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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 22 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Giving Birth To A Child In The Uk

Prior to 1 January 1983 almost any child born in the UK automatically acquired British citizenship. Since then the rules have changed. A child born today in the UK will only have British citizenship if at least one of their parents is a British citizen or was living in the UK with permission to stay here permanently.

Children Born to Citizens of the European Economic Area

Children born in the UK to citizens of the European Economic Area may be British citizens depending on when they were born. Children born:
  • From 1 January 1983 to 2 October 2000 will be British citizens if either parent was living in the UK at the time;
  • From 2 October 2000 to 29 April 2006 will only be British citizens if at least one parent had obtained indefinite leave to remain or the unconditional right to permanent residence in the UK prior to the birth;
  • On or after 30 April 2006 will be British citizens if at least one parent lived in the UK continuously for five years pursuant to their rights under European law prior to the birth.
Similar rules apply to children of Swiss citizens born in the UK from 1 June 2002 onwards.

Registering Children as Citizens

In some circumstances the parents of children under the age of 18 may be able to register their children as British citizens using form MN1. In some cases this will be an automatic right and in others it will be up to the discretion of the UK Border Agency. The following categories of children may be entitled to be registered as British citizens:
  • Children born to parents who subsequently acquire rights of permanent residence or British citizenship are entitled to be registered as British citizens;
  • Children who were born in the UK after 1 January 1983 and lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life will be entitled to register as British citizens;
  • A child born prior to 1 July 2006 whose British father was not married to the child’s foreign national mother may be entitled to register as a British citizen.
  • Children born in the UK to parents who are neither British citizens nor permanent residents may be entitled to register as citizens if the parents can satisfy the authorities that there is a good reason why the child should be registered as a British citizen.

Children Born Abroad to British Citizens

The rules on whether a child born abroad to parents who are British citizens are complex. Whether such a child will be entitled to citizenship will depend on when the child was born and the type of citizenship that the parents have. In cases where the child’s parents acquired citizenship as a result of their own parents’ citizenship, rather than in their own right, they may not be able to pass their citizenship on to a child born outside of the UK.

Hospital Treatment in the UK

Full-time residents of the UK are entitled to free medical treatment from a General Practitioner (GP) or in a National Health Service (NHS) hospital. This would include pre- and neo-natal treatment. Visitors from the European Economic Area may be entitled to free treatment under European law. Some foreign nationals who are temporarily in the UK may be able to register with a GP and receive free treatment but it is usually up to the individual GP whether they agree to this.

Anyone in the UK is entitled to receive free emergency health care in the Accident and Emergency department of an NHS hospital. Family planning services are also available for free to anyone.

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@Mk what is/was the nationality of your father? Does/Did your mother hold another nationality? You and your children may be able to obtain any one of these other nationalities. The British government will only consider you and your children stateless if you are not entitled to be the national of any other country in the world. Also if you are not the national of an EU country and are living in the UK without the right visa then you may be in the UK illegally and subject to deportation along with your children. You may be able to apply for leave to remain through FLR (FP) once your child has been in the UK for 7 years. Given the complexity your situation I would suggest you see an immigration lawyer if you can.
TJ. - 22-Feb-17 @ 4:44 PM
@JW if you were a British citizen at the time of your child's birth in the UK and you are the biological father then the child is automatically a British citizen. If you and your partner were not married at the time of the child's birth more proof will have to be provided that you are the father and not just the birth certificate. A DNA test is more recommended.
TJ. - 22-Feb-17 @ 4:20 PM
@Ritata you need to obtain permanent residency before the child is born if you want your child to automatically qualify for a British passport. In light of Brexit it would only make sense that all EU citizens who have been in the UK for the required residency period and excercising EU treaty rights to apply for permanent residency.
TJ. - 22-Feb-17 @ 4:12 PM
Hi. This is my story " i came in uk from France in 2009 at the age of 18 year oldas a French national. I worked and study I never taught of applying for residents permit.I gave birth to my firs child got a British birth certificate. I wanted to travel with him to France then they say he need a I'D or Passport I applied for British passport they refused because it wasn't up to 6 years I was living in uk then I applied for French passport wish was granted to him. But the problem was in my big suprise that my birth certificate wasn't REGISTERED PROPLY in the French system and tge persone in charge of registration of birth certificate, Maria get ect..say to me to bring some documents wich I did then they will help me to do it.In my big suprise in 2013 they asked me to come over there with my I'D and Pasport. They took it from me and said to me to leave the consulate am no longer consider as a French citizens.In 2012 the tribunal of Paris took a decision without myknowledgethat they wrongly give me the nationality trough my mother in 1997. I have 2 children born in Uk.I live here for the past 9 year now. They took my first child French nationality as well.But he will be 6 year this year.I want to know if I can apply for British citizen for him . Or can i apply for myself residents permit.Ammentally going made andstress. The social services put us in sharing accommodationwe became homeless due to my situation. Am without nationality and ID . PLEASE I REALLY NEED HELP OR ADVICE PLEASE PLEASE. THANK YOU
Mk - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:38 PM
Ritata - Your Question:
Hi I'm Hungarian (EU) working in the UK since 2005 Feb. Got maried couple of years ago and expecting our child for end of June. Would you be able to advise if I need permanent residency to secure our life in the UK? Would our child automatically get the British passport?Many thanks for your help

Our Response:
Unless either you or your wife are British citizens or have permanent residency, you cannot register your child as a British citizen. Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know about applying to be a UK resident/citizen.
AboutImmigration - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:35 PM
Hello, Today my Partner said that our daughter of one year is not a British citizen... I'm British father to my daughter who was born here In the UK and the mother is polish who has been living here almost 3 years I thought that my daughter had an automatic right as a British citizen but it seems maybe I'm wrong please I would like to know if she is because we plan on her growing up here in Britain
JW - 20-Feb-17 @ 9:43 PM
Hi I'm Hungarian (EU) working in the UK since 2005 Feb.Got maried couple of years ago and expecting our child for end of June. Would you be able to advise if I need permanent residency to secure our life in the UK? Would our child automatically get the British passport? Many thanks for your help
Ritata - 20-Feb-17 @ 5:19 PM
Hi sir a Nigeria leaving in UK my Child is British but am not what will I do to get my stay
Tonero - 20-Feb-17 @ 5:09 PM
@Claudette if you or your partner have not received permanent residency in the UK then your child will not be entitled to a British passport. You need to first apply for permanent residency and then you may be able to apply to register your child as a British citizen and then after that apply for a British passport.
TJ. - 20-Feb-17 @ 4:34 PM
Hi my husband and i are from Romania and we are here for almost 9years working and paying our taxes and bills.i gave birth last year in june and i need to know is my baby entitled to a British passport?what do i need?
Claudette - 20-Feb-17 @ 10:10 AM
Dear Advisors. I am originaly from Lithuania. I came to UK 2011 June 14 My child was born in UK 2014. and Childs mother is British. Now we split and child is living with me. I been working in UK only 15 months. I been refused to get income support. What benefits I am entitled and where is best to go for advice? Job centre told me I haven't worked in UK for 5 years continuously so I cant get income support. I get child tax credits and struggle to live on 256 pounds a month. What do I do. Fortunately I live at my expartners mothers house but she wont keep me long if I only get such little income and can't pay rent. Help please with advice. Thanks a lot.
Ross - 19-Feb-17 @ 2:40 PM
@Shary you need to apply to extend the visa of your first child before it expires. As for the second child you need to obtain a Pakistani passport for him and ensure you apply for a visa for him also at the earliest time possible.
TJ. - 19-Feb-17 @ 12:31 PM
Dear adivsors I am in UK since july 2010, Currently on Tier1 entrepreneur, 1st extension is due in Sep 2017, One of my child born here but went back to home country and came back after getting UK VISA from Pakistan. Q#1: Am I required to apply his visa with me & my spouse (visa) or can he stay without extended visa ? I av another new born here, he only have Uk birth certificate (no Pakistani passport etc) and he never travelled out of UK. Q#2: Should I apply for his visa when going for visa extension in sep 2017 ? Or can he live here without visa ? As until 2019 we as a family don't av plan to go out of UK until we get ILR. Please adives. Best regards
Shary - 18-Feb-17 @ 5:38 PM
Many thanks for your help with clarifying and prompt reply TJ.
Bondi - 18-Feb-17 @ 10:23 AM
@Anu your child is entitled to stay in the UK with you only until the expiry of your visa if your husband has not been granted asylum by the time the child is born. Please note that you will have to apply for a Srilankan passport for the child and subsequently apply for the appropriate visa for the child to remain with you.
TJ. - 17-Feb-17 @ 4:18 PM
@Bondi if you had the ILR at the time of your child's birth, the child is automatically entitled to British citizenship and may apply for a passport directly.
TJ. - 17-Feb-17 @ 4:14 PM
@Malka it is unlikely that you are entitled to British citizenship unless one of your parents were settled in the UK at the time of your birth.
TJ. - 17-Feb-17 @ 4:12 PM
@Val1975 your child is not automatically a British citizen. You have to register the child as a British citizen before they can obtain a passport.
TJ. - 17-Feb-17 @ 4:09 PM
Hi Me and my husband Srilankan citizen and I'm now conceive and I'm in student visa my husband is asylum seeker so My baby can stay with us until we are here ?
Anu - 17-Feb-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi there, Wanted to confirm if I need to complete the MN1 form for my newborn bb who was born in London recently in Jan 2017. I am an Australian citizen but have ILR (permanent residence). My husband is German but does not have ILR. We have been settled in the UK for over 10 years and married. Looking at the Gov.uk site, my bb does not need to register/obtain naturalisation due to my status as a permanent resident. So I would not need to comment the MN1 form and can apply for a passport directly. Is this correct please? Many thanks
Bondi - 17-Feb-17 @ 12:17 PM
Hi I live in uk from 2009,in may 2016 we received permanent residence,have a daughter born in uk in 2015,I mention I m Romanian and from the entrance in uk i work as self employed,my question is: Can apply for British passport for my daughter?
Val1975 - 17-Feb-17 @ 12:00 PM
Sjwalks - Your Question:
I am a British citizen, my parents are British citizens. My husband is Egyptian. He does not have UK residency. I am due to give birth soon. I will give birth in the UK. Does this mean that my child will acquire British citizenship automatically due to the fact that I am a British citizen and he will be born in the U.K.?

Our Response:
Yes, if you are a British citizen and you are giving birth here in the UK, your child is automatically considered a British citizen.
AboutImmigration - 17-Feb-17 @ 10:00 AM
Hi, I'm a Scotland-born to Sudanese parents, born in 1986, my father was studying Law at the University of Edinburgh. We couldn't get a hold of his passport to find out his visa status at the time of my birth. I left the UK at 2 years of age... and of course asking about citizenship eligibility possibility :). Thanks guys
Malka - 17-Feb-17 @ 7:35 AM
Hi I received my pemanent residence in may 2016,my daughter is born in uk in March 2015,is british citizen? or I have to register via form MN1 Thank you
Val1975 - 17-Feb-17 @ 1:35 AM
@ami05 you and your child are subject to deportation for as long as you are an overstayer. If your child successfully stays in the UK for 7 years you may be able to apply under FLR (FP). If the child stays in the UK for 10 years or more you may be able to apply for British citizenship for the child. Please note that the 'good character' requirement includes not breaking any UK immigration laws for at least 10 years prior to your application.
TJ. - 16-Feb-17 @ 3:09 PM
@Sjwalks your child will automatically be a British citizen if born in the UK.
TJ. - 16-Feb-17 @ 2:40 PM
I am a British citizen, my parents are British citizens. My husband is Egyptian. He does not have UK residency. I am due to give birth soon. I will give birth in the UK. Does this mean that my child will acquire British citizenship automatically due to the fact that I am a British citizen and he will be born in the U.K.?
Sjwalks - 16-Feb-17 @ 11:37 AM
TJ. - Your Question:
@Alka your child born in the UK is not automatically eligible for British citizenship unless you or your husband were permanent residents at the time of her birth.

Our Response:
Thank you for your helpful replies to our readers' questions.
AboutImmigration - 15-Feb-17 @ 11:51 AM
hi has a child born in the UK entered UK legally if born to overstayer? has a question in FLR(FP) and little confused. thank you.
ami05 - 14-Feb-17 @ 4:17 PM
@Alka your child born in the UK is not automatically eligible for British citizenship unless you or your husband were permanent residents at the time of her birth.
TJ. - 14-Feb-17 @ 1:34 PM
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