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British Citizenship for Child Born Abroad

Do you wish to acquire British citizenship for your child born abroad? If so, our Newcastle immigration lawyers are on hand to assist you.

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How does my child who was born abroad obtain British citizenship?

Any child born overseas to at least one British national will qualify for British citizenship by descent. With that said, the child will need to be registered as a British citizen in order to obtain a British passport.

To register for British citizenship for child born abroad, parents can use the Form MN1. After the child is registered, they will then be allowed to enter the country. To register a young person as a British citizen by descent, you must make the application before the child is 18 years old.

What’s the eligibility criteria?

In order for your child born abroad to obtain British citizenship, there are a number of requirements that must be satisfied first. These are the following:

  • Must have been born outside the UK
  • Must have had at least one British parent at the time of birth
  • Of ‘good character’ (if over the age of 10)
  • Mother and father must have lived in the country for three years prior to application being submitted
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What does the registration process involve?

To begin the process of registering your child as a British national, first you must complete and submit the Form MN1 along with the necessary supporting documentation.

At this point, you’ll need to pay £460, plus an additional £50 for any child involved in the application.

For any children who are living outside of the UK, the application must first be sent to a British diplomatic mission before it arrives at the Home Office. This will incur an additional cost.

Once all the documents are submitted and the fees are paid, you will need to wait for a decision which will usually arrive within a few months.

How to determine when a child is a British citizen by descent

For your child to be eligible for British citizenship by descent, they will need to have been born outside of the United Kingdom. Additionally, at the time of birth, at least one of the child’s parents must have been a British national.

Children who meet these requirements aren’t automatically given British citizenship. For children born outside of the UK to at least one British parent, it is possible to register them for citizenship. This is because they qualify for British citizenship by descent.

There are many different types of documents you can use for a UK Spouse visa application. Proving that your relationship is genuine is subjective, and it depends on the nature of your lives together and communication with each other. As a result, there is no limit to the evidence you can submit to prove this.

Should I opt for registration or naturalisation?

This will depend on where your child was born. If your child was born outside the UK, then they will be considered British citizens by descent. As such, they will not need to pursue the naturalisation route to obtain British citizenship.

Instead, they will need to complete the registration process.

While there are some major differences between both the registration and naturalisation processes, each are complex and time-consuming.

With this in mind, it’s essential your citizenship application, regardless of which route you opt to take, is carried out correctly and accurately.

What documents are required if I want to register my child as a British national?

When registering a child for citizenship, the child is not required to pass an English language exam or the Life in the UK test. In fact, most naturalisation requirements do not apply when registering a child to become a British citizen.

However, you will have to provide the following:

  • Biometric info (fingerprints, photograph)
  • All necessary documentation including any passports and birth certificates. Please note these must be original copies
  • Child’s full immigration history
  • Reason for registering your child as a British citizen

With the guidance and help of our Newcastle immigration lawyers, your child will be successfully registered as a British citizen.

Will my child become a British citizen automatically?

This depends on where the child was born. If outside of the UK, the child will not become a British citizen automatically. However, in this case, provided whether you or the other parent are British citizens, then your child can register to become a British citizen by descent. In the event your child born abroad remains overseas, then their children would not be granted the right to claim British citizenship here.

If your child was born in the UK to an EEA national, then they may be classed as a British citizen. This would depend on when they were born.

If the child is born:

  • Between January 1st 1983 and October 2nd 2000, then the child will be classed as a British national providing at least one parent as living in the United Kingdom at the time of birth;
  • Between October 2nd 2000 and April 29th 2006, then they will be classed as a British citizen providing at least one parent held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or permanent residence, before the birth of the child;
  • From April 30th 2006 onwards, then the child will be classed as a British citizen providing the child’s parents lived in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully prior to the child’s birth.

What form do I use to register my child born abroad?

Providing your child is eligible to apply for British citizenship by descent, you should use the Form MN1 to register them for British nationality. Although this citizenship registration is a significantly more straight-forward process than naturalisation, the application process requires care and attention to detail nonetheless.

The form consists of eight sections, which are:

  • Personal information – here you must provide detail of both you and your child
  • Child’s residence – you need to provide info related to your child’s residence history
  • Parents’ residence – you need to provide info related to your own residence history
  • Good character – this relates to personal history (only required for children over 10)
  • References – two supporting references are required
  • Biometric information – child’s fingerprints and photographs are required
  • Consent – both you and the other parent must give their consent for the application to go ahead
  • Declaration – you must declare all the information provided is both and honest

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What documents are needed to apply for my child’s British passport?

After your child has been successfully registered as a British citizen, you are then able to apply for a passport on their behalf.

Please note that the application for a passport can only commence once the certificate for registration has been received by you.

Acquiring British citizenship by descent does not alter the process when applying for a British passport. The application process will be the same as it is for all other British citizens.

You’ll need to provide photographs, your previous immigration history and a number of other documents when making your application.

These include the following:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Birth or adoption certificate
  • Evidence of parents’ immigration status
  • Someone who can confirm identity

How long will the process to register my child as a British citizen take?

Once you’ve submitted the Form MN1 along with the supporting documentation, you should expect to have a decision on citizenship within 2-4 months.

Please note that applications made from outside the UK for British citizenship for a child born abroad must be submitted by your local consulate first. This will increase the time you are waiting when making an application.

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