Child Registration or are your children already British?
In the first two instalments of this blog on ‘becoming British’ we looked at the three most important requirements when making a naturalisation application – Good character; Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) and residency. Typically, these must all be met in order to naturalise as a British citizen. I say ‘typically’ as due to the complex nature of people’s personal circumstances and lives preceding an application there may be times when discretion is exercised by the nationality department of The Home Office who act on behalf of the Secretary of State i.e. every application should be assessed based upon its own unique set of components.
There are times when applicants who are considering making an application for child registration are unaware that they may already be British and in which case, a passport application may be the only necessary thing to do or if not, that they only need to make a registration application. To summarise a person may be a British citizen if:
- at the time of their birth in the UK or a qualifying territory, their father or mother was a British citizen or had been granted ‘settled status’ or was a member of the British Armed Forces
- at the time of their birth outside of the UK, one (or both) of their parents are British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’. The individual will then automatically acquire British citizenship ‘by descent’
If neither of the above apply, then the child may still be eligible for child registration as a British citizen if one of the following applies:
- the child was born in the UK then an application may be submitted while the applicant is still under-18 if, one of the parents becomes settled or becomes a British citizen; a member of the armed forces
- whilst the child is still under-18, and that during the first 10 years of their life they have been resident in the UK, with absences of no more than 90 per year (unless the Secretary of States exercise discretion)
- the child was born outside of the UK and to a parent who is British by descent and that parent was resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the child’s birth (there is a residency requirement which states that absences within the three-year period does not exceed 270 days).
- the child was born outside of the UK but has spent the three years preceding the application in the UK (residency requirements as above)
In addition to the above, adults may also register as British citizens in specific circumstances and as a result have the Right of Abode in the UK conferred upon them. There are also circumstances, although with the passing of time these have become fewer and fewer, whereby those who are not British citizens may be entitled to a right of abode by way of an appropriate application. More about both of these to follow in a separate blog.
Need some support?
Our team specialises in Child registration and Nationality applications. We advise individuals on how to navigate complex nationality rules with a proven record, and we are very competitive. Please call us.