- Bringing your surrogate child to the UK
- Who are the legal parents of a surrogate child?
- Registering your surrogate child as a British citizen
- Filing a Parental Order to become the legal parent of your surrogate child
- Applying for a UK visa for your child
- Applying for a British passport for your child
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently asked questions
Bringing your surrogate child to the UK
Surrogacy is legal in the UK but the laws are often restrictive which means that many parents choose to opt for international surrogacy. Although surrogacy is becoming increasingly popular, the complex laws make it difficult and if the child is born overseas this causes further complexities surrounding immigration and nationality law.
It is possible to bring your surrogate child to the UK but a surrogate child may not hold British nationality and might require a visa to come to the UK. The easiest and quickest route to bringing your child home will depend on several factors including the child’s nationality at birth, who the legal parents are and the child’s birth country.
A few of the routes towards bringing your surrogate child to the UK include:
- Applying for a British passport if the child is a British national at birth
- Registering your child as a British citizen and then applying for a UK passport
- Filing for a parental order so that you can become the legal parents of your child and pass on British nationality
- Applying for a visa for your child to come to the UK
Who are the legal parents of a surrogate child?
When bringing a surrogate child to the UK you should consider the child’s nationality and immigration options at birth first, the options available will depend on who the child’s legal parents at birth our as this is who the child will get their nationality from.
Surrogate parents are known as intended parents and under UK law are not the legal parents at birth, this is why the nationality of a surrogate child is not always the same nationality as the intended parents.
A surrogate mother is always the child’s legal mother at birth for nationality reasons and if she is married her spouse will be the child’s father or second legal parent. If the surrogate mother is not married then the intended father will be the legal father as long as he has a genetic connection to the child. If the intended father is not the biological father of the child then the child will not have a legal father at birth.
The above information can be used to work out your surrogate child’s nationality. If one of the child’s legal parents at birth is a British citizen otherwise than by descent then the child will hold British nationality at birth, even if born overseas. As a British national your child will be entitled to a British passport that can be used to travel to the UK.
Registering your surrogate child as a British citizen
A child born through surrogacy who is not considered to be British at birth can usually be registered as a British citizen. The Home Office can make special allowances for surrogate cases, to register your surrogate child as a British citizen you will usually need to apply for them to be registered at the Home Office’s discretion, most British surrogate parents are eligible for this.
When applying to register your surrogate child as a British citizen you may need to prove that the intended mother is recognised as the child’s mother in the child’s country of birth.
Once your surrogate child is registered as a British citizen they will then be eligible for a British passport which can be used to bring them to the UK.
Filing a Parental Order to become the legal parent of your surrogate child
If your child is not British at birth and is not eligible for registration then another way that you can bring them to the UK is by filing a Parental Order. A Parental Order is the way that legal parental responsibility is transferred to the intended parents in UK law. In 2010 the law was updated so that a surrogate child becomes a British citizen when a parental order is made providing that one of the parents is British.
It doesn’t matter whether the parent is British otherwise than by descent or by descent, with a Parental Order the child will be recognised as a British national either way and will then be eligible for a British passport.
However, using a Parental Order is usually a much longer process of bringing your child to the UK than it is when they are British at birth or registered as a British citizen. This is because the surrogate mother can only give her consent to a parental order 6 weeks after giving birth. Usually, most intended parents wish to bring their surrogate child to the UK sooner than the time it takes to be granted a parental order, if this applies to you then you should consider the other immigration options first.
Applying for a UK visa for your child
If you are not eligible for any of the above routes then may be able to bring your surrogate child to the UK by applying for an entry clearance visa for them. If the intended father is also the legal father at birth then the surrogate child can be eligible for entry clearance under the Immigration Rules as a dependent child. If this is not the case then you can apply for entry clearance outside the rules at the discretion of the Home Office providing at least one intended parent has a genetic connection to the child.
An application for entry clearance for a surrogate child can be made at a British Embassy in the child’s country of birth as well as a number of other types of diplomatic posts. To make an application you will need to submit form VAF2 alongside the following supporting documents:
- The child’s passport
- 2 recent passport-sized photographs
- The child’s original birth certificate
- Evidence from the clinic you commissioned in your Surrogacy arrangement, confirming that at least one intended parent is genetically related to the child
- Any adoption or guardianship order if applicable
- Passports of the intended parents or other evidence to show that you have settled status in the United Kingdom, such as a birth certificate
- Evidence that the intended parents meet the requirements for a Parental and that they intend to apply for one within 6 months of the child’s birth
You may also need to provide additional documents and could also be asked to attend a visa interview.
Applying for a British passport for your child
Once your surrogate child is officially recognised as a British citizen you can apply for their first British passport, this will allow you to bring them to the UK and can be used to prove their status as a British citizen.
You can apply for your child’s first British passport either online or by post. Passport applications for a surrogate child are more complex than other child passport applications, you will be required to submit a number of additional documents, including:
- A letter detailing your surrogacy arrangement
- Evidence of your surrogacy treatment, such as a letter from the clinic where it took place
- Proof that your child has a claim to British nationality
- Proof of your identities, such as a passport or birth certificate
- Proof of your marriage or civil partnership if applicable to your situation
If you have been granted a Parental Order you will also need to submit the Parental Order and a copy of your child’s birth certificate that was issued after the order.
How can IAS help?
When it comes to international surrogacy one of the most important factors for you to consider is how you will bring your child to the UK. The immigration process of bringing a child born through surrogacy to the UK can be complex. Our immigration lawyers are trained in all areas of UK immigration law and can provide assistance with international surrogacy cases.
Our lawyers can speak with you about your situation and offer professional legal advice about the best routes available to you when it comes to bringing your child to the UK. The types of immigration applications that you will need to make to bring your child to the UK will vary depending on your personal circumstances but our immigration lawyers can assist with:
- Applications to register for British citizenship
- The filing of Parental Orders
- Applications for entry clearance for a child
- A British passport application for your child
Our immigration team are passionate about helping families be together, no matter how complex your situation may be we can help.
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Surrogacy is legal in the UK, however commercial surrogacy is not legal in the UK and UK residents can only pay surrogate mothers reasonable expenses related to the pregnancy.
Surrogacy laws in the UK tend to be more restrictive than several other countries so many couples choose to opt for international surrogacy in countries like the United States and Canada, however, this creates complications surrounding immigration processes.
Intended parents are couples and individuals who use the method of surrogacy to have a child. Under UK law intended parents are not the legal parents of a surrogate child at birth. To become the legal parents, intended parents must file for a Parental Order within 6 months of the child’s birth.
Yes, it is possible for a surrogate child born abroad to be a British citizen but this is not always the case. If the birth mother or legal father is British then a surrogate child born abroad will usually be born British. If this is not the case then the child may still be eligible to be registered as a British citizen.