How to get British citizenship for child born abroad
British citizenship is normally passed down by one generation to children born outside of the UK, however this depends on where the child was born and their parents circumstances at their time of birth.
If British citizens living outside the UK have children out-of-country, the children will not always automatically receive British Citizenship by descent.
If a child born to British parents outside the UK does not qualify for automatic citizenship then they may still be able to become a British national by registering for British citizenship. Parents can register a child as a British citizen through a simple process using the application form MN1.
A child must be registered as a British citizen before they can apply for a British passport. They must also be registered before they can enter the country. Registering as a British Citizen for a child born abroad can be done at any time before the child turns 18.
Is my child automatically a British Citizen?
Usually, automatic citizenship is passed down by one generation to children born outside the UK. Generally, children who are born outside the UK will acquire British citizenship by descent if they have at least one parent who has British citizen other than by descent.
However, this is not always the case and if your child was born outside of the UK, they may not automatically have received British Citizenship.
Children born abroad could be automatic citizens depending on their parents status and when they were born. Children born:
- On or after 30 April 2006 will be British citizens if at least one parent was a British citizen at the time of their birth and could pass their citizenship onto the child.
- From 1 January 1983 to 30th June 2006 will be British citizens if their mother or father was a British citizen when they were born, however, the parents must have been married if the father had British citizenship but the mother did not.
- Before 1st January 1983 will automatically be a British citizen if their father was a citizen of the United Kingdom of colonies at the time of their birth, was married to their mother and was eligible to pass citizenship on.
How do I register my child as a British citizen?
If a child born overseas does not qualify for automatic citizenship but they do have a British parent then they may still be eligible to become a British national by registering for citizenship.
While different to Naturalisation, the application to register your child as a British citizen is still long and complex.
Your child will not need to fulfil most of the requirements of British Citizenship through naturalisation. They will not need to provide proof of English Language ability or pass a Life in the UK test.
You will, however, still need to provide:
- an extensive immigration history;
- reasons for wanting to apply;
- original documents, such as birth certificates and current passports; and
- biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph), this costs less than £20.
To ensure that your application is completed smoothly and within a reasonable timeframe, get in touch with the expert lawyers at IAS.
Can I apply for a British passport for my child born abroad?
If your child is an automatic British citizen or if you have successfully registered them as a British citizen then they will be eligible for a British passport.
Someone who has parental responsibility must make a passport application on behalf of the child. Their are two ways to apply for a child’s passport, you can either apply by post or you can apply online.
It costs £49 to apply for a child’s passport online and £58.50 to apply by post. The type of documents that you will need to provide vary depending on the method you choose to apply.
It generally takes around 5 weeks for a child’s first passport application to be processed.
How can IAS help you get British citizenship for your child?
Our expert lawyers will use their wealth of experience to identify the correct route for your family. Registering your child as a British citizen can be a very complex process. Our services mean that your lawyer will completely manage your application and ensure that your child has the best chance of success.
We have offices located across the UK, including in London, Manchester, or Birmingham. You can also use the office finder to find the closest branch to you. Call 0333 363 8577 or contact us using our online enquiry form to begin your application for British Citizenship for your child born abroad.
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Children born outside of the UK are only British Citizens by descent if one or both parents have British Citizenship at the time of birth. This means that your child will be eligible to register as a British Citizen but will not automatically be recognised as a citizen.
You will only be able to apply for a British passport for your child once they have been registered as a British citizen. Once you have received their certificate of registration, you will be able to apply for a British passport. This process will be the same as for other British citizens. It will include providing endorsed photographs, previous passports and a range of other documents.
For more information on how to apply for a British passport.
If your child has British Citizenship by descent, we are available to apply for registration as a British citizen. We offer a high-quality, comprehensive service that will give you the best chance for a successful result.
Our services include:
- Assessment of eligibility. We will identify the best route to getting your child registered as a British citizen.
- Full document check. We will ensure that your documents are sufficient before your application is submitted.
- Completion of all application forms. Your lawyer will complete all application forms to a professional standard.
- Letter of Representation. Your lawyer will submit this document with your application, referring to the merits of your case and relevant case law.
- Liaising with the Home Office. Your lawyer will maintain contact with the Home Office until a decision is reached.
For more information, or to start applying for British Citizenship for your child born abroad, contact us online or by calling 0333 363 8577 today.
The processing time for a child’s registration application can vary but generally you can expect to wait between two to four months for a decision.
If you do not include the correct documents or information in the application then this is likely to delay the process.
It costs £1012 to register a child as a British citizen. If your child turns 18 during the registration process then you will also need to pay an £80 citizenship ceremony fee.