Home > UK Visitors > Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 Apr 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]
victor - Your Question:
Hi,this is victor from china,i got permanent residence in Jan 2016.And I am married with my gf in China this year.A baby is expecting next year.How to make the baby a UK citizen?

Our Response:
Once you’ve registered locally (in the country you child was born) you may also be able to register the birth with the UK authorities. Please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:55 PM
@Victor if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and it is still valid then your child will automatically be a British citizen if born in the UK
TJ. - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:29 PM
Hi, this is victor from china, i got permanent residence in Jan 2016. And I am married with my gf in China this year. A baby is expecting next year. How to make the baby a UK citizen?
victor - 25-Apr-17 @ 5:15 AM
Somebody I know had a 'fling' with a Vietnamese girl who has overstayed her visa by one year.She claims to be pregnant by him.What could happen to her and the baby please?
Bewildered - 24-Apr-17 @ 10:12 PM
@KIKI once you or your husband have lived in the UK for 5 years exercising EU treaty rights then you will be able to register your children born in the UK as British citizens using form MN1.
TJ. - 23-Apr-17 @ 5:20 PM
Hi, both me and my husband are Eu citizens and we live 4 years in UK withoutneed for Visa. I will give birth to twins in a couple of months and I understand that they won't take British citizenship since we live in the country less than 5 years. Can we apply for them to take a citizenship after a year though Ie when we are 5 years here?
KIKI - 22-Apr-17 @ 3:17 PM
Zebe - Your Question:
As an EU citizen I arrived in the UK in 1976 whilst married to a British citizen. After our divorce 19 years later I had my son in 1995. Up until now he has had an EU passport but will lose his citizenship in his home country upon turning 22 this July. As he has lived in the UK his entire life and is educated and studying here, he wants a British passport. However, he was recently refused on the grounds that I couldn't prove I was exercising my treaty rights prior to his birth as I wasn't working during my pregnancy. I have otherwise worked the majority of my time here with P60s and a State Pension to prove it. I argued my automatic acquisition of Permanent Residency after 2 years (now 5) in the UK under EU law and subsequent 19 years here should prove that I was settled but that argument fell on deaf ears. The case manager suggested I go down the Naturalization route but how is that possible if my son is already deemed to be a British Citizen? Can you confirm that he is and what action I can take to ensure he gets a British Passport please.

Our Response:
It sounds like your son has fallen into a grey area. If he was born before October 2, 2000 you as his parent, would need to show evidence that either you or your son's father was exercising treaty rights in the UK at the time of your son's birth. As per your case worker's advice, if your child was not born British, in 'theory' your son may register as British once you have acquired permanent residence in the UK. However, as he is now over 18, this may not apply and he may have to exercise his own treaty rights. You don't say what the nationality of your son's father is - will this help his application? As we are purely a general guidance site, you will have to continue to seek immigration professional advice to further help resolve this issue.
AboutImmigration - 21-Apr-17 @ 1:58 PM
@Zebe if you are unable to prove to the Home Office that you had acquired permanent residence in the UK before your son's birth by exercising EU treaty rights then your son is not an automatic British citizen. Even if you later on acquired permanent residency in the UK you should have registered your son as a British citizen before his 18th Birthday. The only option he has now is to naturalize as a British citizen based on his own eligibility.
TJ. - 21-Apr-17 @ 1:46 PM
As an EU citizen I arrived in the UK in 1976 whilst married to a British citizen. After our divorce 19 years later I had my son in 1995. Up until now he has had an EU passport but will lose his citizenship in his home country upon turning 22 this July. As he has lived in the UK his entire life and is educated and studying here, he wants a British passport. However, he was recently refused on the grounds that I couldn't prove I was exercising my treaty rights prior to his birth as I wasn't working during my pregnancy. I have otherwise worked the majority of my time here with P60s and a State Pension to prove it. I argued my automatic acquisition of Permanent Residency after 2 years (now 5) in the UK under EU law and subsequent 19 years here should prove that I was settled but that argument fell on deaf ears. The case manager suggested I go down the Naturalization route but how is that possible if my son is already deemed to be a British Citizen? Can you confirm that he is and what action I can take to ensure he gets a British Passport please.
Zebe - 20-Apr-17 @ 9:03 PM
@Maite if your daughter's father was a permanent resident in the UK by exercising EU treaty rights for at least 5 years continously at the time of her birth then your child is automatically a British citizen and can apply for a British passport. If this was not the case then your daughter will have to naturalize as a British citizen on her own right because she is over 18 years of age.
TJ. - 20-Apr-17 @ 4:36 PM
Can I add, we are all still living in the UK, my daughter has been here continuously since she was born, studying and now working. Thank you.
Maite - 20-Apr-17 @ 2:09 PM
Democle - Your Question:
I'm a EEA citizen. I came to live in UK in 2008 and I have been continuously working since then. My daughter was born in U.K. in 2011. Her father is a non-EEA citizen but he has an indefinite to live permission in U.K. since March 2016. I'm not sure if my daughter is a British citizen or not because I would like to apply for her passport. Anyone able to explain me? I thank you all in advance for you time.

Our Response:
A European national will automatically acquire permanent residence in the UK after they have resided in the UK exercising treaty rights for five continuous years. Therefore, once you have aquired PR (which you do not need to document)you can register your child as a British citizen. You can see more via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 19-Apr-17 @ 12:29 PM
Bahame - Your Question:
If my children were born in U.K and I am not born in Britain will my children be allowed free passports

Our Response:
Unless either parent has British citizenship, holds ILR, or has permanent residence status, then you cannot register your child as a British citizen. If your children are over 10 years of age and have been living in the UK for this amount of time, you can check if you can apply via the MN1 guidance link here.
AboutImmigration - 19-Apr-17 @ 10:53 AM
@Democle you can register your child as a British citizen using form MN1. After completing the registration process is complete you may apply for a British passport for your child.
TJ. - 19-Apr-17 @ 7:12 AM
I'm a EEA citizen. I came to live in UK in 2008 and I have been continuously working since then. My daughter was born in U.K. in 2011. Her father is a non-EEA citizen but he has an indefinite to live permission in U.K. since March 2016. I'm not sure if my daughter is a British citizen or not because I would like to apply for her passport. Anyone able to explain me? I thank you all in advance for you time.
Democle - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:09 PM
@Bahame in addition to my comment. A British passport is not free. To register as a British citizen and obtain a British passport will cost you in excess of 1,000 pounds sterling per child.
TJ. - 18-Apr-17 @ 3:34 PM
@Bahame if your children were born in the UK and have lived in the UK since birth for over 10 years and are of good character then you may be able to register them as British citizens and after that obtain British passports for them. This is assuming that neither you or the children's other parent are legally settled in the UK.
TJ. - 18-Apr-17 @ 3:30 PM
They are also over 10 years do they get a free passport
Bahame - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:39 PM
If my children were born in U.K and I am not born in Britain will my children be allowed free passports
Bahame - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:38 PM
Nan - Your Question:
I have a limited leave to remain since 2014 and have change it last year june to the 10years parent route as my 10years old daughter is a British National.I recently just had a new born baby girl and am wondering if I can obtain a british passport for her?Please can someone advice me futherThank you

Our Response:
In addition to TJ's answer, if the father of your child is a British citizen, then you can apply to register your child as a British citizen. Alternatively, you can seek guidance of whether you are eligible via the MN1 link here.
AboutImmigration - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:07 AM
@Leye under current UK immigration law you do not have right of abode in the UK. Unfortunately there is also no advantage that can be given to you because you were born in the UK or because of the time you spent living in the UK. This is because you were born in the UK after 1983 and lived in the UK after your birth for less than 10 years.
TJ. - 18-Apr-17 @ 8:22 AM
@Nan your new baby will not be entitled to British citizenship unless she llives in the UK until she is 10 years old or until you or the other parent receive Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR) whichever comes earlier. For now you can only obtain for her the same status that you or the other parent holds in the UK.
TJ. - 18-Apr-17 @ 8:15 AM
@Sel you can come to the UK on a standard visitor visa which is valid for up to 6 months. Given your situation of having strong ties to the UK you can also apply for a 5 year or 10 year visitor visa which will allow you to visit the UK multiple times for up to a maximum of 6 months per year.
TJ. - 18-Apr-17 @ 8:09 AM
@Lara your son would only be eligible to register as a British citizen if either you or the other parent have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR). A work permit unfortunately does not entitle you to remain indefinitely in the UK.
TJ. - 18-Apr-17 @ 8:01 AM
I was born in the UK in 1985 to Nigerian parents. I lived in the UK for 6years. My parents and I left in 1991. I understand that an not an English citizen but I would love to go back to the UK and settle there soon. I don't know what exactly to do. Do I stand any benefits by being born in the UK at all? Am I entitled to a right of abode? Kindly enlighten me. Thank you
leye - 17-Apr-17 @ 4:07 PM
I have a limited leave to remain since 2014 and have change it last year june to the 10years parent route as my 10years old daughter is a British National. I recently just had a new born baby girl and am wondering if I can obtain a british passport for her? Please can someone advice me futher Thank you
Nan - 17-Apr-17 @ 10:49 AM
My husband has an indefinite in uk and i am a us citizen. My daughter was born in UK and she is a british citizen. I was in UK on a visit visa and she was born and im payin NHS fees. I still dont have my spouse visa or anything due to my husband not having his taxes paid yet so can i visit London since my daughter has a british passport and my husband lives there?
Sel - 14-Apr-17 @ 10:26 PM
Good day. Our son was born in the UK in 2007. We had a permanent work permit. We left the UK in 2009 back to South Africa. We are wondering if my sin is eligable for a UK citizenship or passport en if we can go back to the UK.
Lara - 14-Apr-17 @ 7:37 PM
@kkemp - you can just visit a GP when you arrive. If you have the correct health insurance etc in place, then you shouldn't have any problems accessing the facilities you need. Your GP will register you for maternity care.
Sara* - 13-Apr-17 @ 1:54 PM
Rosi - Your Question:
My daughter was born in UK in 2004, in the end of 2008 I went back to Brazil. Me and my husband are Brazilian and my daughter is not English Citizen. but she wants to become to be English. Actually we live in USA.How can she become and English Citizen, how long does she need to live in UK in order to change or acquire her dreamed English Passport.

Our Response:
Your daughter cannot become a British citizen on the basis of being born in the UK. You or your daughter's father would have to be registered or naturalised as British citizens in order for her to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-17 @ 1:41 PM
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