British citizenship by birth

If you and your partner are both living in the UK when your child is born, this does not automatically qualify them for British Citizenship by birth. From 1983, the government no longer recognises every child born in the UK as British citizens at the time of their birth.

Your child will receive British Citizenship by descent if they are born in the UK and at least one of the parents holds British Citizenship rather than being recognised as having British citizenship by birth. For British citizens who have their children overseas, they will need to be registered as a British citizen. This will ensure your child has access to their full rights and entitlements to such things as a British passport, as is the usual case for a child born in the UK.

For the child of non-British parents to receive British Citizenship by birth, at least one parent must have ‘settled status’ in the UK. This can be either Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA Permanent Residence. If you are not yet eligible to apply for settled status you will be able to register your child as a British citizen once it has been granted.

How can IAS help with your British citizenship claim?

The registration for British citizenship by birth can be a complex process, and seeking legal advice is highly advised.

Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in British Citizenship cases. Your personal lawyer will work with you and your family to find the best route towards citizenship and manage your application. For more information or to discuss your circumstances, contact us online today or call 0333 363 8577 now for a free consultation regarding your British citizenship by birth queries.

Please see our FAQs below for more information or, for more detailed information, read our full guide on the British citizenship requirements.

FAQs on British citizenship by birth

Can children born in the UK claim British Citizenship by birth?

A child born in the UK does not automatically receive British citizenship by birth. For a child to be registered as a British citizen at birth, one or more parent will need to hold British Citizenship or ‘settled status’.

You can most often apply for settled status after five years of continuous residence. If you have not lived in the UK for five years or more before your child is born, you may still be able to apply after five years. Once you have received either Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA PR, your child can be registered as a British citizen.

The application to register as a British citizen is separate to settled status. Your child will not automatically receive British Citizenship by birth once you have settled status.

More information on how to apply for UK settlement

Can a child apply for British Citizenship?

There are two ways to apply for British Citizenship: Registration or Naturalisation. For children under 18, registration will be the necessary route.

Each type of application has many variations depending on an applicant’s personal situation. The level of evidence required for an application for British Citizenship by birth is very high and requires a lot of detail.

For the best chance of success, seeking the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer is advised.

More information about British Citizenship for children born abroad

What can I do for my child born in the UK to non-British parents?

If you and your partner are both subject to the Immigration Rules, your child will be recognised as your dependent at birth. This means the child has no automatic right to remain in the UK and is subject to the same visa rules as you.

To ensure your child is able to stay in the UK and grow up, you will need to first receive settled status or British Citizenship. Because your child does not have the right of British Citizenship by birth, they will need to be registered once they become eligible.

Can I get a British passport for my child born in the UK?

If your child is eligible for British Citizenship by descent – e.g. at least one parent is British, then they will be able to apply for a passport straight away.

For a child born in the UK to non-British parents with settled status, you will first have to register them as a British citizen. Once this application is successful, you can apply for a British passport for your child.

Any children born in the UK to non-British parents who are in the country on any other visa will have no right to apply for a British passport.

More information on applying for a British passport

What services does IAS offer?

We know that applications to a register as a British citizen are very serious. We understand the importance of securing the status of your family. With our services, you can be sure that your application will be completed thoroughly and to a professional standard.

Your lawyer will:

  • Confirm your child is eligible and complete all application forms in full;
  • Undertake a detailed document check, suggesting alternatives where necessary;
  • Write a Letter of Representation. This letter provides the merits of your case along with references to relevant UK case law to support you;
  • Liaising with the Home Office until they make a decision.

Contact us on 0333 363 8577 today or make an enquiry online to start your child’s application for British citizenship by birth or for more information from one of our expert immigration lawyers.

Our British Citizenship Packages

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Appeal Package

Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any hearings/tribunals

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Case studies

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