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Is Your Child Eligible for British Citizenship? (Part 2)

In the last blog post entitled ‘Is Your Child Eligible for British Citizenship?’ we explored whether a child born in the UK can qualify as a British citizen and the routes available to register a child as a British citizen. In this post we will explore whether a child born outside the UK can qualify as a British citizen and the routes available.

There are a number of provisions in the British Nationality Act 1981 under which a child has the entitlement to register as a British citizen if they were born outside the UK. Consideration should first be given to whether a child is British otherwise than by descent, i.e. is not automatically entitled to British citizenship through having a British parent who was born in the UK or naturalised as a British citizen before the child was born. Subsequently, consideration should be given to whether it may be possible to register the child for British citizen through the alternative routes outlined below:

Registration as a British citizen Option 1 – Section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981:

Children are entitled to registration under section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born outside the UK
  • at the time of the birth they had a parent who was a British citizen by descent
  • they are under the age of 18 when the application is made
  • the child and both of their parents were in the UK at the beginning of the 3 year period ending with the date of the application
  • the child and both of their parents have not been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in that 3 year period
  • the consent of both parents is given to the application
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10

Registration as a British citizen Option 2 – Section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981:

Children are entitled to registration under section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born outside the UK
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10
  • either parent was a British citizen by descent at the time of the child’s birth
  • the mother or father of the parent in question became or but for their death would have become, a British citizen otherwise than by descent either:
  • on 1 January 1983
  • at the time of the parent’s birth
  • the child’s parent in question must
  • have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 3 years at any time before the child’s birth
  • have been in the UK at the beginning of that 3 year period
  • not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in that 3 year period

What if your child does not meet the registration requirements?

The discretionary provision for the registration of a child under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 is also available to children born outside the UK. The Home Secretary may exercise discretion, in the same way, if:

  • the applicant is under 18 at the date of the application
  • if aged 10 years or over on the date of application the applicant is of good character
  • they think fit to register them

You may wish to speak to our barristers for expert legal advice if your child does not fit the requirements set out above under section 3(2), or section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981; we can provide advice as to whether they may be able to obtain British citizenship by discretion.

The process for Registering a your child as a British citizen

The process for registering a child as a British citizen is the same regardless of whether the child was born in the UK or outside the UK. This application can be made online through the UKVCAS system, meaning you will need to provide biometrics.

 Applications cost £1012 with an additional £19.20 biometrics fee. Please note that your child may also be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony which costs £80. Applications can take up to 6 months to be determined. In our experience, applications take approximately 2-4 months but this may now be affected as a result of the pandemic.

What if my application for registration as a British citizen is refused?

You may wish to speak to our barristers if your child’s application for registration as a British citizen has been refused. Our barristers will be able to advise on the merits of making a request for reconsideration of the decision. They will also be able to assist with the preparation for reconsideration, if appropriate.

Contact Our Immigration  Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with applications to register a  child as a British citizen, contact our Nationality Barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.




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