British Citizenship by Registration for Children

by | Sep 29, 2023 | British Citizenship, UK Immigration

The British Nationality Act 1981 forms the legal framework for registration as a British citizen. One essential aspect of this act is the registration of minors, which can occur through both entitlement and discretion. It’s worth noting that some children may already be British citizens without their parents realizing it, eliminating the need for additional registration.

Main Requirements for a British Citizenship by Registration

When it comes to applying for British citizenship, the requirements can vary depending on your circumstances. Here, we’ll outline the main requirements for children seeking British citizenship:

To register as a British citizen, children must meet certain criteria:

  • Born in the UK: Children born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 can apply.
  • Not Automatically British: If they were not automatically considered British by birth, they can still apply.
  • Parent’s Citizenship or Settlement: The child’s mother or father must have become a British citizen or settled in the UK before the child turns 18.
  • Age requirement: The application must be submitted before the child’s 18th birthday.


If a child was born outside the UK, they can still apply if:

  • Parents Applying: One or both parents are applying for British citizenship simultaneously.
  • Settled Parent: If only one parent is applying for British citizenship, the other parent must be settled in the UK.
  • Age requirement: The application must be made before the child turns 18.

Good Character Requirement:

For children over the age of 10 applying in either category, they must also demonstrate good character.

It’s important to note that there are additional circumstances under which a child can apply for British citizenship, usually on a discretionary basis. 

What documents do I need to register for British citizenship?

To successfully register as a British citizen, certain general requirements must be met, irrespective of the circumstances surrounding the application. These requirements include:

  • Identity Documents: Applicants must provide the child’s identity documents.
  • Birth Certificate: A birth certificate that includes the parents’ details is essential.
  • Parental Status: At least one parent should either be a Settled Person in the UK or a British Citizen.
  • Good Character Requirement: Children over 10 years old must meet the good character requirement.
  • Marriage Certificate: If applicable, the parents’ marriage certificate should be provided.
  • Travel History: Information on the child’s travel history, especially if they have traveled abroad, should be included.

The specific documentation needed will vary based on your individual circumstances.

How can we help 

To discuss your child’s application for British Citizenship by Registration with an experienced adviser, please contact our team on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form.  

Frequently asked questions

What is the processing time for a British citizenship registration application?

The processing time for a British citizenship registration application can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of your case, the volume of applications being processed, and the Home Office’s current workload. On average, it can take several months to receive a decision.

Is knowledge of the English language and life in the UK required for a child’s British citizenship application?

No, children applying for British citizenship through registration are not required to demonstrate knowledge of the English language or pass the Life in the UK test. These language and citizenship requirements typically apply to adult applicants seeking naturalization.

Do I need to renounce my current nationality to become a British citizen?

The UK allows dual nationality, which means you can hold British citizenship alongside your current nationality. However, some countries may have rules or restrictions regarding dual citizenship, so it’s essential to check the regulations in your home country before applying for British citizenship. The UK generally does not require you to renounce your current nationality to become a British citizen.

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