the Citizenship ceremony if the child is over 18 when it is finally approved...

The correct form and it's guide can be found here: MN1

An electronic copy of the form can be found here: eMN1

There is a fairly short list of designated countries this is possible for which can be found here: designated countries

An additional piece of information for those completing this process from within New Zealand. You will need to complete a Biometric Enrollment - and there is a centre available within New Zealand (In Auckland it is in Manukau). Details about how to do that are contained in the UK Visa Application process

EDIT: add in the checklist of required documents You will need to supply the majority of these - prepare early! some of them may take some time to obtain!

The passport issued by The Applicant’s country of Citizenship

Proof of The Applicant’s mother parental responsibility for The Applicant

Proof of The Applicant’s father parental responsibility for The Applicant

Evidence of The Applicant’s relevant adopted parent's claim to British citizenship otherwise than by decent

If The Applicant told us that their parent is settled in the UK then you must provide us evidence of their settled status. This could include a BRP, a letter from the Home Office, an endorsement in their passport or another document certifying permanent residence

Proof of which country The Applicant’s adoptive parents were habitually resident in (meaning the place where they normally live) at the time of the adoption. This can be evidence such as mortgage or rental agreements and employers’ letters.

The Applicant’s birth certificate (showing details of both parents) or certificate of abandonment

A letter of consent from The Applicant’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) The letter must:

  • give their full names and addresses
  • say that they agree to let you apply for a British citizenship

If you have more than one parent or legal guardian, they must both sign the letter and confirm that they agree to what it says. If you only have one parent or legal guardian they must explain why the other parent is unable to consent e.g. whereabouts unknown, no contact since MM/YYYY.

A contemporary report from the overseas equivalent of the social services department which details:

  • The Applicant’s parentage and history
  • The degree of personal contact with the original parent(s)
  • The reasons for adoption
  • The date, reason and arrangements for the child’s entry into the institution or foster placement
  • When, how and why The Applicant came to be offered to the adoptive parent(s)

The Applicant’s parents' marriage certificate

Two referee declarations for The Applicant (one of these should be a person holding a current British Passport)

If The Applicant has a passport then provide this with your application. If The Applicant does not have a passport then you must provide another officially-issued identity document. This could include an official travel document or national identity card

The Applicant’s adoption order

Consent of The Applicant’s adoptive parent(s) to the registration (and in surrogacy cases, a notarised statement of consent from the surrogate mother)

If The Applicant told us that their parent is a British citizen then you must provide us evidence of their citizenship. This could include their British passport, a certificate of citizenship or their birth certificate.

One of the following:

  • Where The Applicant’s parents are habitually resident in the UK provide confirmation from the DfES (for those in England and Wales), from the Scottish Executive (for those parents in Scotland) or from the Department of Health Social Security and Public Safety – Northern Ireland (for those resident in Northern Ireland) that they have been assessed and approved as eligible to become an adoptive parent. If there are any doubts about the validity of the documentation provided, the DfES can be contacted for confirmation that the parents have had the relevant approval (DfES hold details on all approvals not just those in England and Wales)
  • Where The Applicant’s parents are not habitually resident in the UK provide confirmation from the equivalent of the Social Services Department in their country of residence that all relevant adoption laws have been complied with

Second Edit: Outcome! I am pleased to report that my daughter is now a British Citizen!

  • 1
    Four figure sums seem about the going rate in the UK. Apr 9, 2019 at 7:05
  • She is suddenly very interested in Euro 2020 and has started singing British songs. She's always been a massive One Direction & Zayn Malik fan - so that is not new but is certainly more pronounced. I guess a warning is in order for anyone going down this road, Your child may become very Brit-fixated for some time...
    – kiltannen
    Jul 5, 2021 at 6:33

Essentially what you need to do is register the overseas adoption in the UK. I had researched this previously as I am a British citizen and am interested in adopting in the country I reside.


Also, you may be interested to know that the child will be a citizen "otherwise than by descent" so they will be able to pass their British citizenship onto their children, which any natural children you had would not be able to do without living in the UK for a while.

  • Thank you for this. It would seem this would help if we were habitually resident in the UK at the time of the adoption. Unfortunately we were not. This means we will need to go down a different road - I will post some details about that a bit later on (Just a bit busy today but may do so tomorrow). In essence - It is possible to apply for citizenship - and this is virtually certain to be accepted. I found out how a few hours after posting my question...
    – kiltannen
    Oct 19, 2018 at 20:15
  • Inheritance doesn't have to happen inside the UK so long as the person passing on citizenship is "otherwise than by descent"
    – Will
    Oct 24, 2018 at 17:36

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