Personal Immigration

British citizenship for children born in the UK

Establishing British citizenship can often be a complex matter. However, children born in the UK may, in certain circumstances, have an entitlement to British citizenship. A child’s claim to British citizenship may arise in the following (albeit non-exhaustive) circumstances:

  1. A child born in the UK whose mother or father was, at the time of birth, a British citizen or settled in the UK;
  2. A child born in the UK whose mother or father was not a British citizen or settled in the UK at the time of birth, but while the child is under the age of 18 the mother or father subsequently become settled or obtain British citizenship;
  3. A child born in the UK who has lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life.

Child born in UK to British or settled parents

Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 confirms that children born in the UK whose mother or father was either a British citizen or settled in the UK at the time of birth shall be a British citizen.

Where citizenship is claimed through the child’s father for a child born before 1 July 2006 the parents must have been married at the time of birth or, in some circumstances, where the parents subsequently marry.

A child who is British in accordance with section 1(1) acquires British citizenship at birth and therefore there is no requirement to make an application to the Home Office for registration as a British citizen.

Child born in the UK to parents who subsequently become settled

Section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 provides that where a child is born in the UK whose mother or father was not a British citizen or settled in the UK at the time of the child’s birth, but who later becomes settled or obtain British citizenship, then the child may make an application to the Home Office for registration as a British citizen provided that the application is made while the child is still under the age of 18.

Child born in the UK who has lived in the UK for 10 years

Section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states that a child born in the UK whose parents are not British or settled in the UK shall have an entitlement to register as a British citizen provided that in each of the first ten years of the child’s life, the number of days spent outside the UK does not exceed 90.

In relation to absences, section 50(10)(b) of the British Nationality Act 1981 confirms that only whole days absences from the UK are counted. Therefore the departure date from the UK and the arrival date in the UK are not considered to be absences for this purpose.

Contact Us

If you would like further advice regarding British citizenship, or in relation to any other nationality or immigration matter then please contact our experienced immigration barristers in Covent Garden, London, on 0203 617 9173 or email: info@richmondchambers.com.

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