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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 20 Oct 2018 | 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 visa expired for two months from now is there any way to sort out to stay legal in U.K. Even my Fiancée wants to marry me right away. If i will exit in Europe? Is there chance to come back in U.K ?
Mustard - 20-Oct-18 @ 11:52 AM
I have a 6 year old daughter. Her father and I are not married. He is married to a British Citizen and has a spouse visa. Can he not apply for my daughter a leave to remain?
Ivy - 18-Oct-18 @ 9:30 AM
@Pato - You need to ensure that your name appears on the child's birth certificate to enable the child apply for a British passport. Once the child has a British passport the mother can claim to be a single parent and there is no way they can deport either of them after that.
TJ. - 18-Oct-18 @ 9:06 AM
@Soni - You are not entitled to British citizenship or a British passport because you none of your parents were British citizens or Permanent Residents in the UK at the time of your birth.
TJ. - 18-Oct-18 @ 9:00 AM
My ex girlfriend who is an undocumented immigrant and have given birth to a child a few weeks ago and now very stressed and depressed from having problems with her social workers, informing that they might be deported. Can I help them by registering that I am the father of the child because I am a British citizen or would that make the situation worst? Please help
Pato - 17-Oct-18 @ 9:59 PM
i was born in uk on 23 may 2000 by non british parents but with non setteled time right to stay in uk.we got deported to my parents home country Albania (Eu) when i was 2 year old now i am 18 can i apply for a british passport and come back to uk.has brexit changed or will change any law for this case.
Soni - 17-Oct-18 @ 6:21 PM
@Sal - Having a British citizen child or a British citizen partner does not entitle you stay in the UK. You can only apply for leave to remain if you are a single parent.
TJ. - 17-Oct-18 @ 4:42 AM
Am pregnant 6mths and my partner is British citizen what can be done Wil I be able to stay in the UK since my visa had expired ?? What can i do at this point??
Sal - 16-Oct-18 @ 10:14 PM
@NR - Your child can only apply to have the same immigration status as you or your partner. He can apply for British citizenship when he turns 10 years
TJ. - 16-Oct-18 @ 2:43 PM
@Bahkt - Your baby will not be a British citizen because neither you or your partner are British citizens or Permanent residents. If the Home Office finds out that you have a partner your status as a dependant is at risk
TJ. - 16-Oct-18 @ 2:41 PM
My daughter is child 5 years old and born in UK and both my common-law partner and I are not British. Can my child be eligible to apply for his immigration status in the UK.
NR - 15-Oct-18 @ 12:10 PM
hi there, I am a daughter of EEA national and got UK 5 yrs residence card with Pakistani passport. I am living with my family. i am expecting my first baby. i want to know what would be my baby's status? As my partner is also a Pakistani. Right now i don't have any job and i completely depend on my dad. will my baby get a UK passport or a residence card or just a Pakistani status. thank you.
bakht - 15-Oct-18 @ 10:26 AM
@mario1972 - children born in Northern Ireland are only eligible for Irish citizenship if they have a British citizen parent at the time they were born. Her children can only apply for British passports after your daughter or her partner apply for a Permanent Residency document. Your daughter can only apply for a British passport after she applies for British citizenship. Your daughter is not eligible for Irish citizenship.
TJ. - 14-Oct-18 @ 3:30 PM
hi.my daughter came with us to northern ireland in 2007 she give a birth twins on 13 oct 2018,she is polish and her partner is polish ,can she register babys as northern irish or british citizenship?her boyfrend is 4years in northern ireland only,she is 11 years in northern ireland,and what about british or northern irish passport for her?she can aply ?Child needs her surname or may have his surname
mario1972 - 14-Oct-18 @ 12:45 PM
@PortFil - The children born in 2010 and 2015 are already British citizens so they can apply for a British passport. The other two children will have to apply for British citizenship first. In both cases you or your partner will need to first apply for a Permanent Residency document.
TJ. - 13-Oct-18 @ 12:11 PM
Hi, my husband and I are both Portuguese nationals we have lived and worked in the UK for over 19 years. We have 4 children born 2000, 2003, 2010 and 2015 they have been registered as Portuguese nationals although they were all born in the uk. Would they be eligible for a British passport? Would I need to apply for British citizenship first? Thanks
PortFil - 12-Oct-18 @ 2:46 PM
@yvz - Your wife would only remain in the UK under her British citizen child if she was a single parent. Otherwise she must leave the UK before her visa expires and apply for a spouse visa if she wishes to live in the UK
TJ. - 11-Oct-18 @ 1:27 AM
@Pay - Your daughter can only apply for British citizenship once you have a Permanent Residency document or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
TJ. - 11-Oct-18 @ 1:25 AM
Dear Madame/sir I moved to England and I am been living and working in this country since 2012. I had my daughter in 2015 born here in England. Tried to apply for brithis passport and they refuse it. The reason is I needed to be here 5 years before the child was born. What can I do for her to be able to still get the British passport? Should I apply for brithis citizenship and reapply the passport again? How does it work please? Thank you
Pay - 10-Oct-18 @ 9:30 PM
my wife has a visitor visa and will expired very soon. She gave new born baby and baby have a British passport. I have ILR card. Can she stay longer in UK legaly?
yvz - 10-Oct-18 @ 11:44 AM
@Gris - Because your child was born before you had spent 5 years in the UK, then that child is a Portuguese/Indian citizen. The child can apply to register as a British citizen using the MN1 form once you have applied for your PR Card
TJ. - 7-Oct-18 @ 10:33 AM
Hi. I am a Portuguese national living in uk since 05th June 2013. I started work on 2nd August 2013. My husband is an Indian National who came to uk on 28th January 2016. My boy was born on 03rd June 2018. I am unsure what nationality he is. Please help me out. Thank you
Gris - 6-Oct-18 @ 12:12 PM
@Nainaan - You do not require a UK birth certificate to apply for a British passport, the Romanian Birth certificate is sufficient. EU citizens will have been assured by the UK government that they will be able to come to the UK without any restriction until 2020
TJ. - 4-Oct-18 @ 3:26 PM
Hello again! My baby has a romanian birth certificate as she was born in Romania but her father is mentioned on it and she is registered on his surname too. I think I have to go to UK to obtain an UK birth certificate or a passport for her in this situation. I have many friends living in UK but everyone was telling me that starting with March, brexit will be decided and my chances will be less. That's why I am feeling a little worried and rushy maybe. Thank you once again!
Nainaan - 4-Oct-18 @ 12:58 PM
@Nainaan - If your child's father is named on the child's UK birth certificate and you have access to his documents you can apply for his British passport through the govuk website and the British embassy in your country. Romanian citizens are allowed to live in the UK without any restrictions so you can feel free to come to the UK anytime.
TJ. - 3-Oct-18 @ 2:00 PM
@SP - Anyone born in the UK before 1983 is a British citizen unless any of their parents was a diplomat in the UK at the time of their birth.
TJ. - 3-Oct-18 @ 1:57 PM
Hi! I am in a desperate position because my situation is not great. I am a single mother with a baby whose father is a british citizen. My baby is 1 year and a half now, we are living in Romania but I am willing to go back to UK as soon as possible. I don't know if my baby can be a british citizen too or what my benefits would be if I will do this step, this is the reason I am asking you. Last year I tried to call theBritish embassy to check with them my options and the best solution for my case but the number I received from Romanian embassy was wrong and I didn't know what else I should do. Please guide me in this situation or tell me what field, institution or website I should approach and contact. Thank you so much for your attention and interest.
Nainaan - 3-Oct-18 @ 11:13 AM
I was born in London in 1959 to Indian parents who lived in the UK for five years.Returned to India with parents when I was one.I hold a Indian passport.Your website suggests anyone born before 1983 in the UK is a British citizen. Does this apply to me too?
SP - 1-Oct-18 @ 3:05 PM
@Rus - If you are a Permanent Resident in the UK then your child will be an automatic British citizenif born in the UK and you are named as the father on the birth certificate. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for free maternity care under the NHS so your girlfriend needs to pay her bill.
TJ. - 30-Sep-18 @ 8:57 PM
Hi my question is as i permanent recidency holder but my girlfriend is here illegally and due to give a birth to my child soon, can a child get a British citizenship automatically,and i still not divorced from my wife with who i not live for 2 years and have a child that come up is not mine as well,waiting for advice, and if you know my girlfriend received letter for maternity hospital charge is there's any chance not to pay it.
Rus - 30-Sep-18 @ 5:08 PM
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