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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 Mar 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]
Hi I am a British citizen and my wife is Mexican and she is 6 months pregnant now. She is just visiting the uk and she is only allowhere for 6 months as a torist but as I mentioned she is 6 months pregnant and I have a business and my income is over £20000 per year . My questions is if the baby born here will the baby be British or not ? And how can I apply for spouse visa for her to stay with us ? I will really appreciate if answer my questions .
Rose77 - 25-Mar-17 @ 4:55 PM
@pipalet you do not need any document to prove your permanent residency in the UK. However for the purposes of obtaining British citizenship for your child you may be required to obtain a permanent residence card to prove your status. If you or your spouse were permanent residents before the birth of your child and can prove it then your child will automatically be a British citizen and may apply directly for a UK passport. If you or your spouse obtain permanent residency in the UK after the birth of your child you will be able to register the child as a British citizen.
TJ. - 24-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM
piplaet - Your Question:
Hi, just gave birth last November and I was wondering how my child can get the UK citizenship. I am from Belgium and live in the UK since 4 and a half years. My husband is from Austria and lives in London since 12 years. In your message to Kathy I saw that you mentioned : "your child will not be a British citizen if born in the UK unless your husband has permanent residency or unless you have Indefinite Leave to Remain" --> how can we prove that? Who should we contact? Many thanks in advance for your help.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 24-Mar-17 @ 2:22 PM
Kathy - Your Question:
Hello! I will give a birth in uk in less than month! My husband is from greece and he have the registration certificate in uk I am from albania and I have residence card for 5 years we live in uk almost 1 year! Can our son get the British passport? Thanks

Our Response:
If you are classed as a permenant resident in the UK, then you can register your child as a British citizen.
AboutImmigration - 24-Mar-17 @ 12:17 PM
martina - Your Question:
Hello, I lived in UK for 12 years before but past 3 years I lived in Germany with my fiance that is British nationality. I am Slovakian EU citizen. We have 1 year old son that was born in Germany. We are moving to UK end of May this year 2017. Because of Brexit I am worried in two years we could forced to separate our family. If that happen would my son go with me to my country or will have to stay in UK with his dad as he already living there?My son has duel nationality. Slovak/British and both passports. I don't think UK can just take my son of me as I am his mother and send me home? Is there anything that we cann do that will not able to separate our loving family? Thank you, Kind Regards, Martina

Our Response:
I'm afraid as of yet we do not know what the Brexit policies will be on EU immigration. You can see more via the gov.uk link here which applies to the current state of play. I imagine many family-based cases will be dealt with on an individual basis and will depend upon your personal situation. Plus, how long you have been living in the UK when it comes to new policies being implemented.
AboutImmigration - 24-Mar-17 @ 11:43 AM
Hi, just gave birth last November and I was wondering how my child can get the UK citizenship. I am from Belgium and live in the UK since 4 and a half years. My husband is from Austria and lives in London since 12 years. In your message to Kathy I saw that you mentioned : "your child will not be a British citizen if born in the UK unless your husband has permanent residency or unless you have Indefinite Leave to Remain" --> how can we prove that? Who should we contact? Many thanks in advance for your help.
piplaet - 24-Mar-17 @ 9:02 AM
@Kathy please note your child will not be a British citizen if born in the UK unless your husband has permanent residency or unless you have Indefinite Leave to Remain. These are obtained by living in the UK continuously for a minimum of 5 years among other requirements.
TJ. - 24-Mar-17 @ 7:47 AM
@Martina your family will have to wait for the Brexit negotiations on the status of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens in the EU to be concluded. The good thing is that I think this is one of the first agenda items.
TJ. - 24-Mar-17 @ 5:22 AM
Hello! I will give a birth in uk in less than month! My husband is from greece and he have the registration certificate in uk i am from albania and i have residence card for 5 years we live in uk almost 1 year! Can our son get the British passport? Thanks
Kathy - 23-Mar-17 @ 9:24 PM
Hello, I lived in UK for 12 years before but past 3 years i lived in Germany with my fiance that is British nationality. I am Slovakian EU citizen. We have 1 year old son that was born in Germany. We are moving to UK end of May this year 2017. Because of Brexit i am worried in two years we could forced to separate our family. If that happen would my son go with me to my country or will have to stay in UK with his dad as he already living there?My son has duel nationality. Slovak/British and both passports. I don't think UK can just take my son of me as i am his mother and send me home? Is there anything that we cann do that will not able to separate our loving family? Thank you, Kind Regards, Martina
martina - 23-Mar-17 @ 7:40 PM
@TJ - of course it is! The whole aim is to try to refuse people entry in any which way the Home Office can. If even the slightest mistake is made, they will jump on it as an excuse to refuse the application. My sister's partner was refused because they thought he was bringing too much money into the UK on a visitor visa and so they refused on the basis that they thought he wouldn't leave. Otto.
OVI - 23-Mar-17 @ 2:37 PM
@fs this seems to be a new trend at the home office. My brother is applying for a UK passport and is being asked for more documents than I ever was. The trick is to give them everything they want to avoid a refusal.
TJ. - 23-Mar-17 @ 4:48 AM
I am british and have applied for a passport for my 3month daughter born in the uk but hm is requesting for lots of docs including post natal and prenatal docs.,photos of the pregnancy,as I thought a new born passport is straight forward.has someone faced such before please?
fs - 22-Mar-17 @ 7:59 PM
M.p.naraghi - Your Question:
My quarts (4 children were born at the same time)children were born in london in 1991 after their born I took them back to my homeland Iran now that they have gat highest rank and highest dgree of universities education are intrested to be settled in UK.Is there any chance to help them via special home office discretion or any other ways

Our Response:
I'm afraid not. Your children would have to apply for work visas if they are not classed as UK citizens via the same channels as everyone else. There are no discretionary dispensations for being born in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 22-Mar-17 @ 1:53 PM
Alex - Your Question:
Iam português I live in UK for 16 years my daughter is 10 years old can I apply for British passport for my daughter

Our Response:
If your child is not born British, you may subsequently register your child as British after you have acquired permanent residence in the UK. If you are a European national and your child was born on or after 30 April 2006, your child is born British if you have acquired permanent residence in the UK prior to your child’s birth. 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 - please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 22-Mar-17 @ 11:17 AM
My quarts (4 children were born at the same time)children were born in london in 1991 after their born I took them back to my homeland Iran now that they have gat highest rank and highest dgree of universities education are intrested to be settled in UK. Is there any chance to help them via special home officediscretion or any other ways
M.p.naraghi - 22-Mar-17 @ 6:50 AM
@Alex and @Oki your children are probably British citizens but you will have to prove you or your partners were permanent residents at the time of their birth which means that you will have to show that you had exercised EU treaty rights and met the residency requirements for permanent residency for 5 years prior to their birth.
TJ. - 21-Mar-17 @ 2:57 PM
Iam português I live in UK for 16 years my daughter is 10 years oldcan I apply for British passport for my daughter
Alex - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:43 PM
Hi My child was born on Sep/2005. My wife and are are Spanish citizen living in the UK since 1998. We have P60 and other docs but not a single document about residency in the UK. I think my child is British citizen. Can my child apply for British passport right away ? Thanks
oki - 20-Mar-17 @ 11:47 PM
@Lit your child will automatically be a British citizen if the father had a valid ILR at the time of the birth of the child.
TJ. - 20-Mar-17 @ 2:05 PM
@Joni Duro you are not a British citizen if your parents did not have permanent status in the UK at the time of your birth. You also cannot become a British citizen if your parents did not later on acquire permanent status in the UK. If you lived in the UK for 10 years after your birth and are still living in the UK you may apply to register as a British citizen if you meet certain other requirements like good character.
TJ. - 20-Mar-17 @ 2:04 PM
@Dentist you should already be a British Citizen if your parents' ILR was valid at the time of your birth
TJ. - 20-Mar-17 @ 2:00 PM
Hello, I was born in the U.K. in feb 1992, my parents had indefinite leave to remain when I was born and they were married. Can I apply for british citizenship?
Dentist - 18-Mar-17 @ 9:34 PM
I am 15 years old. I have born in UK in 22 April 2001 but my parents and had come from Kosovo and they have not the right to stay in UK so we have come back to Kosovo. So i want to get a british citinzenship and i have all the documents since i was born in there. So what should i do?
Joni Duro - 18-Mar-17 @ 11:38 AM
My child is borm here his father has a indefinite will my child automatically became a british citizen
Lit - 17-Mar-17 @ 7:41 PM
Ru - Your Question:
Hello,My son was born last week. I'm Irish and my wife is Peruvian. We've only been living in the UK the last 6 months. Will my son be entitled to British citizenship?Kind regards,Ruairi

Our Response:
Unless you or your wife is classed as a British citizen, then your child would not be eligible for British citizenship.
AboutImmigration - 17-Mar-17 @ 2:03 PM
mimie - Your Question:
Lam a woman aged 37, l lived in the UK for about 10 years and l got married and and gave birth to my daughter in UK but l left UK about 10 years ago and right now lam based in Zimbabwe which is my home country, My problem now is my daughter is giving me problems she does not want to stay in zimbabwe anymore and it is now affecting her education and it is now affecting everyone because she sometimes shouts at her teachers and l dont know what to do , if there is a way that you can help me may you please help me, lam desperate

Our Response:
I'm afraid unless you and your daughter are British citizens, you cannot return to live in the UK without a visa.
AboutImmigration - 17-Mar-17 @ 10:41 AM
lam a woman aged 37, l lived in the UK for about 10 years and l got married and and gave birth to my daughter in UKbut l left UK about 10 years ago and right now lam based in Zimbabwe which is my home country, My problem now is my daughter is giving me problems she does not want to stay in zimbabwe anymore and it is now affecting her education and it is now affecting everyone because she sometimes shouts at her teachers and l dont know what to do , if there is a way that you can help me may you please help me, lam desperate
mimie - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:51 PM
pphkim85- Your Question:
I just came to uk 4months ago. I hold tier 2 visa. If I have born a baby in uk on 2017/2018. Can I apply for her/him Bristish citizen? And I have a first child (18months) under tier 2 visa too. can I apply citizen for her too? "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."

Our Response:
Unless you or the other parent are British citizens or hold ILR, then you would not be able to register your children as British citizens.
AboutImmigration - 16-Mar-17 @ 11:05 AM
Abs - Your Question:
I was born in the U.K. in 1992 my dad had indefinite leave to remain when I was born my parents never got married can I apply for British citizenship

Our Response:
You don't say whether your dad is still in the UK and still has UK ILR. You can check if you can apply here.
AboutImmigration - 15-Mar-17 @ 2:01 PM
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