United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Permanent Residency - Your Unborn Children

Listen to our RECENT WEBINAR where our two British nationality experts - Philip Gamble and Mishal Patel - discuss the ways in which children under 18 can have rights to British nationality.

With residency in the United Kingdom, the question around what nationality your unborn children will take becomes crucial. In most cases, people want to pass on their "Britishness" to their children, especially if they perhaps leave the UK and have children abroad. So then the question arises:

How "British" are you, and what nationality do I pass to my children?

The two cases to consider are:

  • Your future children are born in the UK, or
  • Your future children are born outside the UK (i.e. abroad)

1. Your child is born in the UK

What is crucial here is the status of the parent at the time of birth. If either parent has "Settled" status - that is, they are British or they hold indefinite leave - then the child will be British at the time of birth.   Additionally, a child born to parents who do not have either British Citizenship or Indefinite leave can later apply to make that child British if either parent later acquires indefinite leave and the application is made before the child’s 18th birthday.

2. Your child is born outside of the UK

If the parent has spent 2 or 3 years in the UK and is British by Descent, then it is equally possible that the child can become British. It requires the parent in question to have been British at the time of the child's birth. In more obscure circumstances (and covered by other legislation), it is also possible to acquire British Citizenship for the child if:

  • the parent in question later acquires British Nationality before the child's 18th birthday.
  • the child is born "Stateless", in which case British Nationality is automatically granted

The usual requirements are:

  • Child under the age of 18
  • Born to a British parent (OR to a parent who would have been classified British had it not been for gender discriminatory legislature before 1983, or to a parent who renounced British Nationality before the child's birth but resumed it afterwards, OR subsequently becomes British).
  • This British parent spent 3 years in the United Kingdom (with no more than 270 days of absence during those 3 years - in other words, as long as they spent 2 and a quarter years actually resident in the UK)


the parent of this parent (i.e. the child's relevant grandparent) was born in the United Kingdom


the parent of this parent (i.e. the child's relevant grandparent) was Registered as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies in a Commonwealth country that was at the time independent of British Rule


the parent of this parent (i.e. the child's relevant grandparent) was born in a UK Colony (and remained a Citizen of the UK and Colonies after Independence) and had 5 years residency in the UK.


Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth.

WhatPassport.com is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.