Is it worth applying for British Citizenship for my child? The answer should be yes. If you can apply for your child to be British, you should. By the time your child is 18, and you have pushed it to the back of your mind, you may have missed out on the chance of applying. And the cost of a visa for children applying for UK ancestry, Tier 4 student visas for university, or even tier 2 skilled work may make it prohibitive for them to later emigrate.

by Emma Bashford | | Blog

Is it worth applying for British Citizenship for my child?

The answer should be yes. If you can apply for your child to be British, you should.

By the time your child is 18, and you have pushed it to the back of your mind, you may have missed out on the chance of applying. And the cost of a visa for children applying for UK ancestry, Tier 4 student visas for university, or even tier 2 skilled work may make it prohibitive for them to later emigrate.

The cost of a visa, including NHS Surcharges, now in 2021:

  • £3682 for a basic UK Ancestry visa.
  • £1523 for settlement/ Indefinite leave to remain certificate in addition to the cost of the Life in the UK tests, English language requirements to be met and then Sopra Steria costs starting from £115 for the appointment.

The cost of registering your child is more economic for their long-term future plans and goals.

There are a number of provisions in the British Nationality Act 1981 under which a child has the entitlement to register as a British citizen if they were born outside the UK.

Consideration should first be given to whether a child is British otherwise than by descent, i.e. is not automatically entitled to British citizenship through having a British parent who was born in the UK or naturalised as a British citizen before the child was born.

Consideration should be given to whether it may be possible to register the child as a British citizen through the alternative routes outlined below:

Registration as a British citizen – Section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981

Children are entitled to registration under section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born outside the UK
  • at the time of the birth, they had a parent who was a British citizen by descent
  • they are under the age of 18 when the application is made
  • the child and both of their parents were in the UK at the beginning of the 3-year period ending with the date of the application (unless divorced and full custody or only one parent listed on the birth certificate)
  • the child and both of their parents have not been absent from the UK for more than 270 days each, in that 3-year period.
  • the consent of both parents is given to the application (unless divorced and full custody, or a single parent listed on the birth certificate)
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10

Registration as a British citizen – Section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981

Children are entitled to registration under section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born outside the UK
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10
  • either parent was a British citizen by descent at the time of the child’s birth
  • the mother or father of the parent in question became or but for their death would have become, a British citizen otherwise than by descent either:
  • on 1 January 1983
  • at the time of the parent’s birth

 The child’s British parent in question must:

  • have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 3 years at any time before the child’s birth
  • have been in the UK at the beginning of that 3-year period
  • not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in that 3-year period

 If you as a parent registered as a British Citizen under UKM or UKF- but lived in the UK before your child was born you may be able to register your child as British.

Registration under 1(3)

Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born in the UK
  • they were not British citizens at birth because at the time neither parent was a British citizen or settled
  • while they are minors either of the parents has since become a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • they are under the age of 18 on the date the application is received
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10

Registration as a British Citizen Option 2 – Section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act 1981

Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if: 

  • they were born in the UK on or after 13 January 2010 
  • they were not a British citizen at birth, as at the time neither parent was: 
    • a British citizen or settled in the UK 
    • serving in the UK armed forces 
  • while they are under the age of 18 either parent becomes a member of the UK armed forces
  • they are under the age of 18 on the date of application 
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10

Registration as a British Citizen Option 3 – Section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981

Children and adults are entitled to registration under section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born in the UK
  • they were not a British citizen at birth as at the time of birth neither parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • they are aged 10 years or over on the date of the application
  • they have lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life
  • they have not been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of their life
  • the Secretary of State is satisfied they are of good character

In certain circumstances, your child may already be British and you don’t even know it!


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