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British Citizenship for Child Born Abroad

If your child has one or more British parents but they were born overseas, it’s possible to register them as British citizens.

If you need help making registering your child, our Manchester lawyers can help you. Call us on 0161 826 9783 to find out whether you meet the requirements and what your next steps in the process are.

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    British citizenship for children born overseas explained

    Any child child was born overseas to at least one British national parent will automatically acquire UK citizenship by descent. With that said, if the young person is to obtain a British passport, the process of registration will have to be completed.

    Any parents looking to register their citizenship for a child, can do so using the Form MN1, and once that document is submitted they’ll then be free to enter the country. Bear in mind that if you wish to register your child for British citizenship, you must do this before they reach the age of 18.

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    Requirements for registering a child for British citizenship

    The first step to registering a child’s fingerprints for British citizenship is completing and submitting the Form MN1, along with all the required supporting documentation.

    Once that’s been submitted, you must then pay the application fee. The application fee to register your child as a British citizen is £1,214.

    If the child is currently living outside of the UK, the application must first be sent to a British diplomatic mission, who will then forward it to the Home Office. You will need to pay an additional fee for this.

    Once the Home Office receives your application, you should have a decision in a matter of months.


    If you wish to acquire British citizenship for your child’s mother, there are a number of requirements that must first be met. These include the following:

    • Must have been born outside the United Kingdom
    • Must have had at least one parent who is a British national at the time of birth
    • Must be of ‘good character’ (if over the age of 10)
    • Child’s parents must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the application being submitted

    If you or your child fail to meet any of these requirements then it’s unlikely they’ll be able to acquire British citizenship.

    If you or your child fail to meet any of these requirements then it’s unlikely they’ll be able to acquire British citizenship.

    Does my child qualify for British citizenship by descent?

    Before you make an application for any child born abroad to acquire British citizenship, you should first determine they qualify. . Otherwise than by descent alone, you could end up wasting valuable time and money on an application that’s sure to end in failure.

    In order for your child to become a British citizen by descent, at least one parent must be a UK national at the time of their birth. Additionally, they must have been born outside the UK.

    If your child meets these requirements, they do not automatically become British citizens. Instead, they must register for British citizenship by descent.

    Registration vs naturalisation

    If your child meets the criteria for obtaining British citizenship by descent, you or other parent will not need to go down the naturalisation route. Instead, you’ll just need to complete the process of registration.

    There are some key differences between registration and naturalisation, and both can be complex and lengthy processes. If you’re still unsure which route you should take for your child and you’d like to understand the full ins and out of each, it’s always a good idea to get some professional legal advice.

    Documents needed to register a child as a British citizen

    In order to register your child as a British citizen by descent, there are a number of documents you’ll need to include.

    These include the following:

    • Biometric information in the form of fingerprints and photographs
    • Document explaining your reasons for registering your child
    • Passport
    • Birth certificate
    • Child’s full immigration history

    Although you’ll need to include all the above documents, this list is not necessarily exhaustive and in some cases, the Home Office may request additional paperwork before your child can be registered as a British citizen.

    Ensure all the documents provided are original copies. In some exceptional circumstances photocopies may be accepted but you’ll need to convince the Home Office it’s not possible to provide originals.

    What documents will I need to apply for a British passport for my child?

    Once your child has been successfully registered as a British citizen, you can then apply for a passport for them.

    You should remember that the application for a passport can only be commenced once you’ve received your child’s certificate of registration.

    Acquiring citizenship does not change the passport application process. Indeed, you’ll need to follow exactly the same steps as all other British citizens.

    When applying for your child’s passport, the Home Office will request evidence. This will include:

    • Certificate of registration
    • Child’s birth or adoption certificate
    • Evidence of one of the child’s parents’ immigration status

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for British citizenship for your child. Contact us

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              Frequently Asked Questions

              All of our Manchetser immigration lawyers are well-versed in the process of registering children as British citizens.

              Each of our caseworkers is an expert in this area of law, and we can guide you through the application process every step of the way, giving you the best possible chance of getting the result you’re looking for.

              If full application assistance isn’t what you’re looking for, and you’re just in need of some guidance on a few things you’re unsure of, we also offer untimed one-to-one advice sessions that could benefit you hugely.

              Regardless of where you’re at in the application process, if you require some assistance with registering your child for British citizenship then we’re on hand and ready to help.

              Once you’ve submitted your Form MN1 along with all of your supporting documentation, you should receive a decision on your application within 2-4 months.

              Remember, if your application form is filled out incorrectly or there’s any missing evidence then you’re likely to encounter delays.