The British Embassy cannot assist you with your adoption, it can however provide you with information to help you through the process.

You should also be aware from the outset that adopting a child in Russia is not a straightforward process. We strongly recommend that you take expert advice from a lawyer or a reputable UK adoption agency.

Russian Adoption Law Overview

Under Russia’s adoption law, local court judges in the area where the child lives approve adoptions. The judge’s decision is based on a review of the various documents in the case, and a closed court hearing which usually lasts about an hour. The law requires adopting parents to attend the hearing, and the overwhelming majority do so. Judges sometimes agree to waive one parent’s presence when there are compelling medical or personal reasons for the request. In a few regions, the parents may be represented at the hearing by an adoption agency employee. Most parents describe their court hearing as thorough, professional and friendly. Many describe it as one of the most moving and memorable elements of their adoption experience.

Although the judge’s decision is issued the day of the hearing, it does not take effect for ten calendar days, during which time it can be appealed.

You do not have to stay in Russia during this 10 day period. One or both of you can return two weeks later to obtain your child’s documents, bring him or her to Moscow for the medical examination, to begin the visa application process, and escort him or her to the UK. You may wish to refer to the following website for more information regarding the visa application process and estimated consideration times: www.ukvisas.gov.uk / www.ukvac-ru.com . Some parents designate an escort to complete the paperwork, including accompanying the child to any required interviews. However, some regions require that the application for the child’s Russian passport be submitted by a parent, in person. Check carefully with your agency before making a decision on how you want to handle this.

What you must do in the UK before proceeding with any adoption:
The adoption of Children from Overseas regulations 2001 aims to deter people from bringing children into the UK for the purpose of adoption unless they have first been assessed and approved by a local council or a voluntary adoption agency (VAA) and had their suitability endorsed by the Secretary of State. In order to avoid committing an offence, the Regulations require prospective adoptive parents in England and Wales, to have first:

Applied for their suitability to adopt a child to be approved by a local council or VAA
Complied with the assessment process
Received confirmation, in writing of the agency’s decision to approve them as suitable to be an adoptive parent
Received written notification from the Secretary of State that he is prepared to issue a certificate of eligibility

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