British registration for children provides the benefit of being able to live, study or work freely in the UK at any time in the future. British students also get access to higher education funding, as the fees for higher education is significantly more for international students.
With the recent changes in the UK’s immigration policy, more and more EU nationals are looking to secure British Citizenship status for their children who are still minors. While the entitlement to register as a British Citizenship mainly relies on the status of the parents, the date of the child’s birth is also a determining factor. The process of applying for British Citizenship for minors is known as Registration, whereas for adults this is known as Naturalisation.
Citizenship for children of EEA nationals born in the UK
Different rules will apply depending on when a child was born. If the child was born in the United Kingdom, either:
- before 2nd October 2000 to an EEA national parent, they will be a British citizen if the parent was exercising EC Treaty rights at the time of birth, or
- between 2nd October 2000 and 30 April 2006 to an EEA national parent, they will only be a British citizen if the parent had indefinite leave to remain in the UK at the time of the birth, or
- after 30 April 2006 to an EEA national parent, they will be a British citizen if their parent had been in the United Kingdom exercising EC Treaty rights in accordance with the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 for more than 5 years or has indefinite leave to remain.
Can I apply for my child’s British Citizenship if I have Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Even if a child is not a British citizen by virtue of his/her parent being settled in the UK at the time of her birth, the child is entitled to register as a British citizen if the parent in question becomes settled after the child’s birth and whilst the child is a minor. Entitlement to be registered as a British citizen under section 1(3), if the parent has since become “settled” here. The parent will have become “settled” if:
- he or she has been granted indefinite leave in the United Kingdom (this includes ILR granted under the EU Settlement Scheme), or
- he or she has been exercising EEA free movement rights in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of 5 years ending on or after 30 April 2006
Can I apply for British Citizenship for my child if I have pre-settled status?
EU children born in the UK, whose parents have not completed five years continuous residence under the terms of EU law prior to their birth will not be British at birth. The child will only have an automatic entitlement to register as a British citizen in terms of section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981, either once one of their parents acquires permanent residence or settled status.
What documents are needed to apply for a British Citizenship for the child of an EU national?
The documentary evidence required for British citizenship registration for children of EEA nationals will vary from case to case as per the individual circumstances. Some of the documents may include:
- Evidence of identity such as the child’s passport or travel document, birth certificate showing the parents’ names
- Evidence of the parent’s freedom from immigration restrictions such as a letter from UK Visas and Immigration or its predecessors, or a passport with an endorsed Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or No Time Limit (NTL) stamp; or a document certifying permanent residence or a Permanent Residence Card.
- Evidence relating to which treaty rights were being exercised by the EEA national parent in the UK. So, for example, if the parent was here as a worker then the evidence required is a letter from an employer and documents showing evidence of employment between the relevant dates such as payslips.
What is the process for Registering my child as a British citizen?
The process for registering a child as a British citizen is the same regardless of whether the child was born in the UK or outside the UK and an application can be made online through the UKVCAS and you will need to provide biometrics. The cost of applying is £1012 with an additional £19.20 biometrics fee.
Your child may also be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony which costs £80. If the child cannot speak enough English to understand what will be said they will be expected to take someone with them to interpret. During the ceremony they will be asked to repeat the words of the oath and pledge in English, and are advised to practise saying these words before they attend.
Can I apply for a British passport for my child if I am a permanent resident of the UK?
For children whose parents can establish they held permanent residence at the time of the child’s birth, all the EU parent is required to do is apply for the child’s first British passport, in the same way, a British parent would apply for a first passport for their British child.
Frequently asked questions
As an average estimate, you can expect your child’s MN1 application to take between 2-6 months. If you have not heard anything after 6 months you can contact the Home Office to inquire about the status of the application.
As on 04 October 2023, it costs £1,214 to apply for registration per child. You must also pay £80 for your child’s citizenship ceremony if they turn 18 during the application process.