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Minors can register as British citizens by entitlement and discretion. The British Nationality Act 1981 contains provisions for children to be registered as British citizens and different sections of the Act relate to different scenarios. You may not know under what section of the Act you are applying and so please feel free to contact us to find out more information about the applicationBefore considering a registration application we must check whether the child is already a British citizen. The child may already be a British citizen without you realising, it in which case you do not need to register the child.

Please follow this link to read the Home Office guidance regarding the registration of a child as British citizen.

What are the requirements for Registration under section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981?

Children who are born in the UK can register under this section if they are not born British because at the time of their birth neither of their parents was British or settled.  

  1. They must be under the age of 18 at the time of the application and must be of good character, if over the age of 10
  2. while they were minors either of the parents have become a British citizen or settled in the UK.  

What evidence needed to be provided under section 1(3)?

  1. Applications under this section must be supported with the child’s birth certificate showing birth in the UK and the parents’ details
  2. Evidence of the parents’ British citizenship since the applicant’s birth such as a British passport or naturalisation certificate or evidence of the parents’ settled status since the applicant’s birth, such as an Indefinite Leave to Remain letter or a Home Office letter
  3. The marriage certificate if the parent whom the claim is based on, became British Citizens or settled in the UK after the child was born. 

What are the requirements for Registration under section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981?

  1. The child should be born in the UK 
  2. They were not British citizens at birth, as at the time of birth neither parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK
  3. They are aged 10 years or over on the date of the application 
  4. They have lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life 
  5. They have not been outside the UK for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of their life and they are of good character. 

What is the evidence required under Section 1(4)?

The application must be supported with:

  1. Applicant’s full birth certificate to confirm they were born in the UK and that they are 10 years of age or over at the date of the application 
  2. Evidence of residence to cover the first 10 years of the applicant’s life such as passport, medical records, the Red Book, (which is a vaccination record), doctors letters, letters from the child’s nursery, letters from the school confirming attendance. 

In the above applications the parent has to consent but it is not mandatory if consent is not gained, it is not a reason to refuse the application.  

The requirement for Registration under section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981?

Children born outside the UK can apply to Register under this section if:

  1. They were born outside the UK
  2. At the time of  birth they had a parent who was a British citizen by decent 
  3. They are under the age of 18 when they make the application 
  4. The child and both their parents were in the UK at the beginning of the three year period ending with the date of the application 
  5. The child and both their parents have not been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in the three year period 
  6. The consent of both parents is given to the application 
  7. Children aged 10 or over at the date of the application are of good character. 

It is important to note that absences in excess of 270 days may lead to a refusal of the application. If the child was  born before 1st July 2006 and the parents were not married, the references to the parent are references to a mother only, unless the child’s parents subsequently got married.  If the child was born after 1st July 2006 and the parents were not married, the references to the parent are references to the mother and also the father. 

What evidence is required under section 3(5)?

The evidence to be provided is:

  1. Child’s full birth certificate showing parents’ details 
  2. Evidence of the parents British nationality by decent at the time of the child’s birth 
  3. Parents’ marriage certificate if applicable 
  4. Passport or alternative evidence of residence for the children and the parents to confirm residence in the UK for three years immediately before the date of the application. 

Please note parental consent is a statutory requirement for Registration under this section and there is no discretion to waive this requirement.  The consent of the parents has to be given in writing and be signed.

What is discretionary application under section 3(1)?

This is an application that we often do, and we deal with circumstances in which it will normally be appropriate for the Secretary of State to exercise discretion and to Register the children as British nationals.  We specialise in identifying scenarios where the Secretary of State should expect to Register the child as a British citizen. The Home Secretary may exercise their discretion to Register people as British citizens if:

  1. The person is under the age of 18 at the date of the application 
  2. If aged 10 or over is of good character and the Secretary of State thinks it fit to Register them.  

These are the ONLY statutory requirements and therefore providing evidence as to why discretion should be exercised is most important. The guidance that the Home Office uses is not a definitive Rule and therefore each case will be decided on its merit.  All relevant factors must be taken into account and the application to be used for Registrations of minors and discretion is Form MN1.

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Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped families and children to register as British citizens.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to apply for naturalisation of a child, please contact Danielle on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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