Surrogacy & Immigration

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For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767


Travelling abroad to enter into a surrogacy agreement is becoming increasingly common, but it is as legally complex as it is emotionally challenging. Surrogacy is legal in a relatively small number of countries. In some, such as India and Nepal, laws have been tightened in recent years due to perceived abuses by commissioning parents. In the UK it is possible, but cannot be a commercial transaction (“reasonable expenses” only may be paid). It is absolutely essential that you get advice on the processes involved at an early stage.  Many couples leave immigration and nationality questions to one side while they choose a clinic and take advice about a Parental Order; it is far better to consult with lawyers who understand all aspects of international surrogacy.

To speak to one of our solicitors about your surrogacy arrangements and how to make a successful application. Call us today on 0300 131 6767 or complete our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you.

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Key considerations

First of all, consider your own status; it makes a significant difference if you are a British citizen by birth, adoption etc, or British by descent having been born overseas. It is further complicated if you are not British, but are a foreign national settled in the UK, or if you are an EU citizen with permanent residence here. Your domicile will also be relevant, so take advice if you are British but have lived overseas for an extended period.

Next, what is your civil status? Single, married, civil partners, or long-term cohabitees – each situation raises different possibilities.

You must then consider the precise nature of the proposed surrogacy arrangement:

  • Partial surrogacy is where the surrogate mother is the genetic mother, whose eggs are fertilised with sperm from the commissioning father
  • Total surrogacy occurs where both ovum and sperms are from the commissioning parents

In either case, a genetic link exists between the child and at least the commissioning parent. If there is no genetic link – that is, no gametes from the commissioning couple are used – a Parental Order cannot be made in favour of those parents. Adoption would be their only option – an expensive and time-consuming process.

For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

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What does the law say?

Under UK nationality law, the default position is that the mother and father of a child are considered to be the woman who carries and gives birth to the child and her husband. Therefore, a married surrogate mother may not be your best option.

If your child is born to a surrogate who is single (unmarried, divorced, widowed – evidence may be required), then the child has an automatic claim to British nationality if the commissioning father is British, has a genetic link to the child and is able to pass on his nationality (e.g. is a British national by birth). In this case, a first British passport application may be made for the child.

However, it can take several weeks, if not months, to process applications for children born through surrogacy overseas, so you may face an extended stay overseas once your child is born. All applications are processed in the UK: the British Embassy or High Commission cannot offer assistance.

If the child gains the nationality of its country of birth (as in the USA, for example) it is often quicker to obtain a US passport to facilitate travel back to the UK, and then deal with the British nationality case here. Doing things this way also speeds up the Parental Order application, which must usually begin within 6 months of the child’s birth.

What if the surrogate mother is married? Where it can be shown that her husband did not consent to the arrangement, you may be fine, but this will be difficult to prove.  In all other cases, the child will not automatically be British, so an application to register as a British citizen, at the discretion of the Home Secretary, will be required.  This can be a lengthy process, further delaying the entry of the child into the UK, and of course is not available to parents who, for example, are not British citizens themselves.  In that scenario, a visa application will be required on behalf of the child to facilitate entry to this country.

To speak to one of our solicitors about a surrogacy arrangement and how to make a successful application, call us today on 0300 131 6767 or complete our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you.

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How we can help

The expert solicitors at Latitude Law can provide expert advice on all aspects of international surrogacy. We can provide detailed guidance about legal requirements and assist you in preparing the correct passport, citizenship or visa application for your child.

For a FREE initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

Why choose Latitude Law

Latitude Law has significant experience of advising couples and individuals considering international surrogacy. Working with trusted family law specialist, we have assisted clients with tackling some of the most complex issues that can arise from these arrangements.

Thanks to our extensive knowledge of immigration and nationality law, we are able to provide pragmatic advice that meets our clients’ needs.

Working with a law firm can be a big decision, which is why we ensure that our clients are at the heart of everything we do. We are a highly driven team that is dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice.

As a boutique law firm specialising in UK-inbound immigration, and with particular expertise in British nationality law, our experts understand the complexity and uncertainty that constantly shifting visa and residence policies create for families seeking advice in this complex area. Our lawyers can provide up-to-the-minute legal advice on how any changes will impact your application.

We are pleased to be recognised as a leading law firm by the following independent bodies: The Times Best Law Firms 2024, Chambers & Partners 2024, Legal 500 2024 and Who'sWhoLegal 2024. These endorsements from the international legal directories demonstrate our integrity and success in dealing with difficult cases. We are also proud of our 5-star Google reviews from over 150 satisfied clients.

Call us today on 0300 131 6767 or fill out our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you. Let our legal experts take the uncertainty out of your international surrogacy arrangement so you can start your successful journey towards building your family in the UK.

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Contact us

As the requirements for acquiring British citizenship for surrogate children are extremely complex, to ensure success, you should seek specialist advice from an immigration solicitor before you proceed with an application. Latitude Law’s specialist lawyers can advise you about your individual requirements and ensure that your supporting documentation is compliant with the very latest immigration rules.

Get in touch with our legal team today on 0300 131 6767 or fill out our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you. Face your future knowing you have the dedicated support of one of our expert lawyers.

Our other relevant visa services

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Adoption & Immigration

The Immigration Rules on international adoption have always been complex, because there is such a wide variety of potential adoption scenarios across borders, ranging from formal adoptions pursued via professional adoption agencies, to family arrangements which come out of often difficult circumstances, for example relatives abroad unable to care for all their children.

For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

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