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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 11 Jun 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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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
@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
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