Having A Baby In The UK: Citizenship FAQs
If you’re not a UK citizen, but you live in the UK, starting a family can bring up a whole host of questions. Will your baby have UK citizenship? What happens if you adopt a child? And if you’ve moved to the UK with your children, can they become UK citizens?
Find out everything you need to know about UK citizenship for babies and children in these citizenship FAQs.
UK citizenship eligibility for babies and children
I’m not a UK citizen and I’m due to have a baby in the UK. Will my baby automatically have UK citizenship?
Your baby’s citizenship status depends on your own citizenship status. If your baby is born after July 2021, they will be a UK citizen if:
- At least one of their parents is a British citizen, regardless of where they live
- At least one of their parents is an EU/EEA citizen living in the UK with indefinite leave to remain, settled status, right of abode, or right to re-admission (find out what these terms mean)
- Neither parent is a British, EU, or EEA citizen, but is living in the UK and has indefinite leave to remain, right to re-admission, or right of abode.
Your baby won’t become a UK citizen automatically if you’re seeking asylum, or staying in the UK on a temporary visa. When you’re allowed to live in the UK permanently, you may be able to apply for UK citizenship for your child. Learn about applying for a spouse visa in the UK, and the various types of UK visa.
My baby has already been born, and I’m unsure if they have UK citizenship. Where can I find out?
The first thing to do is to look at the criteria on the UK government website. Due to changing laws, different rules apply depending on when your child was born.
If your child was born before 1st July 2006, your child will have automatic UK citizenship if their mother meets the rules above. However, if the parent who meets the condition is their father, he must have been married to the baby’s mother at the time of the birth.
Other conditions — such as your permanent residence status, immigration control exemption, or serving in the armed forces — can also impact your child’s citizenship status.
If you’re still unsure, Citizens Advice can help you find out if your child has UK citizenship.
I live in the UK and have adopted a baby or child from outside the UK. Is my child a UK citizen?
If you’re a British citizen and your child was adopted in a UK court, they are a UK citizen. However, if you’re not a British citizen, and/or the adoption took place outside the UK, it’s not that straightforward.
UK citizenship may be granted if you are a UK citizen and:
- You adopted a child in a country where adoption procedures are recognised by the UK
- The adoption is formal and permanent
- It’s clear that all adoption laws have been adhered to
- The birth parents have consented to the adoption
- The adoption isn’t taking place to get UK citizenship for the child.
Even if all these criteria are met, UK citizenship may not be granted — each case is at the government’s discretion.
I’m not sure if my child is an automatic UK citizen. How can I find out?
Citizens Advice can help you find out if your child is eligible for British citizenship. Get in touch with them or find your nearest Citizens Advice location. Many Citizens Advice advisors speak multiple languages to make it easier for you to find the answers you need.
Applying for UK citizenship for babies and children
I’ve moved to the UK with my child. Can I apply for UK citizenship for them?
You can apply for UK citizenship for your child if you are legally settled in the UK. That means you can live here indefinitely. You can also apply if you joined the British armed forces after your child was born.
At what age can I apply for UK citizenship for my child?
If your child meets the eligibility criteria above, you can apply for UK citizenship for them at any age.
You can also apply for your child to have UK citizenship if they have lived in the UK until at least the age of 10. This applies even if you don’t have indefinite leave to remain.
If your child has any criminal convictions and they’re over the age of 10, this may affect the success of their application.
How can I apply for UK citizenship for my child?
You should apply for UK citizenship through the gov.uk website. Most eligible children (or parents on behalf of their children) can apply using form MN1.
How much does it cost to apply for UK citizenship for a child?
It costs £1,012 to apply for UK citizenship for a baby or child. Once paid, this won’t be refunded, even if your application is unsuccessful or not required (i.e. if your child has automatic UK citizenship).
I’m applying for citizenship for myself and my child. Do I need to create separate applications?
Yes — form MN1 must only be used to apply for citizenship for a person under the age of 18 at the time of application. Adults applying for citizenship should review the application information and find the relevant form.
How long does it take to get UK citizenship for a child?
The process can take up to 6 months, but most decisions are made within 2-3 months. It can take longer if there are complex circumstances around your application.
Other UK citizenship FAQs
How can I apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
When you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. If this is granted, you’ll no longer need to apply to extend your stay in the UK. When you have indefinite leave to remain for 12 months, you can apply for UK citizenship.
Can I get British citizenship through my child?
No — children can gain citizenship through their parents, but not the other way round. However, you may be able to get UK citizenship if you:
- Are married to a UK citizen
- Have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or another type of settled/permanent status
- Have at least one parent who is a British citizen.
Does a baby need a passport to travel?
Yes. If you’re travelling with an infant, they need their own passport. If you can’t get a British passport for your baby, you’ll need to apply for a passport from the country where they are a citizen.
How can I get a British passport for my child?
If your child is a UK citizen, you can apply for a UK passport on their behalf. If not, you should apply for UK citizenship before you can get a British passport for them.
Can my child have dual citizenship?
The UK allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship. That means they can be a citizen of more than one country at the same time. However, not all other countries accept or allow dual citizenship, so if you’re considering applying for British citizenship for your child, make sure you know how this will affect other citizenship(s) they hold.
Start planning for your family’s future
It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future in the UK. Regardless of their citizenship status, you’ll want to think about how you can provide for your child in years to come. Learn more about saving for your children’s future in the UK.
This information is accurate at the time of writing (17th June 2022). It is for information and guidance purposes only and shouldn’t be used as legal advice. If you need further information about UK citizenship, refer to the gov.uk website or Citizens Advice.