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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Jan 2021 | 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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My pregnant girlfriend who holds a South African passport, but has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, visited her mother in South Africa for Christmas and now refuses to return to the UK to give birth to my child. What if anything can be done please?
Prof - 21-Jan-21 @ 10:46 AM
Hi I have already Residence card (leave to remain)under 10 years parent route I’m pregnant and i want to know what my child will be eligible to get when he will born? Thnx
Ro - 14-Aug-20 @ 11:39 PM
I am a British national since birth and I and married to a Mexican lady for 2 years now.If we have a child and the child is born in the UK. Does my wife get residency also? Or how does it work. It seems a very grey area. Thanks
Aj - 10-Aug-20 @ 2:40 AM
If im pregnant but im from mexico and i wanna give birth in the uk cause the dad is british, i am allowed to have a free birth? Or do i need to pay even if one parent has british citizen?
Baog - 5-Jun-20 @ 1:41 AM
Hi, I am expecting a baby in the next couple of weeks and I want to know if the baby will receive a british citizenship. I have an Irish citizenship and my husband is Romanian. We have lived in the UK for 1 year. I have previously lived in Northern Ireland for a few years and hold NINO since 2014. I was told from several people that the child won’t receive a British passport because we have not lived in the UK for more than 5 years. We are wondering after the birth of the baby, what will we have to do for him to get an Irish passport if he wont be granted a UK one? Where will we have to apply /go How long will the process take? Many thanks in advance for your information.
Diana - 27-May-20 @ 11:00 PM
Hi I'm eu student in uk. I am currently pregnant. I want to know if I can bring my baby daddy to the uk. He is a Nigerian, currently living in Nigeria. I want to know if it is possible to bring him here so there will be someone to take care of the child if I'm to be busy for school work. And I don't want to bring up my child alone, I want her father to be around. If it is possible, what procedure should I follow. Thank you I will be waiting for reply.
Pat - 30-Apr-20 @ 1:02 PM
Hello there I have a question and dnt know if this is the right platform..well my question is for overstaying..here it goes in 2015 I overstayed..was supposed to be there for 6months but stayed 2years..I am from Botswana and had non visa as We allowed to visit for 6 months as family visitors..so when I was there I got pregnant and came back home to Botswana..but now I want to go back..the time I left nothing was written on my passport wether um banned or what..I left voluntarily.. Now I want to go back to Uk so how to I know um not banned and for how long and also will I use visa this time and which one..I really want my son to just go see his father and get to know him please..how to I go about it Thank yoi
Jenny - 26-Feb-20 @ 4:57 PM
I am italian passport holder and my husband also I am pregnant what kind of passport my baby can get italian or British
Sunny - 17-Jan-20 @ 3:34 PM
We are Egyptians , were travelling to USA and I had a connection flight at london and I land in London due to unexpected water broke and my baby born in london unintentionally. Is it the baby eligible for uk citizenship?
Lorine - 1-Jan-20 @ 11:26 PM
Hi, my friend is Polish and has 2 UK-born children. Her ex-partner is British. They were never married under UK law, but they have been together for years, and lived in a house that was solely under his name. They both have parental responsibility. Their relationship has gone sour, and she understands that he could have her removed at any point. He is currently not living there, but comes and goes as he pleases to see the children. What can she do to safeguard her parental rights? She has little money, and the prospect of her being forced into a position where she has to leave her children is becoming a reality. The father has never really engaged in the day-to-day labour of bringing up the kids, and will simply tell her he's going to work and they are her problem. Any advice would be appreciated! Many thanks in advance.
RandomOrchid - 30-Dec-19 @ 11:46 PM
NIKKY - 29-Dec-19 @ 9:49 PM
If a divorcee with UK permanent residence staying at the back of the card 'family member of EEA national' remarries someone outside the UK, can he file for his wife with that permanent residence document? If no, how can his wife join him? Thank you.
B - 25-Dec-19 @ 2:09 PM
My son born September 16 here in London but heis now in the Philippines by law how I will apply my son to comeback here as he’s born here in uk he’s 8 yrs old now
Aice - 11-Dec-19 @ 6:04 PM
Hello. Me and my wife are from ROMANIA. We leave in UK from fore then 5 years. I have Settle status in UK. WE have a baby 27 months old. Baby it's born in UK. I still need to apply for settle status for him? Or I need to apply for British citizenship? Thanks.
Alinnitu - 13-Oct-19 @ 10:35 AM
Hello. I’m Ukrainian, my husband is British. We live in Dubai. If I’ll come to UK and live 3 month before my delivery - would I be able to use free delivery services, please?
Nina - 12-Oct-19 @ 2:44 PM
Dear, I did the application as a family settlement. But I have been resident of the United Kingdom for the past 16 years. I am an EEA member andmarried, firstborn in France, he is 15 years old came at 1weeks he did all his study from nursery primary school then secondary schooland now he prepares GCSE 2020, second-born in the Uk he has 9 years old. I have never been out of the country in the past 10 years more than a week. I am working my partner has a permanent resident card. I will like to apply for British passport for all of us. Thanks
Gladys - 1-Sep-19 @ 9:00 AM
Hi, could I ask a question? My son had got his ILR of UK at 2010.He back to China for work recently few years. His wife is Chinese citizen, she will delivery a baby in next few month. My question is if the baby born in UK, can he/she get British citizenship ?
Tim - 18-Aug-19 @ 8:41 PM
@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
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