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British Citizenship by Birth

A person born in the UK is eligible for British Citizenship if they have a parent who is a citizen of the UK.

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Who is eligible to have British Citizenship by birth?

In general, a person will be eligible for British citizenship if they are born in the UK and have a parent with British citizenship. However, the exact rules that apply to UK citizenship by birth (i.e. British Citizenship for children born in UK) depend on the circumstances of their parents at that time and whether they were born:

  • on or after 1st January 1983
  • before 1983

Born in the UK on or after 1st January 1983

A person may be eligible to apply for British citizenship by birth (i.e. for a baby born in the UK to gain Citizenship) if they were born in the UK on or after 1st January 1983 and:

  • they are under 18, and
  • since birth, at least one of their parents became a UK citizen, or they gained permission to remain in the UK permanently (e.g. ILR), and
  • they have been living in the UK until at least the age of 10 years

In most cases, a person who is eligible to be a UK citizen will automatically be British by birth if:

  • they were born in the UK on or after 1st January 1983, and
  • at the time of their birth, at least one of their parents was already a British citizen or settled in the UK (e.g. ILR)

Born in the UK before 1983

The Home Office rules state that a person is automatically considered a UK citizen by birth if they were born in the UK prior to 1st January 1983. There are two very limited exceptions to this. A person is not a British citizen by birth if they were born before 1983 if their father was:

  • a diplomat working for another nation, or
  • an ‘enemy alien in occupation’ (note this only applies if their father was in the Channel Islands during World War 2 when they were born)

Can I be a British citizen by birth if I was born outside the UK?

Yes, a person can gain ‘British citizenship by descent’ from a person with British citizenship ‘otherwise than by descent’. This is because a person with British citizenship ‘otherwise than by descent’ is allowed to pass their citizenship down a maximum of one generation if their children are born outside the UK.

A person is typically classed as a British citizen otherwise than by descent if they were born, adopted, naturalised, or registered in the UK or a qualifying territory. This also means that a child who has British Citizenship by descent cannot, themselves, pass their Citizenship down to a child born outside the UK.

How to apply for British Citizenship for a child born in UK

If you have a child who was automatically classified as a UK citizen by birth, there is nothing more you need to do, and if you wish, you can apply for a British passport on their behalf.

If they are not automatically classified as a British citizen by birth, you can register for British Citizenship by registration (British citizenship for child born in the UK) on their behalf. To register for British Citizenship by registration you will need to complete the appropriate application form, as follows:

  • Form MN1 if you are registering your child for British Citizenship as a child under 18.1
  • Form T if the applicant was born in the UK before 1983 and they resided here until at least age 10.2

Once you have completed the online application form, you will need to:

  • Pay the application fee of £1,012 if you are under 18 or £1,206 if you are over 18.
  • Pay the citizenship ceremony fee of £80 if required
  • Pay the biometric fee of £19.20
  • Make an appointment with a UKVCAS centre to provide biometrics
  • Upload any supporting documents or have them scanned at the UKVCAS appointment

Please note not everyone needs to pay all of the fees listed above as this will depend on when the applicant was born.

Applying for British Passport after Citizenship

A person who holds British Citizenship is eligible to apply for a British passport, as a child or as an adult. To apply for a British passport for children or as an adult, the following steps should be completed:

  • Complete the online application form. There are two forms:
    • Child application form3 (for those under 16 years)
    • Adult application form4 (for those over 16 years)
  • Pay the passport application fee online:
    • Child passport: £49
    • Adult passport: £75.50
  • Upload the required supporting documents. You will be advised which documents to provide, but these may include:
    • Digital photo
    • Applicant’s birth or adoption certificate
    • Evidence of the applicant’s Citizenship
    • Full birth certificate
    • Any valid passports from another country held by the applicant
    • Any court orders (e.g. showing who has parental responsibility)
    • Confirmation of identity

Once the passport application is processed, you will receive your new passport by post at the address you provided.

References:

1 GOV.UK: Register for British citizenship as a child under 18

2 GOV.UK: Form T

3 GOV.UK: Child Application Form

4 GOV.UK: Applying for your first adult passport

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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