Facile and robust technologies for efficient removal of uranium from effluent and groundwater is important for sustainability and environmental protection. Herein, we describe engineered surface fluorinated nano-hematite nanoparticles (F-α-Fe2O3) for the effective removal of uranium from aqueous media. The sorption of U(VI) from aqueous solution is investigated as a function of pH, contact time and concentration using batch technique. The adsorption capacity (qm) is found to be 79 mg/g using Langmuir adsorption isotherm within 60 min at pH 5. The isothermal data shows better fit with Langmuir than Freundlich equations and follow the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. The interactions between adsorbents and adsorbates are accounted for by the Temkin isotherm model. The surface charge of F-α-Fe2O3 is evaluated by the zeta potential curve. The results are best in terms of adsorption capacity and kinetics for hematite/modified hematite material. The results are significant for the application of surface fluorinated hematite in U(VI) removal from drinking water. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd.