British Citizenship by Birth

A British citizenship is available either by birth or through naturalisation for people aged 18 and above. UK Immigration laws outline strict norms for accepting a person as a British citizen by way of his birth. This means that children can get a British citizenship by birth only in some specific circumstances. To know more about how to register for a UK citizenship by birth or apply for a British passport for a newborn, do contact at -------------- or send an email to ------------------------ .

Registering for UK Citizenship by Birth

UK Immigration laws allow applicants who are 18 and above to naturalise as a British citizen. However, if a child is below 18, their parents will be required to seek registration. For inclusion of your children below 18 in your application for a UK citizenship, they must have an ILR Status. If a child is more than 13 years old, they can be eligible for naturalisation if they have stayed in the United Kingdom for a minimum two years before they apply for registration.

Again, a child born in the UK to non-UK nationals has the right to seek registration for a UK citizenship once their parents are granted an ILR or a settlement status. However, children of parents who are not British, but who have already settled in the country, are automatically entitled to get nationality of the United Kingdom at birth. All eligible candidates are required to fill an online form for registering their children for a UK citizenship. This is followed by a visit to the nearest UKVACS centre where you will be asked to give your biometric data alongside submitting the scanned copies of your supporting documents.

Are Children of British Nationals Born Abroad Eligible for Seeking British Citizenship by Birth?

As per the UK Immigration laws, children of UK nationals born outside the United Kingdom can become British citizens by “Otherwise than by descent.” Consequently, these children can transmit their status to their kids whether born in the country or outside the United Kingdom. The British Nationality Act of 1981 outlines that a person born outside the country is eligible for a British citizenship if, at the time of their birth, one of the parents was a British national. The rules specify that children below 18 can register for a British citizenship if:

  • Both the parents have stayed in the United Kingdom for a period of three years at the time of submission of the application.
  • Both parents have given their consent for the same.
  • Children who are ten-year old and above are of good character.

If both the parents of a child seeking UK citizenship were born in the country, the child becomes a citizen automatically. However, if both the parents are UK nationals but their birth place is another country, the children are required to register for UK nationality. This rule also applies for children who were born outside the UK, but were adopted by UK nationals.

Are All UK Born Children Citizens of the United Kingdom?

People often ask: Is my child automatically a British citizen? The right of a child born in the United Kingdom to become the country’s citizen depends on whether they were born before or after January 1, 1983. Children born in the country on or after January 1, 1983 are eligible for UK citizenship if they are below 18 or have stayed in the country until they were 10 years or older. However, these children can only get their UK nationality after one or both of their parents become a UK citizen or get a Settlement status.

Children who were born before 1983 become UK citizens automatically, unless their father was working for a non-UK nation as a diplomat or if they were born in the Channel Islands at the time of World War II. Such children can seek a letter of status confirming your UK nationality.

What is the Process of Obtaining a UK Citizenship by Descent?

UK laws allow individuals born in the United Kingdom to naturalise on the basis of the nationality status of their parents and grandparents. For this the applicant child’s parents have to be UK nationals and have to have stayed in the country for three consecutive years with their absence during the period not exceeding 270 days. Another requirement is that either of the parents have also received his/her UK citizenship otherwise by descent.

In certain situations, the eligible children do not get UK citizenship automatically but have to register for it. The UK Immigration law mentions that:

  • Children who are born on July 1, 2006 or after become UK citizens automatically if one of the parents was a UK citizen at that time.
  • Children born before June 2006 but after 1983 can acquire citizenship of the UK if one of the parents was a UK national at that time.
  • Children born prior to 1983 automatically become UK citizens if their father is a citizen of the UK or any of its colonies.

The registration for citizenship by descent can be made online or by filling the Form MN1 or even submitting an application on paper from within the country or abroad.

Can Adopted Children Get a British Citizenship?

As per UK nationality laws, children who have been adopted on January 1, 1983 or after that automatically get a British citizenship if any of the adopters is a national of the United Kingdom. This includes children who are not a UK citizen already and becomes applicable when one of the adopters is a habitual resident in the UK or one of its designated territories. Similarly, children subjected to parental orders in a court in the United Kingdom can become citizens of the country if the person who is making the order is a UK national.

What is the Process for Getting a UK Passport for My Children?

The application for applying for a British child passport for children below 16 years can be made by their parents. The application form has to be filled and accompanied by details and signature of both the parents or any person who has the parental responsibility. The application form has to be signed by the child if he is in the age group 12-15.

As per law, the application for the first child passport has to be followed by the confirmation of the child’s identity by a UK citizen whom you have known for a minimum two years and who works in a profession that is recognised. This referee can be contacted by the UK Home Office for verification of the details. The fee for applying for a UK passport for your child via the online route is £49 and £58.50 for a paper application. The expert team at can guide you about how to apply for British passport for a child.

Which Documents Are to be Submitted for a British Passport Application for a Child?

The UKVI requires you to submit several documents either in original or their official copies along with the application for a British passport for a child. The authorities do not accept certified copies or photocopies. Below is the list of documents required to be submitted with the application for a UK passport for your baby or child:

  • The birth or the adoption certificate of the child. If the parent’s name on the passport is not the same as the one mentioned on the child’s certificate of birth, a letter signed by a person with parental responsibility confirming the change in the name needs to be submitted along with the proof of the new name in official records.
  • If your child has held a valid passport in another country, then that too has to be submitted.
  • Proof showing that your child is a UK national.
  • Certified translations of documents that are in neither English nor Welsh.

Which Form Has to be Filled for a British Citizenship by Birth?

To register your child as a British citizen, you need to fill a specific form alongside submitting several supporting documents. The registration of your child aged below 18 years for a UK citizenship by birth or adoption is via Form MN1. This form is for applicants living in the United Kingdom or Channel Islands or any other British Overseas Territory. Section 5 of the form has to be filled out with details of the referees who can confirm the information provided about your child. The referees need to be people who are willing to talk to the UK authorities about the reasons to provide the applicant with a citizenship status.

The form needs to include the personal details and consent of both the parents. If you are not in a position to provide details of your child’s natural parents, you have to submit the situation in writing. However, people born prior to 1983 and applying for registration are required to use the Form UKM.

Can My Surrogate Child Get a British Citizenship?

The laws relating to surrogacy are quite complex and every case is viewed differently. Children who were born via surrogacy have to get registered for seeking nationality of the United Kingdom and applying for a UK passport. The authorities require you to provide all the details related to your child.

If a parental order was granted in the UK on or after April 5, 2020, your children can get UK nationality through parents. If parents are of same sex, the parent whose name appears first on the parental order is considered the mother.

What is the Good Character Requirement for My Child?

UK laws require anyone seeking UK citizenship to have a good character which is reflected in their adherence to the country’s law during their stay in the United Kingdom. According to the UK’s Nationality Law, all applicants aged ten or more have to meet the requirement of having a good character. A child qualifies as having a good character if they have been respecting the laws of the country. The child also needs to have adhered to immigration laws and not overstayed in the country beyond their visa duration. The assessment of a child’s good character is in consideration of his age and circumstances.

Does a Child have to Attend a Citizenship Ceremony?

As per law, applicants who are 18 or more have to take an oath at the time of receiving their certificate of citizenship at a citizenship ceremony. However, if any child wishes to attend the ceremony they can do so but will have to take the oath and pledge that he will be loyal to the United Kingdom. Following the receipt of one’s citizenship or a British Registration Certificate, an application for getting a UK passport can be made.

Does the UK Allow Children to Hold Dual or Multiple Citizenships?

UK laws allow a person to have multiple nationalities but several other countries do not. This means that your child does not have to renounce their UK citizenship if they wish to take citizenship in another country. However, before you register your child for UK nationality, you need to check whether the other country whose citizenship they hold allows two or more citizenships. If that country allows dual nationalities, your child will have to fulfil their citizen duties in that country when they are not in the United Kingdom.

What is the Fee for Applying for a British Citizenship by Birth?

The fee for getting your child registered for a British citizenship by birth is £1,012. An additional compulsory fee of £80 is a requirement for applicants that are aged 18 or more for booking their citizenship ceremony. Additional charges are applicable for biometric information depending on your application’s origin.

What is a Status Letter?

A status letter states the UKVI’s view of a person’s nationality status. These letters provide you vital information about how one obtains British nationality, keeping in mind your individual circumstances. The Letter of Status can be obtained by filling out the form NS. People wishing to check whether they are already recognised as a national of the United Kingdom can apply for a UK passport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can All Children Born in the UK Claim a British Citizenship by Birth?

No, a child who is born in the United Kingdom is not automatically entitled to getting UK citizenship by birth. The laws specify that a child can seek registration as a British citizen at birth if one or both the parents have the citizenship of the country or a settled status. A person who has received either the ILR status or EEA permit can get his child registered as a UK citizen. A separate application has to be filled for this purpose.

Can a Person Aged Below 18 Years Apply for a UK Citizenship?

A British citizenship can be acquired either by registration or by naturalisation. It is necessary for children below the age of 18 to apply under the registration route. The documents to be submitted by each applicant depend on his/her individual circumstances. For more assistance and guidance on how to apply for a UK citizenship for your child, get in touch with

What Rights Does a Child Born in Britain to Parents Who Are Not British Have?

Since the parents are non-British and have to adhere to the UK's immigration rules, the child is a dependant at birth. This means that a child has to adhere to the same immigration rules as his parents. If you wish to have your child stay and grow up in the UK, you the parents have to apply for a settled status or UK citizenship. Once you receive that you can seek registration of your child for a British citizenship by birth. 

When Can I Apply for a British Passport for My Child Born in the UK?

One of the commonly asked questions is can I apply for British passport for my child born in the UK? The answer depends on the status of the parents of the child born in the United Kingdom. A child who is eligible to apply for UK citizenship by descent since one or both of his parents are UK citizens, can apply for a UK passport immediately. However, if a child is born in the UK to foreign parents having a settled status, he will have to get registered as a UK citizen before applying for a UK passport. And for children born in the UK to non-British parents on work or other visas, they have no right to apply for a UK passport. Our expert team can guide you about the process for applying for a British passport for a child born in the UK.

How Can Help Me? has years of experience in guiding people about UK immigration laws and the rules and conditions for applying for a British citizenship in various circumstances. Our team of immigration experts can help you check your child’s eligibility for seeking citizenship of the United Kingdom besides fulfilling all the requirements for the same. We can also write a Letter of Representation providing details of your case besides liaising with the Home Office. Do get in touch with us at ------------ or send an email to ----------.

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