Embarking on a surrogacy arrangement abroad can be daunting for any couple wishing to engage in the process. There are lots of things that the intended parents need to consider to ensure that the process runs smoothly.
As it currently stands, there is no single legal process for parents wishing to engage in an international surrogacy arrangement. With every case, careful attention and legal planning is required to ensure that parents are able to engage in the process without the pitfalls. It is vital that all intended parents plan properly and consider using countries that are well-established in the surrogacy field.
There are many countries across the world that welcome the process of surrogacy and it can be seen that North America, particularly California and Canada, is very popular because of its experience and laws in this specific area. For children born in Canada or the United States, they are recognised as Canadian or American citizens and parents from the UK can obtain a passport within a three month period. It is normal to expect that the majority of those parents engaged in this process travel back to the UK with the child’s/children(s) foreign passport. Parents must be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be admitted with their child/children to the United Kingdom because of visa complications, and so careful planning is required. Intended parents can, of course, apply for a British Passport or an entry clearance visa stamp in the United States prior to travel to eliminate any issues. However, parents must be aware that this can take time.
A British passport is generally only available immediately if the surrogate is unmarried and the British biological father is registered on the child’s birth certificate in the United States (for particular states). The alternative is that the child/children will be registered as a British Citizen or will have to apply for an entry clearance visa.
For other countries that are perhaps not as well-established as the United States or Canada, such as Thailand, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and India, there are multiple options to consider. It is vitally important that intended parents undertake as much research as possible to eliminate any possible pitfalls.
Intended parents are able to obtain a British passport for their child/children if he or she is born British or successfully registered as a British Citizen. Parents can apply for an entry clearance visa, which is granted on a discretionary basis where intended parents can undertake to apply for a parental order.
A visa either takes the form of a stamp in a foreign passport or a free-standing travel document if the child has no passport.
Planning is vital and parents must be prepared to stay in the birth country for a period of 4-5 months.
For more information, or a preliminary, confidential discussion contact our Fertility expert Anne-Marie Hamer.