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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Apr 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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My child is a Canadian citizen and was born in the UK in 2005 by non-British citizens parents. At the moment he’s 12 years old. When can my child become a British citizen or when is his elegibility to apply for British passport? Thanks.
Lorenzo - 21-Apr-18 @ 3:46 PM
So me and my husband have European nationality and our son was born last year in the uk, I have been living here since age 9 and my husband has been living in the UK since he was 12 but when I applied for residency certificate before my son's birth, it got rejected because I was a student and hadn't been paying comprehensive health insurance. Now with the changes and introduction of settled status does that change my son's elegibility for British passport or no? At the moment he is 14 months old and not a national of any country.
AM - 21-Apr-18 @ 11:54 AM
@Z - if your child is a British citizen by birth (because her father is a British citizen), then she should receive free NHS care. I'd question it.
Sacha - 19-Apr-18 @ 1:55 PM
Hi I am from abroad, I gave birth in the United Kingdom, my husband is a british citizen, my daughter had breathing problem and they had to put her in intensive care, now I have got a bill of £23,000 which i cannot afford, as this was unexpected, i have paid have paid the delivery charges which was £3,000 I thought if she was born here and it was an emergency case she wouldn’t have to pay for her treatment, any advice please help.
Z - 17-Apr-18 @ 5:49 PM
Hi I am from abroad, I gave birth in the United Kingdom, my husband is a british citizen, my daughter had breathing problem and they had to put her in intensive care, now I have got a bill of £23,000 which i cannot afford, as this was unexpected, i have paid. I thought if she was born here and it was an emergency case she wouldn’t have to pay for her treatment, any advice please help.
Z - 17-Apr-18 @ 5:46 PM
@DDD - Your child will be able to apply for British citizenship once either parent becomes a permanent resident in the UK
TJ. - 15-Apr-18 @ 10:44 PM
Hello, me and my wife are both EU nationals (Bulgarians) and continuously have lived in the UK for 2 years. Our daughter was born in the UK last month. Obviously, we do not have a permanent residence yet. Would be possible to apply for UK citizenship for our daughter once we complete the initial period of 5 years and obtain permanent residence?
DDD - 15-Apr-18 @ 4:57 PM
Ilze - Your Question:
My fiancee moved to London on 7.03.2011, I moved on 22.07.2011. We come from Latvia. Our child was born on the 6th of May 2016. Can we apply for british citizenship for our son? Thank you.

Our Response:
Your child will only be considered a British citizen if you or your fiance have permanent residency status.
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-18 @ 10:43 AM
@CM - Your child born in Cairo will automatically be a British citizen by descent. The child does not need to register as a British citizen. You can apply for a British passport using the govuk website and the British Embassy.
TJ. - 12-Apr-18 @ 9:09 PM
@HKBrit - Any child you have born in the UK will automatically be a British citizen.
TJ. - 12-Apr-18 @ 8:56 PM
I am a British citizen as I was born in London 1982. I lived in U.K. the first 3 and half years of my life then I went with my parents to live in cairo. Now I am waiting for my child after 6 month, so I want to make sure if he will take the British citizenship. And how to apply for him for citizenship and passport . Thanks
Carol Ghobrial - 12-Apr-18 @ 5:33 PM
CM - Your Question:
I am a British citizen as I was born in London 1982. I lived in U.K. the first 3 and half years of my life then I went with my parents to live in cairo. Now I am waiting for my child after 6 month, so I want to make sure if he will take the British citizenship. And how to apply for him for citizenship and passport. Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here, which should tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 12-Apr-18 @ 2:57 PM
My fiancee moved to London on 7.03.2011, i moved on 22.07.2011. We come from Latvia. Our child was born on the 6th of May 2016. Can we apply for british citizenship for our son? Thank you.
Ilze - 12-Apr-18 @ 12:10 PM
I am a British citizen as I was born in London 1982. I lived in U.K. the first 3 and half years of my life then I went with my parents to live in cairo. Now I am waiting for my child after 6 month, so I want to make sure if he will take the British citizenship. And how to apply for him for citizenship and passport . Thanks
CM - 10-Apr-18 @ 9:30 PM
Hi, I am a British Citizen by Descent (as I was born in South Africa to British Parents) I lived most of my like in the UK was educated and served in HM Forces and I am a British passport holder. I moved to Hong Kong as a civilian and have married a Russian born French citizen. If our child is born in Hong Kong I understand that I now cannot pass on my British citizenship to my child. If we travelled to give birth in the UK could I then pass on my British on my British Citizenship to our child?
HKBrit - 10-Apr-18 @ 6:12 PM
Dovil - Your Question:
Hi, I am European union citizen(Lithuanian), have been continuously living in UK for over 5years, my partner is British citizen, we are not married and our son was born August 2017. What are the steps for my son to apply for British citizenship and get a British passport? Thank you.

Our Response:
If the father of your son is a British citizen, then your son is naturally a British citizen by birth. Please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 10-Apr-18 @ 12:29 PM
Hi, i am European union citizen(Lithuanian), have been continuously living in UK for over 5years, my partner is British citizen, we are not married and our son was born August 2017. What are the steps for my son to apply for British citizenship and get a British passport? Thank you.
Dovil - 9-Apr-18 @ 9:59 PM
@I - your baby is not eligible for British citizenship because neither parents are British citizens or permanent residents in the UK
TJ. - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:26 AM
Me & My husband both r asian.My husband is fighting for toeic case.I was on tier 4 visa, but I stopped my study. So my visa has been curry.I just gave birth to a baby. So the baby will get the citizenship??
I - 7-Apr-18 @ 4:07 AM
@Felix - If you have been married to her father before then she qualifies for a British passport. If you have never been married to her father then she does not qualify for a British passport but mart be able to apply for British citizenship.
TJ. - 4-Apr-18 @ 6:28 PM
@Andrea - Was your child born in the UK? If so you can apply to register the child as a British citizen using the MN1 form
TJ. - 4-Apr-18 @ 6:25 PM
Hi my nameis Audrey I have a child in the UK I did not have my stay at the time of birth she was born 1997 her dad his british citizen at the time of birth can the child get a british passport..
Felix - 4-Apr-18 @ 4:15 PM
Hi. My boy was born in UK on March 2015. At that time I was holding blue card as an EEA National. Now I am British citizen. What do I have to do in order to my boy become British citizen? Thank you.
Andreea - 4-Apr-18 @ 7:18 AM
Hello, my boy is born on March 2015. At that time I was holding blue card for EEA National. Now I am British citizen. What are the steps to apply for my boy to be British citizen? Thank you
Andreea - 4-Apr-18 @ 7:15 AM
@Bell - your son can apply for a family visa as a child valid for 2.5 years renewable. However technically speaking he can also come to the UK on a 6 month visit visa and after he arrives he can immediately apply for Permanent Residency as the child of a British citizen.
TJ. - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:34 AM
Hi, I am a British citizen by decent born and lived all my life abroad. I am divorced with full custody of my 9 years old boy who is not a British citizen. I would like to come to the UK with my son for a year and for him to be able to go to school and have medical insurance - NHS or private. His father gave his consent to my planes. What are my options taking into account that my funds are limited and I will have to find work and accommodation, I plan to initially live with friends? Thanks, bell.
Bell - 28-Mar-18 @ 12:26 PM
@Eshoe - Were you or the other parent British citizens at the time the child was born? If yes, you can apply for your child's passport following guidance on the govuk website. If no, your child is not a British citizen and is not eligible for a British passport.
TJ. - 27-Mar-18 @ 6:23 AM
Hi, I had my son in uk 2003, but now he is leaving outside uk, how can I apply for his passport
Esohe - 27-Mar-18 @ 12:33 AM
@Mayolette - Because you were born in the UK to non British parents after 1982, you are not a British citizen and therefore not eligible for a British passport. Unfortunately time spent on a tier 4 visa does not count when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK until you have lived in the UK legally for at least 10 years.
TJ. - 26-Mar-18 @ 12:52 AM
Hi there, My parents were on a student visa when I was born in the Uk in ‘87. I left Uk when I was 4 yrs and came back in 2015. I am presently on a tier 4 dependent. Is there options possible for me to apply for a British passport or indefinite leave?
Mayolette - 25-Mar-18 @ 11:29 PM
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