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Giving Birth to a Child in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Jan 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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@Gary29 if her child is born in the UK the child will be a British citizen if the father's paternity can be proved. If born out of the UK the child's entitlement to British citizenship will be determined by the type of British citizenship the father holds.
TJ. - 19-Jan-17 @ 8:02 PM
@Dya you cannot apply for a British passport for your child unless the child's father is a British citizen otherwise than by descent and you can prove paternity.
TJ. - 19-Jan-17 @ 7:57 PM
Please I came to the uk 2013 on a tier 4 visa for a 3yrs course and during the course of my study I fell pregnant and gave birth here in the uk, had some issues in my final year at my university that made me stay back and my little one was poorly and was still see the Paediatrics as at that time, the GP gave me a TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN LETTER which enable me to apply for FLRO but my application was rejected and my home countryhas refused to give issue my child an Emergency travel documents and they have no passport booklet to issue as well this has been happening since October 2016 and the home office is aware of all this and has it in my record. Please can I apply for a uk passport for my child?
Dya - 19-Jan-17 @ 12:54 PM
Adrian - Your Question:
Hi, I got indefinite in UK and recently my wife and my daughter got spouse visa to enter to UK. My daughter she born in UK 2010 and for personnel reason they left 2011 and back to UK both as dependent, Can my daughter applied for British citizenship while she holding dependent visa. Please advice me

Our Response:
You would have to read the NM1 guide here to see if you can apply on your ILR.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jan-17 @ 11:32 AM
Gary29 - Your Question:
I have an American friend who is in the country illegally, although her status is known to immigration services. She has fallen pregnant with her British citizen partner. How does the baby and herself stand on applying for British citizenship?

Our Response:
I'm afraid that regardless of your friend falling pregnant she will still have to leave the country if her appeal to remain in the country fails i.e pregnancy may not make a difference if she is in the country illegally. She would have to seek independent immigration advice to have her position fully clarified.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jan-17 @ 11:16 AM
Hi, I got indefinite in UK and recently my wife and my daughter gotspouse visa to enter to UK. My daughter she born in UK 2010and for personnel reason they left 2011 and back to UKboth as dependent, Can my daughter applied for British citizenship while she holding dependent visa. Please advice me
Adrian - 18-Jan-17 @ 3:19 PM
I have an American friend who is in the country illegally, although her status is known to immigration services. She has fallen pregnant with her British citizen partner. How does the baby and herself stand on applying for British citizenship?
Gary29 - 18-Jan-17 @ 2:19 PM
Marek - Your Question:
Hi there,I am an EU citizen living and working in the UK from May 2004 to June 2009 and from October 2014 until present time. My wife is a Chinese citizen with temporary 5 years residence permit. We are also property owners since May 2016. We will have a baby soon (due in April) born here in the UK and I wondered if, apart from the citizenship of my own country, I can apply for a British citizenship for my son after he is born.Many thanks,Marek

Our Response:
You can only apply for British citizenship for your child if either you or your wife has permanent residency, ILR, or you have been awarded your British citizenship.
AboutImmigration - 18-Jan-17 @ 1:53 PM
@Marek you may apply for the child to register as a British citizen once you or your wife have received permanent residence in the UK. If either you or your wife receive permanent residence before the child is born the child could be born as an automatic British citizen.
TJ. - 18-Jan-17 @ 1:04 PM
Hi there, I am an EU citizen living and working in the UK from May 2004 to June 2009 and from October 2014 until present time. My wife is a Chinese citizen with temporary 5 years residence permit. We are also property owners since May 2016. We will have a baby soon (due in April) born here in the UK and I wondered if, apart from the citizenship of my own country, I can apply for a British citizenship for my son after he is born. Many thanks, Marek
Marek - 18-Jan-17 @ 11:53 AM
@Jay A child born in the UK to a parent "Settled in the UK" at the time of their birth is automatically a British citizen. "Settled in the UK" has been defined as being able to live in the UK without any immigration restrictions. For EU citizens this would mean being granted Permanent Residence in the UK. Since neither you or husband had permanent residence in the UK at the time of your child's birth it is unlikely that the child is a British citizen eligible for a British passport. It is more likely that the child will be required to register as a British citizen first and can apply for a passport thereafter
TJ. - 18-Jan-17 @ 3:50 AM
@Sab A child born in the UK to a British citizen parent is automatically a British citizen and can apply for a British passport. I will therefore assume that your child was not born in the UK. Given that you were born in Bangladesh to a naturalised Briton means you are probably British by descent. British citizens by descent cannot automatically pass on British citizenship to any children born outside the UK and these children cannot apply for passports. Given that you have lived in the UK for three years before your child was born you may be able to register the child as a British citizen and after that apply for a British passport.
TJ. - 18-Jan-17 @ 3:30 AM
Jamilaomar a child born in the UK to an Irish citizen parent who is ordinarily resident in the UK is automatically a British citizen and you may apply for their passport.
TJ. - 18-Jan-17 @ 3:04 AM
DoraG Given that your husband is second generation British born, it is very likely that he is British otherwise than by descent and that your children will be automatically British citizens even if born in France and can apply for passports.
TJ. - 18-Jan-17 @ 2:38 AM
Nida A child born in the UK to an EU citizen and a Pakistani without permanent residence in the UK as in your case can only become a British citizen after the child or either of the parents meet the permanent residence requirements which include being resident in the UK for 5 years. Is your husband a German citizen? If so then your child will automatically be a German citizen whether born in Germany or in the UK and can freely move to the UK anytime and enjoy state funded ducation. If born in the UK it would be better to register the birth at the German consulate and apply for a German passport within one year of the birth. Please note Germany has very strict laws on dual citizenship with non EU countries and since the UK is likely to be out of the EU in 2 years your child may lose German citizenship if they apply for British citizenship without permission from the German government.
TJ. - 18-Jan-17 @ 2:28 AM
Can anyone help me with some advice regarding British citizenship please? I'm a Non-EU citizen with PR visa which was granted me in 2014. My husband is a EU national and has been living and always working in the UK since 2002. Although he never applied for the PR, he only has the 'EU national registration certificate', which he got in 2009. We have a child born in the UK in 2012 and we would like to apply for her British citizenship or passport. My question is: Does my daughter automatically qualify to be a British citizen or Will we need to go through that application for registration as British citizenship (MN1)? Many thanks in advance.
Jay - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:52 PM
Hi im a 37 year oldbritish citizen i was born in bangladesh my father was a british citizen before my birth who called us here to the uk when i was 9 years old along with my mother and my siblings in 1988 to live here permanantly. Im now a married lady and had a baby in 2016. and applied for first british passport for the baby, but they have refused my application on base that i couldnt give them document of how my father became british citizen. my father has passed away 23 years ago andi do not have any of his documents such as his naturalisation certificateexcept for his last british passport 1991 .Both my parents were married to each other at the time of my birth.My mother is british citizen and has her naturalisation done in 1995. But they wont except any otherdocuments other then my dads naturalisation certificate . Idont have that and now i dont know what to do. Please advise thanks
Sab - 16-Jan-17 @ 9:36 PM
DoraG - Your Question:
Hello,I'm a Ukrainian citizen married to a UK citizen living in France. I'm about to give birth to our common child here in France.I don't undertsand all the terminology and neither does my husband. He tells me he is a "regular" UK citizen born in UK to British parents who were also born in UK.I'm wondering whether the child will automatically become a UK citizen because he is born abroad to a father who is a "regular" UK citizen. Can somebody help me?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk site here which should answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:36 AM
Hello. I and my Irish husband in uk for more than 9 years I have permanent residence on my passport actually I'm applying for British citizenship. I'm Asking about my baby who is born on 27/07/2017 in uk is he British? Cause I want apply for his passport Jamilaomar
Jamilaomar - 15-Jan-17 @ 1:24 PM
Hello, I'm a Ukrainian citizen married to a UK citizen living in France. I'm about to give birth to our common child here in France. I don't undertsand all the terminology and neither does my husband. He tells me he is a "regular" UK citizen born in UK to British parents who were also born in UK. I'm wondering whether the child will automatically become a UK citizen because he is born abroad to a father who is a "regular" UK citizen. Can somebody help me?
DoraG - 15-Jan-17 @ 12:59 PM
Hello sir , I nidahave so many questions nowwhen I see so many people discuss problem here then I also try may be I can find out right way..... I am Pakistani I have Pakistani passport but now I have only 3 years vissa pass Germany but my husband have a European passport... We want to move UK just I ask if we move and after going there government give me medical free because I am pregnant 2 month I want to give birth my child in UK after birth can gverment give British citizen to my child after 5 years... If we go UK after baby birth and baby have German national passport then can we move UK easily and then government help us... About baby expenses school plzzzzzzzzzz answer me ..... Which is best for me I give birth in Germany and then move UK or before birth I move UK ..... When I come UK then how much time I can't travel in Pakistan..... Thanks regards
Nida - 14-Jan-17 @ 10:00 AM
OZT2DEP You should get a dependent tier 2 visa for your 2nd child as soon as possible if you want the child to remain the UK legally. You cannot remain in the UK after the expiry of a tier 2 visa. If you wish to remain in the UK after the expiry of your tier 2 visa you may apply to extend the visa with the same employer or apply for a new visa with a new employer before the current visa expires. If you or your spouse have been in the UK 5 years by 2018 without leaving for more than 90 days in each of those years you may also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
TJ. - 13-Jan-17 @ 7:29 PM
Hi. My husband is on a Tier 2 General Visa as he is working in the UK from Australia. Myself and 3yo son followed him and obtained Tier 2 Dependent Visas in order to stay in the UK. The visas are not due to expire until September 2018, however, we have just found out we are expecting our second child. Do we need to apply and obtain (at a cost) another dependent Tier 2 Visa once the baby is born? How long after the birth does this visa need to be applied for? On a general note, are we required to leave the UK at the expiry of the visa, or is there some grace period from the expiry date to pack up and leave. Many thanks.
OZT2DEP - 13-Jan-17 @ 4:07 PM
Ruxy A child of non British parents cannot automatically be a British citizen even if they were born in the UK. The child takes on the citizenship of one or both parents depending on the laws of the parents country of origin. Your child may however be able to apply for British citizenship if they meet the below requirements. 1. Completed MN1 application form (with 2 referees) 2. Full UK birth certificate 3. Proof that one parent has Permanent Residence Status/Indefinite Leave to Remain 4. Parent's passports – to prove nationality and identity 5. Child's EEA/other passport
TJ. - 13-Jan-17 @ 3:39 PM
Dear all, I cannot seem to find this info anywhere and the laws/ info I received seem to contradict. I am a EU citizen with a permanent residence card. I live in partnership with an EU citizen who does not yet have permanent residence rights. When I received the outcome of the application, I clearly remember the letter stating that any child of mine will automatically get the father`s citizenship if we are not married. And yet, the law states that "A child born in the United Kingdom to an EEA national after 30 April 2006 will be a British citizen if their parent had been in the United Kingdom exercising EC Treaty rights in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 for more than 5 years or has indefinite leave to remain". What am I reading wrong? If we are not married, will the child be granted with British citizenship based on my permanent residence card or I will need to 1)either be married or 2) be married to a British citizen? Can i please have a positive answer, as I really really do not want to believe this country is forcing me to get married.
Ruxy - 13-Jan-17 @ 10:11 AM
CMMD For an EEA national living in the UK, you will need to show that you are not subject to any immigration control to apply for British citizenship for yourselves or your child. This means you will probably need to first apply for Permanent Residence (PR) - You will need to demonstrate that you have contributed positively to the UK Once the PR is acquired you can then register yourselves and your child as a British Citizens.
TJ. - 13-Jan-17 @ 8:56 AM
T - If the child is born in the UK they will be automatically British - If the child is born outside the UK, the father will have to be British otherwise than by descent (In both cases above you will be required to prove the child's paternity) - If you wish to settle in the UK with your child you need to leave and re apply for a settlement visa through the 5 year route program
TJ. - 13-Jan-17 @ 8:33 AM
Hi, I am an australian national, I am pregnant from a british man who is married, I was wondering if the baby is going to get the british nationality or not? and is there any visa type that I can apply for to extend my stay because my baby will be a british. ( i m now on a student visa)
T - 13-Jan-17 @ 5:16 AM
hellow sir/madam i am mgdalena from poland.i apply in june 2016 for registration .home office took money .its 6 months finish still i not get respons any letter .i called 2 time but they cant give me soluation .please can i get any souluation please. best regred.
magdalena - 12-Jan-17 @ 6:12 PM
Hello, both my husband and I are EU citizens. We moved here more than 5 years ago and both continuously employed for more than 5 years in the Uk. I am preparing the application for our child's passport and I have some questions: Question 1: Do we need to have a residence card/permit to be able to get a British Passport for our child? Question 2: Do we need to register our child's using form MN1 before applying for a BritishPassport? I have read that "Children born in the UK to citizens of the European Economic Area may be British citizens depending on when they were born. Children born: 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. " Question 3: So, do we really need a residence card to acquire the right to apply for a British Passport for our child? Many thanks for your help!
CMMD - 12-Jan-17 @ 9:30 AM
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