Our client was a British citizen resident in the Philippines since 2005. He married in 2011 and adopted his wife’s son. The adoption was done in the Philippines. It took close to two years and was completed in 2013. It was supervised by the social services in the Philippines and was carried out with competence and due diligence. At the time we were instructed to register the boy as a British citizen he was 17 years of age. It was his only chance to apply for British nationality.
The difficulty of the case was that the adoption was not formally recognised in the UK.
The Philippines are listed in the Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013 but adoptions completed in the Philippines after 4 January 2014 are recognised in the UK. Our problem was that the adoption was completed six months earlier and was not recognised.
Our strategy was to persuade the Secretary of State to exercise discretion and accept the adoption as valid. Although the child had always lived in the Philippines and there was no intention of relocating to the UK, it was clearly in his best interests to be registered as a British citizen. We argued that the adoption was genuine and procedurally in line with the Hague convention. It would have been unfair to treat him less favourably than he would have been had the adoption been delayed by six months.
We are absolutely delighted that the application was successful and the boy has already received his first British passport. He can study and work in the UK if he wants to and he can pass British citizenship to his children in due course.