British citizenship for a child born in the UK to non-British parents

A child born in the UK to non-British parents may not automatically receive British Citizenship. British Citizenship at birth is only available to children with a parent who holds British Citizenship or settled status.

For a 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. You must have evidence to show that either one or both parents are ‘settled’ in the UK. Examples include proof that you passed the Life in the UK test, and ILR certificate or a Permanent Residence Card. You will be able to register your child as a British citizen if you are granted settled status after their birth.

How can IAS help?

If your child was born in the UK to non-British parents, we at IAS understand that figuring out whether they are eligible for British Citizenship can be confusing.

Our expert lawyers will assess your family’s case and advise you on the correct route for registering your child as a British citizen. We will manage your application and submit it for you, ensuring everything is completed to a professional standard. To discuss your case with an expert lawyer, call 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online.

Child born in the UK to non-British parents FAQs

What are the requirements for British citizenship by birth?

The most common way to receive automatic British Citizenship is for one or more of the child’s parents to hold British Citizenship at the time of birth. Children with parents who hold British Citizenship will not need to register. They will be eligible for such things as a British passport at birth.

For non-British residents, holding ‘settled status’ at the time of your child’s birth will also entitle them to British Citizenship. Settled status includes Indefinite Leave to Remain and EEA Permanent Residence. This usually requires at least five years of continuous residence in the UK before you are eligible, so it may be something to consider before trying for a baby in the UK.

Can a child apply for British Citizenship?

For a baby born in the UK to non-British parents who do not have settled status, there is an option to register them after their birth.

If one or more parents is granted settled status or British Citizenship after the birth, you will be able to register your child as a British citizen. This will mean that your child is no longer subject to UK Immigration Rules and their status in the country will be protected as a British citizen.

There is also a 10-year continuous residence route. A child born in the UK to non-British parents who remains in the UK for at least the first 10 years of their life is eligible to register as a British citizen. This also comes with the condition that the child must not spend longer than 90 days out of the country in each year they have lived in the UK.

This route naturally requires an extensive amount of documentation for each year of your child’s life to prove that they meet the continuous residence requirement. It is recommended that you seek expert advice when applying through this route.

How do you become a citizen of Britain?

For children under 18, the process of becoming a British citizen is known as registering. For most adult application, the process is naturalisation. Naturalisation is the name given to the process of becoming a citizen of another country.

For those registering as a British citizen, there is no citizenship ceremony requirement. However, if your child turns 18 during their application process, you will be expected to provide an extra £80 to cover this ceremony fee.

Children born in the UK to non-British parents will also not be subject to many of the same requirements as in adult naturalisation. They will not be expected to prove their English Language ability or to take the Life in the UK test.

What is form MN1?

Form MN1 will be required to register a child born in the UK to non-British parents applying through any route.

This form requires in-depth information about your child’s time in the country. You will need to state every place that they have lived and all countries they may have visited. This will be vital if your child is applying under the continuous residence route. The Home Office will expect to see that they have not spent 90 days outside the country for each year of their life.

You will need to provide a number of important personal documents, such as a birth certificate and any passport they may already hold. You will also need to submit biometric evidence. This is to receive your child’s Biometric Residence Permit. The application includes submitting fingerprints and facial data and the Permit will be issued as a wallet-sized card.

How much does it cost to apply for British Citizenship?

To register a child as a British citizen, the Home Office fee is currently £1,012. The cost of naturalisation stands at £1,330.

Considering this is an expensive procedure, it is important to get it right first time. It is advised to seek the help of an immigration specialist before beginning your application.

How will Brexit affect my family?

Earlier this year, The Windrush scandal saw Caribbean-born citizens facing deportation due to lack of documents. Campaigners fear that a similar situation will occur with EU citizens after Brexit.

If you and your partner are European nationals who do not hold Permanent Residence or British Citizenship, this could affect your children. It is important to make sure your child born in the UK to non-British parents has the necessary documents to secure their status as soon as possible.

It will be possible, under a new system the government is intending to introduce after Brexit, for children born in the UK to non-British parents to receive a temporary visa with their parents. For EU citizens on this visa category, you will be able to stay on this visa until you have a total of five years’ residence in the UK. Once you pass this, you will be able to apply for settled status.

However, to fully protect your child should they want to continue their adult life in the UK, it may be a better idea to apply for citizenship once your family is eligible.

Brexit is still full of uncertainty for anybody resident in the UK. Ensuring your family is secure as early as possible is an important step to take in preparation for the end of the transition period in 2020.

What services does IAS offer?

We have an excellent track record of helping children born in the UK to non-British parents register as British citizens. We offer a high-quality, comprehensive service that will give you the best chance for a successful result.

Our services include:

  • Assessment of eligibility for your child. We will determine the best route for registering your child.
  • Assessment of your own immigration status. If you do not yet hold settled status or British Citizenship, we will advise you on how to get this before registering your child.
  • Full document check. We will inform you of which documents to provide and verify that they can be used for your application.
  • Completion of all application forms. Your lawyer will complete the relevant application forms for you.
  • Letter of Representation. This is a professional document which is submitted with your application in support of your case.
  • Liaising with the Home Office. Your lawyer will remain in contact with the authorities until a decision is made.

For more information, or to find out more about your family’s options, contact us online or by calling 0333 363 8577 today.

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Case studies

We are proud to have changed lives for the better. Here are some of their stories:

Romy: British Citizenship

Romy was a French National who had been living in the UK for 14 years.
Due to Brexit, she wanted to secure her life in the UK by acquiring British Citizenship… Read More

Jaibao: Family Visits to the UK

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Yuma: Tier 4 Student Visa

Yuma, a Japanese National, was accepted as a student in her chosen UK university. She was unclear about the process of coming over to the UK so she contacted… Read More

Helen: Long-term Visits to the UK

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She knew the maximum time she was permitted to spend… Read More

Shinya: Tier 2 Work Visa Application Assistance

Shinya, a Japanese National, was offered a placement in a UK based company. The company already held a Sponsorship Licence and was able to give Shinya a Certificate of… Read More

Tobin: EEA Permanent Residency Card

Tobin, a German National, split his working days between the UK and Germany. However, due to Brexit, Tobin was unsure about his ability to work in the UK in the… Read More

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All information on this page has been reviewed by an OISC accredited immigration adviser and was