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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 10 Dec 2018 | 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 am a Portuguese national and been living in the UK since Feb 2013. My partner (we are not married but been living together since Mar 2016) is Polish and living in the UK since May 2010. Both of us have been living and working in the UK without interruption since the date we moved in. We just had a baby daughter in Nov 2018, born here in the UK. We were wondering if she is of British Nationality? If so, can she apply for her own British Passport? Do we, the parents, need to do something regarding our own status before applying for our daughter's passport? We are both of EU nationality, so not sure how it works. Thank you for your help
PNAC - 10-Dec-18 @ 12:31 PM
Hi- my fiancé is a UK citizen & I am a US citizen. we will be getting married in the US next week & applying for a family spouse visa; however, we also just found out that I am pregnant... If I do not get the spousal visa, can I have the baby in the UK as a tourist? And, will I be allowed to stay with my baby since the baby will have UK citizenship? Also- any tips for the family spouse visa application process? thanks!! thanks!
AB - 8-Dec-18 @ 3:03 AM
hello, my husband and myself are in tier 2 general visa in the UK and we are from India. I am due for delivery 1st week of December 2018 in UK. My husband has resigned the job due to company's poor performance and we intend to travel back to India in February 2019. Do we need the visa to travel back to India for the new born or is it enough if we have just the Indian passport for the newborn. because applying for dependent visa for the new born will be a waste as we are not coming back to the UK. appreciate any advice..
sal - 28-Nov-18 @ 5:41 PM
Hi My son will be born in January 2019 I am Portuguese living in UK since September 2012 His father is British but we are not married We are living together since May 2015 Will My son be able to get British citizenship?
Dri - 26-Nov-18 @ 6:51 PM
Hi ! I am Romanian and I live in UK since 2015. My girlfriend is pregnant, we are not married and she is a Polish citizen. My concerns are about what nationality will our future baby get?. Will be up to us to decide is shall be Romanian or Polish passport or will get British citizenship straight away ?.
Maddy - 25-Nov-18 @ 7:11 PM
Dear Sir/Madam, as a single parent application (who has british child in UK) my wife will apply for it. She has a british daughter. Which application form must send to home office?
yvz - 20-Nov-18 @ 3:29 PM
@Sarah - As long as her cost is covered, you son's girlfriend is free to give birth in the UK. She must leave the UK before her visa expires.
TJ. - 13-Nov-18 @ 10:56 AM
My son girlfriend is a USA citizen and lives in the USA,my son is a British citizen and lives in the uk. If the girlfriend health insurance covers her nhs costs can the girlfriend have the baby in the uk on a visitor visa,if yes how soon is she to go back to the USA once the baby is born ?
Sarah - 7-Nov-18 @ 5:38 AM
Hi I've had many concerns about my situation here since I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks ago but reading the comments I found some solutions. What I now need help with is finding out how to go about prenatal care and the birthing of my baby will I get to do these things seeing I'm undocumented but my boyfriend is a uk national.
GinaG - 3-Nov-18 @ 1:37 PM
My visa expired for two months from now is there any way to sort out to stay legal in U.K. Even my Fiancée wants to marry me right away. If i will exit in Europe? Is there chance to come back in U.K ?
Mustard - 20-Oct-18 @ 11:52 AM
I have a 6 year old daughter. Her father and I are not married. He is married to a British Citizen and has a spouse visa. Can he not apply for my daughter a leave to remain?
Ivy - 18-Oct-18 @ 9:30 AM
@Pato - You need to ensure that your name appears on the child's birth certificate to enable the child apply for a British passport. Once the child has a British passport the mother can claim to be a single parent and there is no way they can deport either of them after that.
TJ. - 18-Oct-18 @ 9:06 AM
@Soni - You are not entitled to British citizenship or a British passport because you none of your parents were British citizens or Permanent Residents in the UK at the time of your birth.
TJ. - 18-Oct-18 @ 9:00 AM
My ex girlfriend who is an undocumented immigrant and have given birth to a child a few weeks ago and now very stressed and depressed from having problems with her social workers, informing that they might be deported. Can I help them by registering that I am the father of the child because I am a British citizen or would that make the situation worst? Please help
Pato - 17-Oct-18 @ 9:59 PM
i was born in uk on 23 may 2000 by non british parents but with non setteled time right to stay in uk.we got deported to my parents home country Albania (Eu) when i was 2 year old now i am 18 can i apply for a british passport and come back to uk.has brexit changed or will change any law for this case.
Soni - 17-Oct-18 @ 6:21 PM
@Sal - Having a British citizen child or a British citizen partner does not entitle you stay in the UK. You can only apply for leave to remain if you are a single parent.
TJ. - 17-Oct-18 @ 4:42 AM
Am pregnant 6mths and my partner is British citizen what can be done Wil I be able to stay in the UK since my visa had expired ?? What can i do at this point??
Sal - 16-Oct-18 @ 10:14 PM
@NR - Your child can only apply to have the same immigration status as you or your partner. He can apply for British citizenship when he turns 10 years
TJ. - 16-Oct-18 @ 2:43 PM
@Bahkt - Your baby will not be a British citizen because neither you or your partner are British citizens or Permanent residents. If the Home Office finds out that you have a partner your status as a dependant is at risk
TJ. - 16-Oct-18 @ 2:41 PM
My daughter is child 5 years old and born in UK and both my common-law partner and I are not British. Can my child be eligible to apply for his immigration status in the UK.
NR - 15-Oct-18 @ 12:10 PM
hi there, I am a daughter of EEA national and got UK 5 yrs residence card with Pakistani passport. I am living with my family. i am expecting my first baby. i want to know what would be my baby's status? As my partner is also a Pakistani. Right now i don't have any job and i completely depend on my dad. will my baby get a UK passport or a residence card or just a Pakistani status. thank you.
bakht - 15-Oct-18 @ 10:26 AM
@mario1972 - children born in Northern Ireland are only eligible for Irish citizenship if they have a British citizen parent at the time they were born. Her children can only apply for British passports after your daughter or her partner apply for a Permanent Residency document. Your daughter can only apply for a British passport after she applies for British citizenship. Your daughter is not eligible for Irish citizenship.
TJ. - 14-Oct-18 @ 3:30 PM
hi.my daughter came with us to northern ireland in 2007 she give a birth twins on 13 oct 2018,she is polish and her partner is polish ,can she register babys as northern irish or british citizenship?her boyfrend is 4years in northern ireland only,she is 11 years in northern ireland,and what about british or northern irish passport for her?she can aply ?Child needs her surname or may have his surname
mario1972 - 14-Oct-18 @ 12:45 PM
@PortFil - The children born in 2010 and 2015 are already British citizens so they can apply for a British passport. The other two children will have to apply for British citizenship first. In both cases you or your partner will need to first apply for a Permanent Residency document.
TJ. - 13-Oct-18 @ 12:11 PM
Hi, my husband and I are both Portuguese nationals we have lived and worked in the UK for over 19 years. We have 4 children born 2000, 2003, 2010 and 2015 they have been registered as Portuguese nationals although they were all born in the uk. Would they be eligible for a British passport? Would I need to apply for British citizenship first? Thanks
PortFil - 12-Oct-18 @ 2:46 PM
@yvz - Your wife would only remain in the UK under her British citizen child if she was a single parent. Otherwise she must leave the UK before her visa expires and apply for a spouse visa if she wishes to live in the UK
TJ. - 11-Oct-18 @ 1:27 AM
@Pay - Your daughter can only apply for British citizenship once you have a Permanent Residency document or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
TJ. - 11-Oct-18 @ 1:25 AM
Dear Madame/sir I moved to England and I am been living and working in this country since 2012. I had my daughter in 2015 born here in England. Tried to apply for brithis passport and they refuse it. The reason is I needed to be here 5 years before the child was born. What can I do for her to be able to still get the British passport? Should I apply for brithis citizenship and reapply the passport again? How does it work please? Thank you
Pay - 10-Oct-18 @ 9:30 PM
my wife has a visitor visa and will expired very soon. She gave new born baby and baby have a British passport. I have ILR card. Can she stay longer in UK legaly?
yvz - 10-Oct-18 @ 11:44 AM
@Gris - Because your child was born before you had spent 5 years in the UK, then that child is a Portuguese/Indian citizen. The child can apply to register as a British citizen using the MN1 form once you have applied for your PR Card
TJ. - 7-Oct-18 @ 10:33 AM
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