International surrogacy has become increasingly common due to the lower costs, availability of donors, and liberalised laws abroad, particularly in the US, India, and Ukraine. Nonetheless, the process for getting your child back to the UK can be long and complicated, and can take several months to complete.
Section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows children who are not automatically entitled to British citizenship at birth to be registered as British Citizens at the discretion of the Home Secretary. The Home Office must be satisfied that:
- At least one of the commissioning parents is a British Citizen.
- The surrogate parents have consented.
- You are the legal parents under UK law (see section on Parental Rights).
- Had the child been born to the commissioning couple legitimately, s/he would have had an automatic claim to British citizenship or would have qualified for registration under the Act 1981.
Once your child is registered as a British Citizen, s/he will be eligible for a British passport. In certain cases, the Home Office requires a parental order in order to register the child as a British Citizen. In order to avail a parental order, the parents must be in the UK. As such, you must obtain entry clearance for your child to travel to the UK. However, this is a complex process and the circumstances of the birth will determine whether you are eligible for Indefinite Leave or a shorter leave for a period of twelve months.
We provide full advice and assistance in relation to immigration issues resulting from international surrogacy arrangements. If you are considering an international surrogacy arrangement, then we recommend that you consider a detailed consultation to discuss the circumstances leading to an application for entry clearance, registration as a british citizen, and full citizenship.