How to get British citizenship for a child born abroad

If British citizens living outside the UK have children out-of-country, the children will not automatically receive British Citizenship by descent. The ways for children to get British citizenship if they were born abroad outside the UK,  is through adoption, naturalisation or (usually) registration. 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.

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.

Call 0333 363 8577 or contact us using our online enquiry form to begin your application for British Citizenship for your child born abroad.

British citizenship for a child born abroad FAQs

How do I register my child as a British citizen?

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.

Is my child automatically a British Citizen?

If your child was born outside of the UK, they may not automatically have received British Citizenship. If you are a British citizen, your child will be eligible to claim citizenship by descent. Unless your child returns to live in the UK, their children will not inherit the same rights.

Children born in the UK to citizens of the European Economic Area may be British citizens depending on when they were born. Children born:

  • From 1 January 1983 to 2 October 2000 will be British citizens if either parent was living in the UK at the time;
  • From 2 October 2000 to 29 April 2006 will only be British citizens if at least one parent had obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain or the unconditional right to permanent residence in the UK prior to the birth;
  • On or after 30 April 2006 will be British citizens if at least one parent lived in the UK continuously for five years pursuant to their rights under European law prior to the birth.

Is my child a British Citizen by descent?

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.

For children born in the UK to non-British parents, find out more about who qualifies for British Citizenship by birth.

What documents are needed to apply for a British Passport for my child?

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.

What services does IAS offer?

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.

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