Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

International Surrogacy and UK Immigration Law

15 August 2019 #Immigration

Surrogacy from overseas can become a complicated matter which can take several months before you are able to bring your child to the UK. The law surrounding international surrogacy is complex and requires an assessment of international laws.

Surrogacy is only legal in very few countries and for some it is only legal for opposite sex-married couples. In the UK, it is only allowed if the surrogate mother is not paid (you can pay her reasonable expenses but not a fee).

For intended parents, it can be an important step in bringing up a child, especially when they are unable to have children of their own. The process, especially the creation of a genetic link between the intended parents, and the child, can go wrong, if the appropriate procedure is not adopted.

British Citizenship for the child

Different rules apply if the surrogate mother is single or married. If single, the child has an automatic claim to British citizenship (if that child is genetically linked to the commissioning father and can pass on British nationality). If married, the child may have to register as a British citizen (provided other requirements are met).

Visas for children born through surrogacy

If the child does not have a claim to British Citizenship (for example if all of the criteria was not properly met during the surrogacy), the parents may need to apply for entry clearance for the child to come to the UK.

Parental rights

UK Immigration Law and Family law have different requirements, and even if your child is British, you will still need to apply for a parental order in the UK to transfer legal rights from the surrogate mother to the parents.

There is only a limited period for which to apply for a parental order, and the order can be applied for even if the child is not in the UK. In some cases, the Home Office may require this order to register the child as a British citizen.

Registering the birth

If the child has an automatic claim to British citizens, you may be able to register the birth with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Complying with the laws of the foreign country where the child is born

It is important to ensure that the entire process complies with the requirements of the country where surrogacy takes place and the child is born. In some cases, you may also need exit clearance from that country’s authorities before you are allowed to leave the country with your child.

Are you thinking of having a child through surrogacy?

It is important that you seek legal advice at a very early stage. A failure to follow an orderly procedure in a timely manner can cause adverse consequences for you and your child.

Clarkslegal, specialist Immigration lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Immigration matter please contact Clarkslegal's immigration team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Immigration team
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