With Brexit rapidlyapproaching, the rights of EEA citizens living in the UK is going to come ever sharper into focus. One of the biggest issues to sort out will be residence rights for children. If you have gainedPermanent Residencepermit, you may be wondering what you should do about your children. In this article, we are going to look at options for those who have children in the UK and want to secure their status before Britain leaves the European Union. While this advice fits many situations, you may want to speak to us before making an application to ensure that your choice is the best one.
The now-defunct Permanent Residence Visa scheme offered the chance for EEA citizens who lived in the UK for more than 5 years the option to prove they had lived in the UK for that length of time. It was designed for EEA citizens who wished to either apply to become a British citizen or those who wished to be able to sponsor a partner's visa application. The option was never really designed to encompass the rights of children, though you could include them on your application.
One benefit of the scheme, as far as children are concerned, is when it comes to gaining British citizenship. If the child was born in the UK and a parent already had Permanent Residence, the child is automatically classed as British and can apply for a British passport. If you gained Permanent Residence after your children were born, you can still register them as British citizens but you will need to pay to do so. This is only in the case where neither of the parents has British citizenship, Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence before the child is born. There are, however, a variety of options for children to gain British citizenship at a later date.
Like in the example above, if a child has an EEA citizen parent who hasn't gained Permanent Residence before they were born, they can still be registered as a British citizen. In this case, an application will need to be made and there is a fee involved (currently £1,012 per child). This is, unless, one of the parents has gained Indefinite Leave to Remain or is already a British citizen.
The Permanent Residence scheme has now been replaced by the EU Settlement Scheme. This means that even existing Permanent Residence holders should apply, as the process for registering EEA citizens in the UK is being harmonised into a single route. The EU Settlement Scheme also allows parents to include children on their application in order that they can receive either settled or pre-settled status in the UK. If you have already applied to the EU Settlement Scheme you can also link your application to your child's by using the number you were given during your application. You can do this at any stage and do not need to wait for a decision.
While you can add your child to your application, or apply while waiting for a decision, it may be best to wait until you've had your application approved. If you do not, you may have to go to some length to prove that your child has lived in the UK for 5 years. Please note that these rules do not apply to Irish citizens as they have separate rights. If you're an Irish citizen and your child is not a British citizen, in the vast majority of circumstances they will be eligible for the same rights as you have.
If your child is British but was born abroad, they will be able to apply for a British passport. For this to be the case, at least one of the parents will need to have been a British citizen before the child was born. As well as being able to apply for a British passport, British citizens born abroad can also apply for a letter confirming their citizenship. This process is slightly different for those who live in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or in a British overseas territory.
If your child is not automatically a British citizen, they could still be eligible to apply for British citizenship if they have lived in the UK with their parents, their British parent lived in the UK before they were born or they were adopted outside of the UK.
If you need more help with settlement in the UK as an EEA citizen then please get in touch. Our team of immigration lawyers are working hard keeping up to date with the very fluid situation around Britain's exit from the European Union. We can help you to settle your stay in the UK, and avoid any future hardship. We can also help you and your children to become British citizens.
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