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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 17 Oct 2017 | 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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[Add a Comment]
ben - Your Question:
Hi I'm from Zimbabwe I was working in the Uk (legally) for 5 years on a ancestrieal visa I have a child who is now 2 years old born to a British mother they both still live in the UK we are not married. Dose this intitle me to any rites (ie) British passport or any Visas ?

Our Response:
You can find out if you can apply for settlement (also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK via the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 17-Oct-17 @ 4:14 PM
Hi I'm from Zimbabwe I was working in the Uk (legally) for 5 years on a ancestrieal visa I have a child who is now 2 years old born to a British mother they both still live in the UK we are not married. Dose this intitle me to any rites (ie) British passport or any Visas ?
ben - 17-Oct-17 @ 8:37 AM
Pinku - Your Question:
Hello, I leave in UK legally 6 years before my child born. My child born in UK and after that because of some reason we leave UK when my son was 8 month young. Now we are in India, so when can my son apply for British citizenship, plz advice

Our Response:
Unless either you or the other parent are classed as British citizens, hold ILR or are classed as permanent residents you would not be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 16-Oct-17 @ 2:42 PM
Ozil - Your Question:
Hi,My friends are both from abroad and they want they baby to be born in England, so will the baby be eligible for British citizenship. Thank you.

Our Response:
Unless either of the parents have British citizenship, ILR or permanent resident status, then the child would not be eligible for British citizenship.
AboutImmigration - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:59 PM
@Ozil a child born in the UK to foreign parents who are not permanently settled in the UK is not eligible for British citizenship. Your friends will have better luck in Canada or USA.
TJ. - 16-Oct-17 @ 8:09 AM
@Hidy a child born in the UK to parents who are illegal can apply to register as a British citizen at the age of 10 provided the child has lived in the UK all their life and are of good character.
TJ. - 16-Oct-17 @ 8:06 AM
Hi, My friends are both from abroad and they want they baby to be born in England, so will the baby be eligible for British citizenship. Thank you.
Ozil - 15-Oct-17 @ 10:07 PM
I wanted to ask .... If two people were illegal here but there child is turning 10 in march would she get a British citizenship ? .... The father has lived here over 15 years now and mother 11 years but don't have any papers or rights to remain or anything ..... So do any of them have any chance of getting a British citizenship ?
Hidy - 15-Oct-17 @ 4:42 PM
@pinku your child cannot apply for British citizenship if you were not granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or if you are not a British citizen.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 1:05 PM
Hello, I leave in UK legally 6 years before my child born. My child born in UK and after that because of some reason we leave UK when my son was 8 month young. Now we are in India, so when can my son apply for British citizenship, plz advice
Pinku - 14-Oct-17 @ 6:12 PM
I am fillin our the FLR FP application and question 9 states “Provide details of the role you take in the child’s upbringing, including details of your parental responsibility or access arrangements (for both your children and the child/children of any partner if they are not your child)”.The health visitor is refusing to writea letter. What can I do?
TJ - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:58 PM
pboy - Your Question:
Hi, My son was born & daughters were born in the UK before I was granted my indefinite leave to remain. Pls, I will like to know stay if I am to apply for a British passport for them or if they have to wait till they are 10 years old. If I am able to apply for a British passport for them based on IDL. How do I go about this Pls?Thank you

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 10-Oct-17 @ 3:07 PM
Hi, My son was born & daughters were born in the UK before I was granted my indefinite leave to remain. Pls, I will like to know stay if I am to apply for a British passport for them or if they have to wait till they are10 years old. If I am able to apply for a British passport for them based on IDL. How do I go about this Pls? Thank you
pboy - 9-Oct-17 @ 10:18 PM
Khan G - Your Question:
HiWe are here in the UK,as my wife is doing PhD here.One of my baby is born here want to confirm which I have heard that there is a rule says if a baby is born in the UK and stay for 2 years will get UK passport.please guide on it.Regards

Our Response:
Unless either you or your wife is classed a British citizen, has permanent residency status or ILR, then you would not be eligible to apply for British citizenship for your child.
AboutImmigration - 9-Oct-17 @ 2:16 PM
bbabsola - Your Question:
Hi, I and my wife have lived in the UK legally for 9 years and due to apply for my IDL in September 2018. I have three kids age 2, 5 & 7, all born in the UK. I am confused with the 5years for children born in the UK. Would I be able to apply for a British passport my kids before I get my Indefinite leave?

Our Response:
You cannot apply for British citizenship for your children until you or your children's other parent is awarded ILR.
AboutImmigration - 9-Oct-17 @ 2:02 PM
@JAS - unless you ant your children to have British citizenship you don't need to. Your kids are free to stay in the UK without having to.
RBO - 9-Oct-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hi, I and my wife have lived in the UK legally for 9 years and due to apply for my IDL in September 2018. I have three kids age 2, 5 & 7, all born in the UK. I am confused with the 5years for children born in the UK. Would I be able to apply for a British passport my kids before I get my Indefinite leave?
bbabsola - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:29 AM
Hi We are here in the UK,as my wife is doing PhD here. One of my baby is born here want to confirm which i have heard that there is a rule says if a baby is born in the UK and stay for 2 years will get UK passport. please guide on it. Regards
Khan G - 8-Oct-17 @ 9:09 PM
Hi I am EEA citizen iam working here from 17 years my children born here do i need to apply my children britishnationalty
JAS - 8-Oct-17 @ 5:41 PM
Hi i amnorweign citizen my kids born here i got parmanet residency do ineed to apply for children britishnationalty
jas - 8-Oct-17 @ 5:33 PM
Will - Your Question:
I'm a citizen of the UK and I just got married to my Ghanaian wife in August 2017, she is almost two months pregnant. What are my rights as to she joining me with my unborn child thank you

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here , which should tell you all you need to know and outline the requirements you must fulfil before you are allowed to apply.
AboutImmigration - 6-Oct-17 @ 1:42 PM
Elisaveta Huszarik ( - Your Question:
Hello,I'm Bulgarian (EU) citizen,came to UK in 2008 with my British partner, got married in 2010, had our son in 2012 who got British citizen and passport because of his dad. I wonder if I qualify for a British passport after so many years without having any kinds of naturalization tests or etc.

Our Response:
EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here.
AboutImmigration - 6-Oct-17 @ 12:41 PM
Maaa - Your Question:
Hi my wife an Portuguese citizen lived in uk since 2005 till 2013 and then went back home in Portugal.she gave a baby boy birth in2011 who she left with me in in uk.my quarries is as my wife spend nearly 10 year's in uk.can I apply for an British citizenship under Europe law. as I have read an article in to Internet.please clarify.thanks

Our Response:
You can only apply for British citizenship, if you have legally been living in the UK yourself for over five years.
AboutImmigration - 6-Oct-17 @ 12:08 PM
Mon - Your Question:
Me and my husband are EU nationals and have been living and working in the United Kingdom since 2012. I have given birth in July 2015 in UK as well. Does my son have British nationality ? and Can I apply for a British passport for him? Kind regards

Our Response:
You can register your child as a British citizen, if you have permanent residence status or evidence that one parent has exercised treaty rights in the UK for five years.
AboutImmigration - 5-Oct-17 @ 10:35 AM
Me and my husband are EU nationals and have been living and working in the United Kingdom since 2012. I have given birth in July 2015 in UK as well. Does my son have British nationality ? and Can I apply for a British passport for him? Kind regards
Mon - 4-Oct-17 @ 2:21 PM
Hi my wifean Portuguesecitizen lived in uk since 2005 till 2013 and then went back homein Portugal. .she gavea babyboy birthin2011 who she left with me in in uk..my quarries is as my wifespend nearly10 year's in uk..can I applyfor an BritishcitizenshipunderEuropelaw.. as I haveread an articlein to Internet. ..pleaseclarify ...thanks
Maaa - 3-Oct-17 @ 10:44 PM
Hello, I'm Bulgarian (EU) citizen,came to UK in 2008 with my British partner, got married in 2010, had our son in 2012 who got British citizen and passport because of his dad. I wonder if I qualify for a British passport after so many years without having any kinds of naturalization tests or etc.
Elisaveta Huszarik ( - 3-Oct-17 @ 9:28 PM
Info seeker- Your Question:
Me and my husband are EU nationals and have been living and working in the United Kingdom since 2014. I have given birth in June 2017 can I apply for a British passport for my child? Kind regards

Our Response:
Either you or your husband would have to have permanent residence status in order to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 3-Oct-17 @ 3:03 PM
I'm a citizen of the UK and I just got married to my Ghanaian wife in August 2017, she is almost two months pregnant. What are my rights as to she joining me with my unborn child thank you
Will - 3-Oct-17 @ 8:53 AM
Rawan - Your Question:
Hi, I'm an Iraqi national, so is my wife. we were in the UK between 2013-2014 when I was doing my master degree in the Sheffield when my wife gave birth to a son. He got his Birth Certificate but I wonder if he is eligible for a UK passport or citizenship?Thanks

Our Response:
Unless you or your wife have British citizenship or ILR, then you would not be able to apply for your child to become a British citizen on the basis that yoru son was born in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 2-Oct-17 @ 11:08 AM
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