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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 15 Apr 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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Hi, I have 3 children, they were born in the UK Feb 00, May 04 and Nov 05. I am German, but lived in the UK since 92/93 and their British Father in on the Birth Certificate, but we never got married. Are they German or British?
Nicole - 15-Apr-19 @ 1:01 PM
Perfect! He is willing to help me and he apply himself for the baby passport but he is travelling too much and staying in London too less. He was thinking to ask his solicitor to do this. Do you think it is possible or only one of us can do this? Thank you so much for your time.
Nainaan - 12-Apr-19 @ 2:57 PM
@Nainaan - Your daughter can apply for a British passport as long as you can obtain her father's document's proving that he is a British citizen.
TJ. - 12-Apr-19 @ 12:00 PM
Good morning! I am a single mother, living in Romania and my baby was born here but she took her father name (surname). Her father is a British citizen living in London for long time now (he obtained the nationality through naturalization) and I want to obtain a British Passport for the baby also. Do I need to apply for her British Nationality first before proceed to the passport? If yes, which form shall I complete?I checked the website but I am little confused in this matter. Thank you and have a good day ahead!
Nainaan - 12-Apr-19 @ 10:55 AM
Hi! My fiancee is a UK citizen and we will be married in August outside UK. My due is in the end of October. As I understood my child can get UK citizenship as his father is a citizen and it would be harder if the child is born outside the UK, is that right? But I wouldn't have a spouse visa yet and don't know how long it would take to get it so I will have to leave with a child who would be registered in the UK but not in my country. What is the best option in this case?
VS - 11-Apr-19 @ 2:26 PM
Hi my daughter was born in UK in 1984 after 4 years we being in London, my husband and I are Tunisian, my husband stayed in London for 11 years (80-91) and I stayed for 8 years (83-91), we back to Tunis without apply for ILR, I mean we don't have ILR right now, can my daughter apply for UK citizen?
Sara - 6-Apr-19 @ 12:13 PM
My partner and I are not married. We are both South Africans. He has british citizenship. I do not have it yet, and now we have a son together born in the UK. Does our son have automatic citizenship? Or do we have to apply for it?
Wam - 5-Apr-19 @ 12:57 PM
Hi TJ thanks for your response, my mum was also a minor according to them as had me at 20 so apparantely she cant show exercising treaty rights. My dad was and had always been british but apparantely i couldnt take my status through him according to law. So im confused
Sam - 5-Apr-19 @ 12:22 PM
@Sam - You must have some documentation to prove that you were exercising EU treaty rights in the UK for example school transcripts or work documents. You can also provide proof that your parents were in the UK exercising treaty rights while you were a minor. Without this proof your son will need to apply for British citizenship before he canbe eligible for a UK passport
TJ. - 5-Apr-19 @ 10:12 AM
Hi can anyone help me i had my son when i was exercising treaty rights as a minor apparantely... As i was 20 when i had him they are saying i can not prove 5 years as a minor therefore my son has no claim for a british passport is this correct?
Sam - 4-Apr-19 @ 10:18 PM
@Sam Sam - Your parents lost their residency once they left the UK for more than 2 years. You are not eligible for UK citizenship
TJ. - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:07 AM
Hi My parents are Egyptian, I was born in UK after 1983, my parents stayed in UK as students for continuous 6 years, and I was born in the 3rd year of their entry of UK. but they didn't claim permanent residence, Can my parents claim to get permanent residence? and 2nd question is, am I eligible to get UK citizenship?
Sam Sam - 3-Apr-19 @ 9:43 PM
@None - If your child was born after you lived for in the UK for 5 years then they are entitled to UK passports. If your child was born before you lived in the UK for 5 years then you will have to apply for British citizenship first before you can apply for a British passport. In both cases at least one parent will require a permanent residency document.
TJ. - 2-Apr-19 @ 4:22 PM
@Juciara - Your child is also a Brazilian national.
TJ. - 2-Apr-19 @ 4:18 PM
If both parents are Bulgarian have lived in the uk for over 5 years have two children born in the uk in the last 5 years . Are these children entitled to uk passports and also does this make them British citizens? Does that make the parents bullet proof now in the uk ?
None - 2-Apr-19 @ 12:10 PM
Hi, I’m Brazilian national and my father is Portuguese, I have 5 years visa in uk on Dependant on EU father, I gave birth to my baby here in uk after during my visa time, What nationality should apply to my baby?
Juciara - 29-Mar-19 @ 4:18 PM
@CHRIS - Your child will not be eligible for a UK passport unless you or your wife have permanent residency in the UK before the child is born in the UK.
TJ. - 29-Mar-19 @ 9:19 AM
@Vj singh - Unless you or your wife apply for a visa the answer is no
TJ. - 29-Mar-19 @ 9:17 AM
Hi my wife & I are Lebanese with permanent Cyprus residency category F. We are now in London, do my child take uk passport if my wife give birth here?
CHRIS - 28-Mar-19 @ 11:12 AM
Hi i am from India . Iand my wife travelled to UK in 2004 and inJuly 2005 my wife had baby but we came back to India inAugust 2005, after that we never traveled to UK. Will now be thereany possibility for my child to get residency of UK in any circumstances???
Vj singh - 28-Mar-19 @ 6:07 AM
@Luis - If you enter the UK as a visitor you must leave within 6 months.
TJ. - 25-Mar-19 @ 9:03 AM
Hi my name is luis and I am a american citizen and my wife is a american and uk citizen.My wife has been living in the uk for almost month now and ive been back and forth. My wife is pregmant now and I want to be there with her while be pregnant.Do I still have to stay for 90 days amd then leave her and then come back to the uk.
Luis - 24-Mar-19 @ 2:51 AM
@Mariekie - If your child was born while his father had Indefinite Leave to Remain then the child is a British citizen. If the father does not wish for his name to be included on the birth certificate you can apply for a declaration of parentage from the court which will determine if he is the father and will compel him to include his name on the birth certificate if ruled in your favor.
TJ. - 21-Mar-19 @ 9:33 AM
Hi. I'm a Namibian citizen been on the UK since 2003 illegally, just recently in February 2019 gave birth to my Baby, father have indefinite leave to remain but has refused to register my child as he is having doubts, how to I go about getting my child to have his legal status under his father? Also I tried getting some information about legal paternity test but they require some sort of ID which I haven't got, what should I do please?
Mariekie - 17-Mar-19 @ 3:56 AM
Hi, My Husband and my kids all have British passport, but I am still waiting for home office decision,As we had not doneEnglish wedding I mean only traditional wedding in 2015.I was on student visa but by the time of wedding and don't have any status. So since that they just asking me to go back your country and clear the immigration.
Sandhu - 14-Mar-19 @ 8:56 PM
@Kev - You are right that children born to EEA nationals before 2/10/2000 are British citizens and entitled to a UK passport if their parents were exercising EC treaty rights at the time of their birth. In order for you to apply for a UK passport you will need to provide evidence that at the time of your birth at least one of your parents had lived in the UK for more than 3 months and were either working, studying or living self sufficiently in the UK.
TJ. - 11-Mar-19 @ 11:41 AM
Hi I born in 1993 in London My parents they are Portuguese and been living and working since1992 on the U.K. The law said that children from European parents before 2000, they are British citizens by birth, is that true . And able to apply for British passport, I never been out of the country for more than 2 weeks, and in fact not travel abroad in the last 7 years Please just let me now
Kev - 10-Mar-19 @ 4:56 PM
hello there, I have indefinate leave to remain, i have been living here since 2017.my husband is here on spouse visa.I am pregnant and our baby will be here in August this year.Will my baby have a British nationality since i have indefinate leave to remain.
pp - 5-Mar-19 @ 6:07 PM
Hi , I came illegally in uk in 2018 , and have been registered at home office . I have been pregnant with an europiane (greek)citizen who lives in uk for more than 2years ...I gave birth on 2019 and now I will apply for my baby greek passport here in London , as hisfather is greek , will we get the pasport here ? And can I apply for remaining her in uk ???
Jh - 2-Mar-19 @ 10:32 PM
Hi. Can anyone help me with any information. I livie in uk, im illegal, but im pregnant with a British citizen, and I know my baby will be British, but what about me, can i get visa, does NHS will charge me? Thanks
E - 28-Feb-19 @ 7:16 PM
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