A child born outside the UK to British parents can apply for British citizenship in accordance with British Nationality Act 1981 Section 3(2) or Section 3(5).
An under-18 child can apply to register as a British citizen if the child was born outside the UK to parents who are British by descent and have lived in the UK or a qualifying British overseas territory.
- Register the child as a British citizen born outside the UK
- Requirements for registering a child born abroad as a British citizen
- What documents are required to register a child as a British citizen?
- How to apply to register a child born outside the UK as a British citizen?
- UK citizenship processing time after biometrics
- How much does it cost to apply for British citizenship?
- Need help with the British citizenship application?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Requirements for registering a child born abroad as a British citizen
To be eligible to apply for registration as a British citizen, the child must satisfy the requirements under either section 3(2) or section 3(5).
This category applies to children who:
- were born outside the United Kingdom
- if born after 21 May 2002, were born outside the UK or a qualifying British
Overseas Territory; and
- in either case, were born to parents who are British citizens by descent
- are between the ages 10-18, they must meet the good character requirement
You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.
Register child under section 3(2)
A child will qualify under this section if:
- they were born outside the UK
- either of the child's parents was a British citizen by descent at the time of the child's birth
- the mother or father of that parent (the child's grandparent) 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 British citizen by descent parent must have lived in the UK (or, if the child was born on or after 21 May 2002, in a qualifying British overseas territory) for a continuous period of 3 years at any time before the child's birth. During that period they should not have absences exceeding 270 days. The application must be made whilst the child is under 18 years of age.
Register child under section 3(5)
To qualify under this section the child and their mother and father should have lived in the UK (or qualifying British Overseas Territory if born after 21 May 2002) for a 3-year period ending with the date the application is received. And the child and their parents should be physically present in the UK or the qualifying British Overseas Territory at the start of that period.
The child and their parents must not have been absent from the UK (or the British Overseas Territories if appropriate) for more than 270 days during the 3-year residential period. There is no discretion to disregard absences greater than 270 days.
If the parents' marriage or civil partnership has ended or they are legally separated then only the child and one parent has to satisfy the residence requirement.
Both parents must consent to the child being registered as a British citizen. If one of the parents has died then only the consent of the surviving parent is required.
A child registered under this section will be a British citizen otherwise than by descent, which means they can pass on citizenship to their own children.
Good character requirement for British citizenship
A child aged 10 or over must satisfy the good character requirement to succeed in his application for registration as a British citizen. The British Nationality Act 1981 does not define good character. However, the Home Office UKVI guidance sets out the types of conduct which must be taken into account when assessing whether a person has satisfied the requirement to be of good character. Consideration should be given by the Home Office caseworker to all aspects of a person's character, including both negative factors, for example, criminality, immigration law breaches and deception, and positive factors, for example, contributions a person has made to society.
What documents are required to register a child as a British citizen?
The applicants will need to provide several documents in the support of their British citizenship application depending on their personal circumstances.
Children must provide the following documents when they apply for registration as British citizens:
- Biometric information for the applicant (including fingerprints and digital photographs)
- The reasons your child is being registered as a British citizen
- Passports and birth certificates for yourself and your applying child
- Your child's immigration history, including where outside the UK they were born
This is a general list of documents. Depending on type of application and your personal circumstances, you might also need to provide additional documents.
Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and find out the required list of documents in support of your application.
How to apply to register a child born outside the UK as a British citizen?
Contact our UK immigration and nationality lawyer today to get legal advice about how to apply and the requirements of a British citizenship application.
UK citizenship processing time after biometrics
You should get a decision on your British citizenship application within 3-6 months. However, Some UK citizenship applications may take longer than 6 months depending on the complexity of the matter.
Time starts once you've applied for British citizenship and attended your biometric appointment.
How much does it cost to apply for British citizenship?
- £1,330 is the fee for British citizenship by Naturalisation application.
- £1,012 is the fee to register a child under 18 as a British citizen.
Here are some common other costs associated with applying for British citizenship:
- £19.20 Biometrics fee
- £50 Life in the UK test fee (unless you are exempt)
- £150 approx. English language test fee (unless you are exempt)
- Immigration lawyer fees (if using legal services to boost your chances of success & avoid mistakes)
The above is a general list of costs associated with British citizenship applications. There may be additional costs such translation fee depending on your circumstances.
Please note that these fees are subject to change, and you should always check the most up-to-date information on the UK government's official website before applying for a visa.
Immigration lawyer fees
Our expert UK citizenship & nationality lawyer will guide you through every step of the British citizenship application process including advice about legal requirements and eligibility criteria.
At Rex Law Chambers, our UK nationality lawyer charges a fixed fee between £800-£1000 for our complete legal services in relation to your citizenship application. The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the casework involved in the matter.
Need help with the British citizenship application?
If you need legal advice or help with your British citizenship application, our lawyer can provide legal assistance.
Our citizenship lawyer will assess your eligibility and personal circumstances to determine if you can apply for British citizenship and meet the requirements.
British citizenship lawyer at Rex Law Chambers will:
- advise you about eligibility criteria and the requirement;
- provide you with a comprehensive checklist of supporting documents;
- fill in and submit your British citizenship application;
- check all the supporting documents;
- upload all the supporting documents online in their correct format and order;
- schedule your biometrics appointments;
- prepare a cover letter or letter of representation to support your application.
- dealing and responding to any enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office;
- do all the follow-up work on your British citizenship application until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.
Contact our experienced UK citizenship & nationality lawyer on 0161 989 9370 or fill in our enquiry form to get reliable & confidential legal advice and assistance with your British citizenship application.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Residency requirement, good character requirement, English language test and Life in the UK test are the 4 key requirements to apply for British citizenship.
You must meet all other eligibility requirements depending on your personal circumstances and type of British citizenship application.
You can become a British citizen after living at least 3 years in the UK as a spouse of a British citizen. You must meet all the eligibility requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981 to apply for UK citizenship through marriage.
Yes, the UK does allow dual citizenship with other countries which means you can be a British citizen and also a citizen of other countries at the same time.