Register of a Child as a British Citizen

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Children must be under 18 years old when the application is made. Once they reach the age of 18 they must apply for British citizenship as adults, either by registration if they have an entitlement, or by naturalisation.

Within the British Nationality Act 1981 a ‘minor’ is defined as a person under the age of 18. Before considering registration, you must check whether your child is already a British citizen.

Alternatively, a child can be registered as a British Citizen under either of the following:

Entitlement to registration through birth:

  • UK born minors whose parent has become a British citizen or settled here
  • UK-born minors with residence in the UK from birth to age 10
  • born to British citizens outside the UK
  • born to British citizens outside the UK where the family have lived in the UK for 3 years
  • people who already have some form of British nationality, including:
  1. British overseas territories citizen
  2. British overseas citizen
  3. British national overseas
  4. British subjects
  5. British protected persons
  • born outside the UK to a parent serving in the armed forces
  • Entitlement to registration had the child’s mother been married to their natural father
  • born after 1 January 1983 and would have become a British citizen automatically had the child’s mother been married to their natural father

The child meets the normal criteria for registration at the Home Secretary’s discretion:

  • This is a discretionary provision for the registration of a child
  • The Home Secretary may exercise their discretion to register people as British citizens if:
  1. the applicant is under 18 at the date of the application
  2. if aged 10 years or over on the date of application the applicant is of good character see good character requirements
  3. they think fit to register them
  • The Home Secretary may refuse to grant a certificate where it would not be in the public interest to grant citizenship. This could be for reasons relating to their actions, behaviour, personal circumstances, or associations such as family relationships

The case is exceptionally compelling or compassionate:

  • this requires a consideration to be made of the best interests of a child
  • Children and young people aged 10 and over at the date of application are required to be of good character

Failure to register a child under the appropriate category could adversely affect future generations.

For further advice or to discuss your visa application with one of our UK Visa specialists, contact our team on 0161 843 9000 or complete our enquiry form below.