HC Deb 18 July 2002 vol 389 c552W
Mr. Roy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account is taken of whether a child was conceived within a lawful marriage overseas in determining right of entry to the United Kingdom to join a parent who is a British national. [69733]

Beverley Hughes

Under the Immigration Rules, a child aged 18 or under can be granted entry to join one parent in the United Kingdom, provided that the other parent is dead or that the parent here had had sole responsibility for their upbringing. A parent is defined as the father as well as the mother of an illegitimate child (where he is proved to be the father).

Illegitimate birth overseas to a British citizen father and non-British citizen mother would usually mean that the child was not a British citizen. However, discretion within the British Nationality Act 1981 can be used to register as a British citizen the illegitimate child of a British citizen father. Also, if the parents of an illegitimate child subsequently marry, and the law of the country in which the father is domiciled legitimises a child of the relationship upon the parents' marriage, the child will be treated as having been born legitimate. The child would then be regarded as a British citizen from birth and would be entitled to enter and remain freely in this country.