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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 6 Aug 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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@Frankie, as your sister is not permanently living in the U.K she would be expected to pay for the birth unless she is staying in the U.K. up to three months before the birth and is registered with a G.P
NikNak - 6-Aug-19 @ 9:56 AM
Hi, am a Nigerian and will be getting married to a Nigerian Lady in four months time but will like my wife to give birth in UK. please what are the steps i should take and how much will it cost. i will like to have the options. Thanks.
SPAG - 5-Aug-19 @ 5:13 PM
I am a family member of EEA national living in UK for 9years now. Will my child get a British citizen if born? Because I was denied a permanent visa when my first five years was due. And I applied another five years again which I'm using now. Thank You.
Monney - 5-Aug-19 @ 1:46 PM
My sister lives in Singapore with her husband but she has UK resident visa. She is coming to the UK to give birth. I didn’t get the part where it says one of the parent has to be living in the UK. Is she allowed to come to the UK to give birth even though she does not live here ?
Frankie - 2-Aug-19 @ 6:40 PM
Hi im from the commonwealth my visa has expired and i was refused visa extension last year from home office.I gave birth to my son last year and I'm wondering g if he can get british citizen straight away.My boyfriend is in the british army he came in the country in 2017 , i came in the UK in 2016.We haven't married yet what would be the best optionfor me?
Leen - 29-Jul-19 @ 3:39 PM
@Maria - Your child will not be able to return to the UK unless she has a visa under her Nigerian passport or unless she has proof that she is a Romanian citizen.
TJ. - 9-Jul-19 @ 5:02 PM
Hello. I am Romania citizen and my husband is Nigerian we have a daughter 18 months old and we made her the Nigerian passport and we’d like to travel to Nigeria , the problem is that we’re not sure that we can travel back from Nigeria since my daughter doesn’t have a visa from Nigeria . To make her the Romanian passport they book us to late and we won’t be in time to travel. We can’t make her the British passport because we don’t have 5 years in England. I need an advice if someone had the same situation please let me know. Thanks
Maria - 7-Jul-19 @ 7:31 PM
Hi, I am a naturalised British citizen and have a 2 year old daughter who was born in the UK. I also have a Bulgarian citizenship and my husband is a Bulgarian citizen.My daughter is a British citizen by birth (as far as I understand). I am expecting a second child in January 2020. If I give birth abroad in Bulgaria, does this mean that the child will only be a British citizen by descent? What does this imply in terms of different rights for this child? Does this mean that this child's children will not be British citizens, are there any other implications? Thank you.
rsara - 27-Jun-19 @ 10:32 AM
Hi I am Italian. My husband Albanian. Has Residence card Been living here since 2009. My baby is born now march2019. I have applied for baby passport not knowing the Law. I have been asked From Passport office to provide 5 years living in Uk . However in 2017 I went away for full 10 month . Reasons.Got divorced.Re-marry with my baby's Father.And was sick due to incident abroad.Also had to renew Get Italian passport and Id card. In this time i can prove travelling back to uk and also i kept renting my flat in London through all this time! Does my daughter still gets the British passport? As the rest i can prove by work the 5 years.Only those 10 months that am concerned about. Also do I need a lawyer to continue my application?
Linda - 27-Jun-19 @ 9:39 AM
I am a Libyan citizen born in 1992 in the United Kingdom. My son finished my studies after two months and studied in the State of Libya. I graduated from the Pharmacy College and got my Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2013 and I want to know what are the advantages in my case Thank you so much
zuhair - 11-Jun-19 @ 12:02 AM
My kids were born in the uk an were getting the benefits because there dad was born there in england..i suffer domestic violence so i left the relationship with the kids an went back to jamaica..my son is of age an is ready to go an sign on for himself and his sister...there dad is still collecting the benefits an dont try to contact the kids...what can my son do to go back
Raina - 31-May-19 @ 10:05 PM
Please I am a nigeria single mum with 2 children who were born here in the uk. The father of my children have 5 years leave to remain in the uk. He has a dependant visa under his brother who is an EU national.But we don't leave together. I leave with my 2 children.Is it possible to apply for my children under their fathers NAME? WILL THEY BE GRANTED?
Jul - 27-May-19 @ 9:26 PM
hi, me and my wife (both Nepalese) are going to apply ILR through long term residency route on August 2019. Our son born in uk on2012 march now 7 year old an also holds a Nepalese passport but lived all the time in uk apart from couple of holidays abroad. We are thinking to apply together for ILR. But not sure what status he will get? It's because he already holds Nepalese passport we have to apply his visa together with us. Otherwise his visa will run out and will become illegal although he was born in Uk. And also we are not sure because he only lived 7 years in the uk. We have second child just over 7 month old but doesn't hold anypassports so we are thinking to apply straight citizenship once we obtain ILR. Is that the right process? Your advice would change our life and muchly appriciated. thank you
swopnil - 22-May-19 @ 5:58 PM
Hello, I had my son on 3rd March 2019. the dad has a British passportand I am EU citizen with more than 7years in the UK What documents shall I apply for our son so we can travel abroad? Thank you
Kanariya - 20-May-19 @ 12:15 PM
Hi there, my baby was born in April 2019, my husband and I are living in UK for more than 5 years, can my baby get a british passport?
Lily - 15-May-19 @ 3:12 PM
Hi There, I hold an ILR and I am an Indian citizen. My baby is due in October. I am looking to get the Indian passport for my baby, what sort of visa or permission to stay i need to get for my baby?
UR - 9-May-19 @ 12:56 PM
Hi if you have a 2.5 years stay and you have a baby, what will the baby be entitled to. Thanks.Bliss
Bless - 4-May-19 @ 5:25 PM
Hi, I'm planning coming to UK to have my child. What's my baby's benefit? Will he/she be a citizen when he/she turns 18yrs?
Chynwe - 29-Apr-19 @ 8:43 PM
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
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