British citizenship by birth is available to children born in the UK or to UK nationals abroad, depending on specific requirements. Not all children born in the UK automatically receive nationality. Similarly, it is not always possible to seek citizenship based solely on the status of a child’s parents.
If you want to apply for by-birth nationality for your child, it is best to consult an experienced immigration lawyer. The London-based Adam Bernard’s British citizenship solicitors London can offer comprehensive advice and guidance in this area.
You can seek British citizenship by birth if at least one of your parents was a British citizen at the time of your birth. This usually applies if you were born outside the UK. In such a case, you automatically become a citizen of the UK.
You can also seek citizenship by descent in other cases where you do not receive it automatically. For instance, if your parents weren’t married at the time of your birth and your father was a British citizen, you can seek nationality by descent if you were born between 1983 and June 2006.
If your mother, instead of your father, was a British citizen at the time of your birth, and the two weren’t formally married, you can still apply for by-descent nationality if you were born before 1983.
Applying for nationality by descent or birth can be a complicated process due to several sub-routes and exceptions. Our British citizenship solicitors London can help you determine which route is best suited to your British citizenship application.
As noted above, not all children born in the UK are eligible for UK nationality. If you are seeking this route to citizenship for your child, they must meet the following criterion:
Children under 18 who are eligible for UK nationality must first register with the authorities. You can do so by submitting an online form and then visiting a UKVCAS-designated centre to submit your biometric details.
If you are unsure about any part of the British citizenship application process, you can consult an experienced immigration lawyer.
Children born in the UK who meet specific requirements may be eligible to automatically acquire citizenship. Children born in the UK before January 1, 1983, automatically acquire British citizenship.
One exception is if you were born during the World War 2 in the Channel Islands. Another exception is if you were born in the UK while your father was serving as a diplomat in the UK. In these two cases, you do not automatically acquire British nationality.
Others are eligible if:
An experienced immigration lawyer can help you determine whether or not a UK-born child automatically qualifies for British nationality.
An individual must be aged 18 or above to apply for British naturalisation. For children under the age of 18 who qualify for UK citizenship by birth or adoption, you must first have the child registered for citizenship.
This is done by filling out Form MN1 and submitting it to the Home Office. Applicants who file this form on behalf of a child as parents must be a resident of the UK or any other overseas territories of the UK.
As a parent submitting the form, you must fill in your personal details. Both parents must provide these details. In addition, the parents must also provide written consent that they seek the registration of their child to apply for citizenship UK.
If you are applying as a single parent, you will need to explain your unique circumstances in an additional statement attached to the form.
You will also need two referees to confirm the identity of your child for the Home Office. These referees must also provide a statement explaining why the child should be awarded citizenship status.
The form itself and the registration process, in general, can be quite complicated. It is best to get legal assistance to make sure you don’t omit anything important or make any mistakes that may cause the application to be rejected. An experienced immigration lawyer can also advise you on how to choose the right referees for your MN1 application.
For children who are eligible for a British passport but have never held one, you must first apply for a child passport. This applies to children under the age of 16. A referee who has known you for at least two years, is a UK citizen, and belongs to a recognised profession must confirm the identity of the child.
It takes around three weeks for a child passport application to be processed. An application submitted by post carries a fee of £58.50. If you apply online, the fee is £49.
You must submit the relevant documentation when applying for a child passport. Please note that UKVI only accepts original documents for a passport application. In some cases, you can submit an official copy of a relevant certificate. However, if you submit a photocopy or even a certified copy as a substitute for the original document, UKVI will not accept your application.
The relevant documentation when applying for a child passport includes: