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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Feb 2019 | 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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@tat - It should be easy for you to apply for the EU settlement scheme based on your residency in the UK. Unfortunately since you are not married to your son's father he will need to apply for British citizenship first using the UKF form before he can apply for a UK passport. Considering how expensive this process is, it might be cheaper for you to get married.
TJ. - 21-Feb-19 @ 9:23 AM
Hooray, possible answers. Hi. I am Danish, have lived in the UK since 1994 with no paperwork. Tax payer since 2001. My partner is British national, co-habiting since 2001, we are not married. Our son was born 2005 and has a Danish passport. I want to apply for settlement scheme for me, and UK passport for our son. Easy peasy??
tat - 20-Feb-19 @ 2:07 PM
@Kike - Your child can apply for British citizenship using the MN1 form
TJ. - 18-Feb-19 @ 10:44 AM
Hi I would like to ask about giving birth in Uk. I am holding British Citizenship passport but I live in Hong Kong since birth. Husband only has Hong Kong passport. If I come over to UK and give birth, can my child have UK passport? I think I will come to UK when the baby is 6 month old in my tummy. Is there any procedures that I need to apply when I come to UK for settling down? Thanks for your advice.
Banduc320 - 17-Feb-19 @ 7:22 AM
Hi everyone, We are EU parents living and working in the UK since 2015. We had a child who has born in Edinburgh in 2017. at the time of her birth,we had not the permanent resident or leave to reamain in UK. Our main intention is to stay in the UK for many years so we recently applied for Pre-Settled Status under the EU settlement Scheme and it was succesful. our concern is about:Has our daughter the posibility to get the british citizenchip soon?many thanks in any help and information. Cheers.
kike - 15-Feb-19 @ 9:47 PM
@Ra - Your son is most probably entitled to a British passport however your wife will need to apply for settled status first in order to confirm that she was a Permanent Resident in the UK before your son was born. This confirmation will be required as part of you son's passport application.
TJ. - 13-Feb-19 @ 10:57 AM
Hi, am married to a Swiss citizen and she has been living in the uk since 2012. We married for 4+ years now and just had a son. Is our son entitled for British passport? Thanks. Appreciate the help
Ra - 12-Feb-19 @ 2:27 PM
@Marcus - She can apply for a family visa as a fiancee which will entitle to live and work in the UK. If you meet the minimum income requirements of £18,600 she can become a permanent resident and apply for British citizenship after living in the UK for 5 years.
TJ. - 12-Feb-19 @ 12:18 PM
My partner is moldovian and I’m a british citizen having been born and raised here. We are expecting a child. Does anybody know if she has any entitlement to British citizenship? We also want to get married. She currently lives in Moldova but we want to settle here.
Marcus - 11-Feb-19 @ 6:23 PM
My partner is Moldavian and is pregnant with our child. I was born and bred in Britain. Does anybody know what her rights are to live here. We also want to get married.
Marcus - 11-Feb-19 @ 6:21 PM
@ganda_ko_rin - Your child will need a passport before being able to travel
TJ. - 11-Feb-19 @ 1:03 PM
Hi. My son born in uk last sept 2018 and we will visit ourhome country my husband and I have a tier 2 ICT visa. Can I take my son with me outside uk? Pls help. Thanks.
ganda_ko_rin - 10-Feb-19 @ 4:32 AM
@pihu - You cannot become a permanent resident in the UK by having a child born in the UK
TJ. - 4-Feb-19 @ 2:32 PM
I stay in u. K last 2,years.we planned a child in u. K. After my baby birth My hsbnd and me become the permanent resident of u. K or not.
pihu - 3-Feb-19 @ 4:29 AM
@Ptr - if your child is an EU citizen she can live freely in the UK without any restriction until after Brexit
TJ. - 3-Feb-19 @ 12:10 AM
@Ye - If your husband had lived in the UK for at least 5 years before your daughter was born then she is entitled to apply for a British passport.
TJ. - 3-Feb-19 @ 12:06 AM
Hi. I'm an EU citizen and my wife has a UK residence. We came to Latin America to give birth to our daughter. Now we want to come back to UK. Does my daughter needs visa, or some paperwork to come back? Thank you.
Ptr - 1-Feb-19 @ 7:22 PM
Hi, my husband is eea citizen and im from asian country, he get settled status just this year, and our baby born last year february 2018, is our baby entitled to apply british passport? Thank.you
Ye - 1-Feb-19 @ 7:10 AM
@BreanaD - US citizens can visit the UK without a visa for 6 months. You may have to obtain insurance to cater for your maternity costs however.
TJ. - 17-Jan-19 @ 9:58 AM
I Am American And I’m Pregnant With Amy Boyfriends Child Who Is A British Resident In Manchester , I Want Habe My Baby There With Him But I’m Not Sure If I’ll Need A Visa First , Can Anybody Help Explain This To Me.?
BreanaD - 16-Jan-19 @ 5:22 PM
@Ed - if your child was born before you received ILR or British citizenship then you will have to register him as a British citizen before he can apply for a British passport
TJ. - 14-Jan-19 @ 2:16 AM
Hi, we live and work in the UK since 2005, our both children were born in the UK, our younger son born in 2013 has received British nationality automatically and has British passport. Our older son was born in the UK in 2007 can we apply for British passport for him or do we need to go through the process of registering him? It seems weird that younger child who lived shorter in the UK has it automatically and the older one would need to be registered?
Ed - 10-Jan-19 @ 11:44 PM
@Father - Your wife also has visa free access to the UK for 6 months under her Canadian passport.
TJ. - 8-Jan-19 @ 9:02 AM
@Father - Your wife is an EU citizen meaning she can live and work in the UK without any restrictions until December 2020.
TJ. - 8-Jan-19 @ 9:00 AM
Great Questions! I'm a UK citizen by descent. My girlfriend is French Canadian. Our first baby is due in 6 months (hooraaay)! We live in Australia and the US equally, but still have an apartment in Canada, and a very small one in London. I'm still married to, but separated from, my Greek wife. It is not possible to complete the divorce prior to the arrival of the first child. The baby will inherit several citizenships at birth, but cannot inherit my UK citizenship. So the question here is, how do we arrange for my partner to come to the UK, pregnant, to give birth, legally?
Father - 5-Jan-19 @ 4:45 PM
@Bakar - If neither of your parents were British citizens at the time of your birth then unfortunately you do not have any citizenship rights in the UK.
TJ. - 4-Jan-19 @ 4:05 PM
I was born in Manchester at1992 lived for 7 8 years now I am currently in Pakistan I want to avail my citizenship and rights.Need pure assistance help me get my visa for Manchester my home country
Bakar - 4-Jan-19 @ 1:57 AM
Hi.I am from The UK and my girlfriend is Australian. She is with me in the uk on a working holiday visa for the next 15months.We met abroad 2 years ago and came back to uk a few months ago.She is now pregnant.Will she have to leave or what visa will she need to remain.Also will child birth be free on NHS? Thanks
Bravo - 30-Dec-18 @ 7:58 PM
Hello,i have a baby who born in uk,and my nationality is Lithuanian, I am a single mother, I want to know some information if its possible to make for my baby English passport
MONIKA - 24-Dec-18 @ 11:50 PM
@Eeny - Polish citizens are free to live and work in the UK without restriction until Dec 2020. She should apply for settled status before then
TJ. - 22-Dec-18 @ 12:02 PM
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