Immigration and nationality law following surrogacy agreements

A surrogacy arrangement is, broadly speaking, where a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. Under section 2(1) of the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985, it is a criminal offence for a person on a commercial basis to initiate or take part in a surrogacy agreement in the UK. Many families in the UK opt for countries where commercial surrogacy is lawful, such as the USA and Ukraine. However, children born out of surrogacy arrangements will not necessarily be born British, even when the commissioning parents are British. This is mainly because of the definition of “father” and “mother” under British nationality law. Questions then arise as to the…

11th October 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

The Theis case: immigration and nationality law for adopted children

The story of Patrick Thies, a US NHS surgeon who had to return to the US to apply for a new visa for his two adopted children while his British wife and biological son remained in the UK, made the news a couple of weeks ago. Immigration and nationality law as it relates to international adoption is undoubtedly complex and a topic with which only a few practitioners are familiar. There are numerically very few international adoption cases, after all. The inevitable cross over with family law does not make it any easier. This blog post provides an overview of the subject. Types of adoption The first thing to note…

21st August 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Can a child stateless by “choice” be registered as a British citizen?

Under the British Nationality Act 1981, a child who is born in the UK and is (and always has been) stateless is entitled to register as a British citizen. See Schedule 2, Paragraph 3: 3 (1) A person born in the United Kingdom or a British overseas territory after commencement shall be entitled, on an application for his registration under this paragraph, to be so registered if the following requirements are satisfied in his case, namely— (a) that he is and always has been stateless; and (b) that on the date of the application he was under the age of twenty-two; and (c) that he was in the United Kingdom…

6th July 2017 By Nick Nason

Hundreds of children refused British citizenship on character grounds

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that 415 children aged 10-18 have been refused British citizenship on character grounds. The power to refuse citizenship on character grounds was controversially extended from adults to children as young as 10 in 2010. The refusals include 25 of children aged 10-13, 95 of children aged 14-15 and 300 of children aged 16-17. It is the refusals of children aged 10-13 that are most obviously absurd but all the refusals are highly questionable on moral grounds. What could the 25 children aged 10-13 have done to be refused on character grounds? Or, to look at it another way, what child can truly be…

26th January 2015 By Colin Yeo