6 tips on how to get British Citizenship for a child born in the UK to non-British parents

Since January 1 1983, The British Nationality Act of 1981 has meant that children born in the UK do not automatically receive British Citizenship. This means that a child born in the UK to non-British parents will not be eligible for British Citizenship at birth.

This law change could make your child vulnerable to the Immigration Rules if you are not aware of their status. There are a number of ways that a child can receive automatic British Citizenship at birth even if their parents are not British nationals.

What are the requirements for British citizenship by birth?

The most common way to receive automatic British Citizenship is for one or more of the child’s parents to hold British Citizenship at the time of birth. Children with parents who hold British Citizenship will not need to register. They will be eligible for such things as a British passport at birth.

For non-British residents, holding ‘settled status’ at the time of your child’s birth will also entitle them to British Citizenship. This can be in the form of Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA Permanent Residence. This usually requires at least five years of continuous residence in the UK before you are eligible, so it may be something to consider before trying for a baby in the UK.

Can a child apply for British Citizenship?

For a baby born in the UK to non-British parents who do not have settled status, there is an option to register them after their birth.

If one or more parents is granted settled status or British Citizenship after the birth, you will be able to register your child as a British citizen. This will mean that your child is no longer subject to UK Immigration Rules and their status in the country will be protected as a British citizen.

There is also a 10-year continuous residence route. A child born in the UK to non-British parents who remains in the UK for at least the first 10 years of their life is eligible to register as a British citizen. This also comes with the condition that the child must not spend longer than 90 days out of the country in each year they have lived in the UK.

This route naturally requires an extensive amount of documentation for each year of your child’s life to prove that they meet the continuous residence requirement.

How do you become a citizen of Britain?

For children under 18, the process of becoming a British citizen is known as registering. For most adult application, the process is naturalisation. Naturalisation is the name given to the process of becoming a citizen of another country.

For those registering as a British citizen, there is no citizenship ceremony requirement. However, if your child turns 18 during their application process, you will be expected to provide an extra £80 to cover this ceremony fee.

Children born in the UK to non-British parents will also not be subject to many of the same requirements as in adult naturalisation. They will not be expected to prove their English Language ability or to take the Life in the UK test.

For applications to register a child as a British citizen, you will need Form MN1, for naturalisation, the form is AN.

What is form MN1?

Form MN1 will be required to register a child born in the UK to non-British parents applying through any route.

This form requires in-depth information about your child’s time in the country. You will need to state every place that they have lived and all countries they may have visited. This will be vital if your child is applying under the continuous residence route. The Home Office will expect to see that they have not spent 90 days outside the country for each year of their life.

You will need to provide a number of important personal documents, such as a birth certificate and any passport they may already hold. You will also need to submit biometric evidence. This is to receive your child’s Biometric Residence Permit. The application includes submitting fingerprints and facial data and the Permit will be issued as a wallet-sized card.

How much does it cost to apply for British Citizenship?

To register a child as a British citizen, the Home Office fee is currently £1,012. The cost of naturalisation stands at £1,330.

Considering this is an expensive procedure, it is important to get it right first time. It is advised to seek the help of an immigration specialist before beginning your application.

How will Brexit affect my family?

Recently, The Windrush scandal saw Caribbean-born citizens facing deportation due to lack of documents. Campaigners fear that a similar situation will occur with EU citizens after Brexit.

If you and your partner are European nationals who do not hold Permanent Residence or British Citizenship, this could affect your children. It is important to make sure your child born in the UK to non-British parents has the necessary documents to secure their status as soon as possible.

It will be possible, under a new system the government is intending to introduce after Brexit, for children born in the UK to non-British parents to receive a temporary visa with their parents. For EU citizens on this visa category, you will be able to stay on this visa until you have a total of five years’ residence in the UK. Once you pass this, you will be able to apply for settled status.

However, to ensure your child is fully protected should they want to continue their adult life in the UK, it may be a better idea to apply for citizenship once your family is eligible.

If you will have been exercising your EU treaty rights in the UK for five years before the UK leaves the EU, you may be able to apply for EEA PR and qualify your child for Citizenship. If you have less than five years’ residence in the UK, you will need to wait until after this period to register your child as a British citizen using your settled status.

Brexit is still full of uncertainty for anybody resident in the UK. Fears are growing of children born in the UK to non-British parents falling through the cracks of the system to face the same issue as the Windrush generation. Ensuring your family is secure as early as possible is an important step to take in preparation for the end of the transition period in 2020.

Find out more about British Citizenship for a child born in the UK to non-British parents.

For more advice, or to discuss your family’s personal circumstances, get in touch with an experienced immigration lawyer today.

The post 6 tips on how to get British Citizenship for a child born in the UK to non-British parents appeared first on Immigration Advice Service.

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