British citizenship for a child born in the UK


British citizenship for a child by birth cannot be acquired always through either of the parents’ statuses. Additionally, the UK immigration law does not recognise every child born in the UK as a British citizen

As a result, children can receive British citizenship by birth only based on specific circumstances. For example, British citizenship can be automatically granted when both the parents are settled in the UK. Otherwise, children of British citizens born abroad will need to be registered for citizenship.

Registering a child for British citizenship by birth

To apply for British citizenship through the process of naturalisation, the child must be above 18 years of age. If your child is below the age of 18 years, then you must opt for British citizenship through the process of registering. Parents of the child must hold a valid Indefinite leave to remain before you add your child to the application.

While applying for naturalisation, the eligibility criteria must be met, such as good character, passing the Life in the UK test, etc.

children who are above the age of 13 years are eligible for Naturalisation only if they have resided in the UK for at least two years prior to their application for registration.

Children who were born in the UK to non-British citizens will be required to register for citizenship as soon as their parents acquire a valid ILR or Settlement Status. Consequently, children of non-British parents who are already settled in the UK will automatically obtain British citizenship at the time of their birth.

To register your children for British citizenship, you must make an online application. You will then be needed to book an appointment at your nearest UKVCAS centre to provide your biometric information.

Circumstances during your child’s birth

Children born on or after 01 January 1983

If you or your children were born in the UK on or after 01 January 1983, you would be eligible for British citizenship. To qualify, you must be either:

  • Below 18 years of age
  • Have resided in the UK until you were 10 years or older.

You will acquire your citizenship status only when at least either of your parents becomes a British citizen, or at least get permission to stay in the UK permanently on ILR or b virtue of EU Settlement Status.

If you fulfill these mentioned requirements, you will not need to register for citizenship.

Children born before 01 January 1983

You are automatically declared as a British citizen if you were born in the UK before 01 January 1983, or unless your father or mother was a diplomat working for a non-UK country or if you were born in the Channel Islands during World War II.

To confirm that you hold British citizenship, you can ask for a letter of confirmation of your status.

British citizenship by virtue of your child’s adoption

As per the British Nationality Act,1981 and amended by the 2002 Adoption and Children Act, children adopted on or after 01 January 1983 acquire British citizenship automatically if one of the adopting parents is a British citizen.

A child who is not already a British citizen also acquires British citizenship, providing that at least one of the adopting parents is permanently residing in the country or one of the territories. 

Which application form to consider?

To register your child below the age of 18 years for British citizenship by birth or adoption you can use the Form MN1.

Section 5 of Form MN1 must be completed by the sponsors or referee. They need to confirm the child’s identity and be willing to tell the Home Office of any reasons why the applicant deserves to get citizenship status.

Both parents are also required to provide their personal information and their consent in the form.

Need legal assistance?

The citizenship application requires rigorous follow-ups with the Home Office. One must take legal assistance from the best law firm in UK immigration.

A Y & J Solicitors provide bespoke legal advice for your every immigration requirement. They represent your care with complete honesty and compassion.

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