Must be valid for duration of your stay (six months remaining validity recommended)
Not required for stays under 90 days
33 Nine Elms Lane
London, SW11 7US
Telephone: +(44)(20) 7499-9000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(44)(20) 7499-9000
Fax: +(44) (20) 7891-3845
U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh, Scotland
3 Regent Terrace,
Edinburgh EH7 5BW
Telephone: 013-1556-8315 / from the United States: 011 (44)(13) 1556-8315
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 020-7499-9000 / from the United States: 011 (44)(20) 7499-9000
Fax: 0131-557-6023 /from the United States: 011 (44) 131-557-6023
U.S. Consulate General Belfast, Northern Ireland
Danesfort House, 223 Stranmillis Road,
Belfast BT9 5GR
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Telephone: 028-9038-6100 / from the United States: 011 (44)(28) 9038-6100
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 01253-501106 / from the United States: 011 (44) 1253-501106
Fax: 028-9068-1301 / from the United States: 011 (44)(28) 9068-1301
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on the United Kingdom for information on U.S.-United Kingdom relations.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the United Kingdom.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible near-term attacks in Europe. All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. The UK Security Service, commonly known as MI5, publishes specific reasons for any changes in the threat level and recommended actions for the public via its UK threat levels website.
There is the potential for isolated violence related to the political situation in Northern Ireland. The Police Service of Northern Ireland assesses there is a continued threat of violence from dissident republicans in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets, and may involve the use of firearms and explosives. Tensions may be heightened during the summer marching season (April to August), particularly during the month of July (around the July 12 public holiday).
Avoid areas of demonstrations if possible, and be careful within the vicinity of demonstrations. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate to violence. Stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of your surroundings.
The phone number for police/fire/ambulance emergency services – the equivalent of 911 in the United States – is 999 in the United Kingdom and 112 in Gibraltar. You should also use this number to report security threats or suspicious packages.
Crime: The United Kingdom and Gibraltar generally have low crime rates.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 999 (United Kingdom) or 112 (Gibraltar) and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(44) (20) 7499-9000.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. A U.S. passport will not protect you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the United Kingdom.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.
While medical services are widely available, free medical care under the National Health System (NHS) is allowed only for UK residents, certain EU nationals, and some visa holders.
An NHS surcharge is assessed on certain visa applicants at the time of application. Tourists and short-term visitors will not be assessed the surcharge, but will be charged 150 percent of the cost of any medical treatment they receive from the NHS. Unpaid balances of £1,000 or more can result in being barred from return to the United Kingdom.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Certain prescriptions available in the United States are classed as narcotics in the United Kingdom and not available.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in the United Kingdom can differ significantly from those in the United States. UK penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are stiff and often result in prison sentences.
Many U.S. citizen pedestrians are injured, some fatally, every year in the United Kingdom, because they forget that oncoming traffic approaches from the opposite direction than in the United States. Exercise extra care when crossing streets; remain alert and look both ways before stepping into the street.
Public Transportation: Public transport in the United Kingdom is extensive.
See our Road Safety page for more information. For specific information concerning UK driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, refer to the UK Department for Transport website or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency website.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of United Kingdom’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to the United Kingdom should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https://homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal (select “broadcast warnings”).
The UK is a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website. Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to The UK’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields. The United Kingdom did not object to Article 10(a) of the Convention and does permit service via postal channels. For additional information see theHague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention. See also the UK’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Service Convention concerning England and Wales.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from the United Kingdom in the United States: See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
The United Kingdom is a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. A Central Authority for the United Kingdom for the Hague Evidence Convention is designated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence. See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on how to prepare a letter of request. Letters of Request should be prepared in duplicate. Requests for compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the U.K. Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels. See the UK Declarations and Reservations on the Hague Evidence Convention. See also the U.K. response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
Voluntary depositions of willing witnesses in civil and commercial matters are permitted regardless of the nationality of the witness. Oral depositions or depositions on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys at the U.S. Embassy or at another location such as a hotel or office, either on notice or pursuant to a commission. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. embassy directly.
The UK is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. The UK’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate UK public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in The UK, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities. To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.
The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1988.
For information concerning travel to the UK, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for the UK.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including the UK. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The UK has separate Hague Abduction Convention central authorities for England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man. The Central Authority for England and Wales is the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit. The Central Authority for Scotland is the European Union (EU) and International Law Branch. The Central Authority for Northern Ireland is the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service, Central Business Unit. The Central Authority for the Isle of Man is the Attorney General. All four central authorities have an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.
The UK Central Authority can be reached at:
England and Wales:
The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit
Office of the Official Solicitor
Victory House, 30-34 Kingsway
London WC2B 6EX
DX 141423 Bloomsbury 7
Tel: +44 (20) 3681-2608
Fax: +44 (20) 3681-2763
EU & International Law Branch
2W St. Andrew's House
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Tel: +44 (131) 244-4827
Fax: +44 (131) 244-4848
Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service
Central Business Unit
23-27 Oxford Street
Belfast BT1 3LA
Northern Ireland, UK
Tel: +44 (28) 9072-8808
Fax: +44 (28) 9072-8945
Isle of Man:
Attorney General's Chambers
3rd Floor, St. Mary's Court
Isle of Man IM1 1EU
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in the UK, parents may submit a Hague application to the USCA or the relevant central authority in the UK. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the relevant central authority in the UK, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or the UK central authorities. All four central authorities in the UK assign a solicitor (attorney) to represent parents or legal guardians making an application for return or access under the Hague Abduction Convention. For applications for return, all four central authorities provide pro bono (no fee) legal assistance. In access cases, applicants are responsible for legal fees if they do not qualify for legal aid. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, the UK. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in the UK. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Parents do not need to retain a private solicitor in the UK to submit a Hague Abduction Convention application for return or access. All four of the central authorities in the UK will assign a solicitor to represent parents making these applications. Parents may still retain a private solicitor to pursue their applications. However, if that solicitor is not included on the relevant central authority's list of contracting solicitors, the Central Authority will not open a case, and it may be difficult for the USCA to monitor the application.
The U.S. Embassy in London, UK, posts a list of attorneys in England and Wales, including those who specialize in family law.
The U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, posts a list of attorneys.
For information on attorneys in Northern Ireland, parents can contact the U.S. Consulate General in Belfast using the contact information listed on the Consulate's website.
For information on attorneys on the Isle of Man, parents can contact the Attorney General's Office by calling +44 (0) 1624 685452 or by consulting the lawyers list of Reunite International.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
All four central authorities in the UK encourage mediation for all Hague Abduction Convention applications, and both parties are given the opportunity to come to a mutual agreement before the application goes to court. In general, the parties' solicitors are responsible for facilitating mediation. The UK central authorities, except for the Isle of Man, do not play an active role in this process.
United Kingdom is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of United Kingdom.
The UK is generally not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. Most intercountry adoptions in the UK are by UK residents who adopt from other countries however it is possible to adopt a child from the UK through intercountry adoption. The information provided below is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from the UK, including adoptions of UK children by relatives in the United States. This information may also be useful to U.S. citizens living in the UK considering adoptions from the UK or other countries.
Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008, (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying United Kingdom as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from United Kingdom, or 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non- Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees. For more information, read about Hague Transition Cases. Please contact email@example.com with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from United Kingdom, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
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In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from United Kingdom must meet the following requirements of United Kingdom:
Because United Kingdom is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from United Kingdom must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of United Kingdom have determined that placement of the child within United Kingdom has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.
In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a child must meet the following requirements of United Kingdom:
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in United Kingdom before: 1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of United Kingdom has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
United Kingdom’s Central Adoption Authority
The Department for Education
The Department for Education is the UK Central Authority for the Hague Adoption Convention and is responsible for children’s social services, including adoption policy. However, each adoption case is handled by the relevant council or voluntary adoption agency in the area where the adoptive child is located. Contact information for the local councils and local adoption agencies is available on the Department for Education’s webpage A guide to intercountry adoption: Apply to adopt a child through your council, and Apply to adopt a child through a voluntary adoption agency.
Complete contact information for the Department for Education is listed below.
Note: Special transition provisions may apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read about Hague Transition Cases.
Because United Kingdom is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from United Kingdom must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider (That Has Been Authorized by United Kingdom’s Central Authority] to Operate in United Kingdom)
The first step in adopting a child from United Kingdom is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases (and that has been authorized by the Government of United Kingdom). A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Your primary provider is responsible for:
Learn more about Agency Accreditation.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, fingerprints, and a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements.
3. Apply to United Kingdom’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority
After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in United Kingdom as part of your adoption application. United Kingdom’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under United Kingdom’s law.
Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority
If both the United States and United Kingdom determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and United Kingdom’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in United Kingdom may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child. The adoption authority in United Kingdom will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child and must conform to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the central authority in United Kingdom. Learn more about this critical decision.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility
After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to enter and remain in the United States.
Submit an Immigrant Visa Application
After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in London responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from United Kingdom.
You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form. A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.
The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to United Kingdom’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from United Kingdom if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the United Kingdom’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.
Warning: Do not attempt to adopt (or obtain custody) of a child in United Kingdom before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.
Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.
5. Adopt the Child in United Kingdom (or Obtain Legal Custody of Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption of the Child)
Remember: Before you adopt (or obtain legal custody of) a child in United Kingdom, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption (or a grant of legal custody by United Kingdom for the purposes of emigration and adoption).
The process for finalizing the adoption (or obtaining legal custody) in United Kingdom generally includes the following:
6. Obtain a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home
Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
If you have finalized the adoption in United Kingdom, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.
If you have been granted custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.
Adoptive parents may obtain UK Certificates of Adoption, the equivalent of a birth certificate issued in an adopted person’s new name from the General Register Office, Adoptions Section, Room C202, Trafalgar Road, Southport PR8 2HH. The short form birth certificate will be sent approximately six weeks after the court hearing. If a long form birth certificate is required the adopting parent will need to request one from the General Register Office, at the following website: gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp.
United Kingdom Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from United Kingdom.
Information on how to obtain a U.K. child’s passport can be found on the following website: ips.gov.uk/passport/apply-child.asp.
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in London. After the adoption (or custody for purposes of emigration and adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.
Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please be sure to complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334 -0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.
Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least 24 hours. It is usually not possible to provide a visa on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in London before making final travel arrangements.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to United Kingdom
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa to travel abroad. Where required, visas are affixed to a traveler’s passport and allow him or her to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for United Kingdom, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in United Kingdom, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in United Kingdom, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
Once an adoption order has been granted, you are legally the child’s parent with the same rights and responsibilities as if they were born to you. Post-adoption reporting requirements will be determined by a UK local authority.
We urge you to comply with United Kingdom’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that United Kingdom’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of content.
If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in London, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.
Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800 petition process.
The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may have been out of substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry.
U.S. Embassy in United Kingdom
24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1K6AH, United Kingdom
Tel: (44) (0) 20 7499-9000
United Kingdom’s Adoption Authority
The Department for Education
Intercountry Adoption Team
Embassy of United Kingdom
The British Embassy
3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 588-7800
United Kingdom also has consulates in: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC)
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
|A-3 1||None||Multiple||24 Months|
|CW-1 11||None||Multiple||12 Months|
|CW-2 11||None||Multiple||12 Months|
|E-1 2||None||Multiple||60 Months|
|E-2 2||$105.00 A||Multiple||60 Months|
|E-2C 12||None||Multiple||12 Months|
|G-5 1||None||Multiple||24 Months|
|H-1B||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|H-1C||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|H-2A||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|H-2B||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|H-2R||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|H-3||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|H-4||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|J-1 4||None||Multiple||60 Months|
|J-2 4||None||Multiple||60 Months|
|L-2||$105.00 A||Multiple||60 Months|
|NATO 1-6 10||None||Multiple||60 Months|
|NATO-7 1||None||Multiple||24 Months|
|O-1||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|O-2||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|O-3||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|P-1||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|P-2||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|P-3||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|P-4||None||Multiple||60 Months 3|
|Q-1 6||None||Multiple||15 Months 3|
|Q-2 6||None||Multiple||36 Months|
|Q-3 6||None||Multiple||36 Months|
|S-5 7||None||One||1 Month|
|S-6 7||None||One||1 Month|
|S-7 7||None||One||1 Month|
|V-2||None||Multiple||120 Months 8|
|V-3||None||Multiple||120 Months 8|
Fees for E-2 and L-2 visas apply to all persons, including spouses and children holding passports issued by United Kingdom issuing authorities, and do not apply to those persons with passports issued by authorities of British colonies or dependent territories. Fee is charged on a per individual basis.
Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.
The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:
An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.
Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.
The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.
Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.
Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.
There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.
Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.
In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).
However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.
Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.
Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.
Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.
Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.
No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.
V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.
Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:
The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.
The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.
The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.
The publication "General Register Office Abstract of Arrangement Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the United Kingdom and Other Countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and in the Irish Republic" contains a great deal of pertinent information, and may prove of value as a reference to persons confronted with individual problems. It is published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 49 High Holborn, London WC1.
Available. Immigrant visa applicants who have resided in the United Kingdom for six months or more since the age of sixteen are required to obtain a Police Certificate from the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO). Applicants will find further guidance and application forms here.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 enables some criminal convictions to become 'spent', or ignored, after a set length of time from the date of conviction. After this period, with certain exceptions, an ex-offender is not normally obliged to mention their conviction when applying for a job or obtaining insurance, or when involved in criminal or civil proceedings. The "No Live Trace" or "Further Information Stepped Down" response indicates that information is available relating to a 'spent' conviction. A "No Trace" response indicates a clean police record.
Applicants presenting “No Live Trace” or “Further Information Stepped Down” police records are encouraged to request and submit their Subject Access Record to facilitate visa processing. Applicants are legally entitled to gain access to this information about themselves under Section 7 of the British Data Protection Act, 1998.
Available. Applicants may obtain court records (usually called "Memorandum of Conviction" in the United Kingdom), by writing to the Clerk of Court of the court (or courts) in which he or she was tried. This request must include as precise a date and place as possible.
Available. Military discharge certificates are issued to enlisted personnel, non-commissioned personnel, and petty-officer personnel of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.
Officer personnel are not issued discharge certificates, but are usually able to obtain a letter from the appropriate office listed below confirming their release from the Armed Forces.
Details of service in the Armed Forces may be obtained as follows:
|Army||MOD (M3) (A)
Army Records Office
Empress State Building
London SW6 1TR
|Air Force - Officers||
Ministry of Defence
|Air Force - Non-Commissioned Personnel||P. Man (3E1)
Royal Air Force Records Office
R.A.F. Personnel Management
231 Nestles Avenue Centre
|Royal Navy and Royal Marines||
Passport Extensions: As of June 16, 2014, the UK government has begun extending the expiration dates of certain passports by placing a stamp in the passport. This stamp is only being used when UK citizens seek to renew their passports outside of the UK. This stamp may be placed on any page and will extend the passport validity for one year. The Department views this extended passport as a valid travel document.
British Visitor's Passport: A short-form travel document issued by HMG to citizens of the United Kingdom intending to travel only to countries which do not require nonimmigrant visas for U.K. citizens. For this reason the document is not validated by HMG for travel to the United States, nor does it contain pages for the issuance of visas. Nevertheless, the document meets the requirements of Section 101(a)(30) of the INA, and may be presented by a U.K. citizen in connection with an application for a nonimmigrant visa at a consular office outside the United Kingdom. A nonimmigrant visa issued to the bearer of such a document should be placed on Form OF-232. [See 22 CFR 41.113(b)(2).]
Refugee Travel Documents: The new Refugee Travel Documents issued by the United Kingdom are machine-readable. The Travel Documents include the Certificate of Identity which is brown in color, a travel document for refugees under the 1951 Convention which is dark blue in color, and a travel document for refugees under the 1954 Convention which is red in color. All documents contain a disclaimer stating their issuance is "without prejudice to and in no way affects the holder's nationality." All list either the country of nationality or of birth, or both. The nationality of the bearer is listed as "Unknown". The documents will also indicate whether the bearer has "indefinite leave to remain" or the "right of abode."
Nonimmigrant visas issued to bearers of these travel documents should reflect the visa reciprocity schedule of his/her nationality or origin, even if the bearer has "indefinite leave to remain" in the United Kingdom.
Old style Refugee Travel Documents issued by the United Kingdom are still valid until they expire. These include a light brown travel document and a light blue Certificate of Identity. These documents also indicate whether the bearer has indefinite leave to remain or the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
Bearers of U.K. (British) Passports who are not U.K. Citizens: The following provides guidance on the various categories of British nationality and citizenship, and the respective reciprocal treatment to which each is entitled.
British citizens are identified in the passport by the words: "BRITISH CITIZEN." This is stamped in the old-style black U.K. passport and is noted on the nationality line on the new machine-readable passports. Only British citizens are entitled to travel on the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.
British subjects and British nationals are identified in U.K. passports as "British National Overseas Citizens," "British Overseas Citizens," "British Subjects," British Dependent Territories Citizens," and British Protected Persons." Bearers of these passports in these categories are not entitled to travel on the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Also, bearers of passports in these categories may or may not have the right of abode or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The document will indicate if the bearer has the right of abode or indefinite leave to remain.
British subjects (persons born in former British territory before 1949 who have no other nationality) and British nationals are entitled to British passports, but not necessarily to the right of abode in the United Kingdom. British subjects born in Ireland, however, do have the right of abode in the United Kingdom. Irish-born British subjects (bearers of British passports) and other British subjects and British nationals who have the right of abode (or indefinite leave to remain) in the United Kingdom should be granted the same reciprocity as U.K. citizens. British subjects and British nationals who do not have the right of abode or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom should be issued visas according to the reciprocity schedule of their country of birth, unless, like Hong Kong, there is a separate reciprocity schedule.
The following chart depicts the reciprocity for bearers of British passports:
|British Citizens||U.K. reciprocity, VWPP|
|Irish-born British subjects (Have right of abode in the U.K.)||U.K. reciprocity|
|Other British subjects and nationals who have leave to remain on right of abode||U.K. reciprocity|
|Other British subjects and nationals who do not have leave to remain or right of abode in the U.K.||Reciprocity of country of birth|
|Hong Kong-born British subjects and nationals (British passports)||Hong Kong reciprocity|
London, England (Embassy)
PSC 801 Box 6
FPO AE 09498-4006
24 Grosvenor Square
London W1A 1AE
Tel: 011-44- 20-7499-9000
Belfast, Northern Ireland (Consulate General)
PSC 801 Box 40
FPO AE 09498-4040
U.S. Consulate General Belfast
223 Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5GR
U.S. Embassy London provides immigrant visas for:
London also provides nonimmigrant visas for all of the above except for Northern Ireland which is served by Belfast.
The Northern Ireland area includes the countries of: