Abstract The sorption of U(VI) by N, N-dibutyl, N′-benzoylthiourea (DBBT) impregnated resin has been studied. DBBT impregnated resin was prepared by direct adsorption of chelating ligand onto macroporous support, Amberlite XAD-16. The adsorption of DBBT on the macroporous support is shown by FTIR spectroscopy to be the result of only weak chelating ligand-support interactions. Parameters such as the pH effect on the sorption of uranium, the sorption capacity of the impregnated resin, the stripping of uranium and the effect of coexisting ions were investigated by batch experiments. The results demonstrated that uranium(VI) ions, at pH 4.5–7 could be sorbed completely using 0.1 g Amberlite XAD-16 resin loaded with DBBT. The sorption capacity of the impregnated resin is 0.90 mmol uranium(VI) g −1. Quantitative recovery of U(VI) is achieved by stripping with 0.1 M HNO 3. The method was applied to the determination of uranium in synthetic samples. The precision of the method was 2.4 RSD% in a concentration of 1.20 μg ml −1 for ten replicate analysis.