The mother, a UK citizen with a valid British passport, has three children under 18. Two children were fathered by one man, the youngest by another. She is divorced and has custody of the children, who are not UK citizens.

Can she emigrate to England with her children, or do both parents have to live in the UK?

Edit Thought I would clarify the father is not a British Citizen and they already have permission to leave the current country it’s getting a Visa etc for the kids that’s an issue

  • 6
    Are you positive the children are not not a British citizens? (i.e. the mother is a british citizen by descent). Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 21:40
  • 2
    If she wants to move to England with her children then this question belongs on Expatriates.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 21:45
  • 4
    Note that beyond the UK situation, you may have to address the situation in the country the children are currently residing in or are citizens of. Some have strict rules about letting children out of the country without the approval of both parents. The fact that you have custody of the children should help in most cases, but possibly not all.
    – jcaron
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


As @PeterGreen says: If the mother was a British citizen born in the UK, then her children would be British citizens. You can be British citizen without having a British passport. So if the children are British citizens then there is no problem whatsoever. (Or the father might be British, which wasn't mentioned).

If the children are EU citizens, then they should be able to move to Britain without problems as well.

If the children are not British citizens and not EU citizens, and the mother is in the EU, then I believe that EU freedom of movement + Surinder Singh ruling allow the mother to move to the UK and bring her family. EU rules are important because British law alone wouldn't allow her to bring her non-British family. If living outside the EU, she could move without problems to any EU country for some time, and then move to Britain.

I don't think having the second parent in the UK is either required or helpful in this situation.

Some good information if the mother is british citizen by descent, and the children not British nor EU citizens, is available here: Which type of UK visa a child of a British citizen by descent need to apply for in order to settle in the UK?

  • 1
    Surinder Singh only applies if the mother resides in another EU/EEA state with her children. If she resides outside the EEA and the children are not British or EU citizens, she'll have to rely on some other provision of law.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 4:48

I am not sure the OP cares about landing in the UK; there is also the issue of leaving their current residence with only one parent. In many countries, this may be an issue; you should be prepared to show your custody decree when you leave.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.