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How to Register a child as a British citizen

Children below the age of 18 who do not automatically become British citizens based on birth can be registered as British citizens by way of entitlement or discretion under section 3 (1) of the British
Nationality Act 1981
. When discretion is applied, the Secretary of State for the Home Department decides based on the individual applicant's circumstances.

Who needs to register as a British citizen?

Children cannot naturalize as a British citizens. But they can consider for registration of a child as British Citizen. They can register by way of entitlement and discretion. To register by way of entitlement, a child must meetone of the following requirements:

 One of the parent was British by descent at the time of birth of the child – if the child is born in the UK; or
 Father or mother was British otherwise by descent at the time of birth – child born outside or inside the UK can apply for registration; or
 Where the child is born outside the UK and the parent was also born outside the UK but is British by descent, then the child and the parent have lived in the UK for 3 years and have not been absent for 270 days or more

Applying to register as a British citizen

A child born in the UK whose one or both parents is British or settled in the UK. The applicant must register the child as a British citizen before the child turns 18.

If the child was born in the UK and he/she has lived continuously up to the age of 10 in the UK, he/she can be applied to register before or after the age of 10 under Section 1 (4) of the British Nationality Act
1981. They must be of good character, and they must not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in each of the ten years they spent in the UK from their birth date.

Other children can register by way of discretion. The Home Office will usually consider the following when deciding whether to grant a child citizenship by way of discretion:
 Future intentions of the child
 The citizenship and immigration status of the child's parents
 The length of time the child has spent in the UK
 The child must be of a 'Good Character';
 Consent of the parent
 Whether it is in the best interest of the child or not

Applying to register for adopted children

A child that is adopted by parents who are British citizens in the UK becomes a British automatically otherwise than by descent. However, the adoption of the child must be done under Hague Convention
other adoptions are not recognized by the British Nationality Act 1981.
If you are looking for professional advice or representation of your application, please contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261 or email us –


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.