The Possibilities

A minor child who does not have British citizenship can for the purpose of residence potentially get leave to enter or remain in the UK, or exemption from leave, through one of these channels if the child:

  1. has a parent granted (or being granted) leave in category that covers dependents, such as through UK ancestry or a work permit.
  2. has two parents (or a parent with sole responsibility) settled in UK (or being admitted for settlement). [Immigration Rules Part 8, para 297 or 298, “Settlement Visa”]
  3. has one parent settled in the UK (or being admitted for settlement). [Immigration Rules Appendix FM]
  4. is adopted by a parent settled in the UK (or being admitted for settlement or with limited leave). [Immigration Rules Part 8, paras 310 to 316].
  5. has a parent who is exempt from control through employment, typically with an embassy, consulate, visiting military force or international organisation.
  6. has a parent who is an EU citizen or partner of an EU citizen, if entry to the UK takes place before the end of 2020.

Leave under 1, 2 3 or 4 above is normally only granted on entry to the UK to a child who had been given entry clearance by a British consulate or visa application centre in the child’s country of residence.

Here are some important points that many practitioners overlook:

  1. Sometimes more than one alternative is available, but one route may be easier or have superior long-term benefits.
  2. If a parent or adoptive parent is a British citizen (even if living outside the UK) then the child may be eligible to be registered as a British citizen, potentially through an obscure provision.
  3. If a parent or adoptive parent (even if living outside the UK) is able to become a British citizen, such as through ancestry, then subsequently the child may be eligible to be registered as a British citizen.

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