Naturalization is one way of becoming a British citizen. However, this route is for adults only. Registration is another route to become a British Citizen. This is especially for children who can apply based on the citizenship status of their parents. They need to register for British citizenship who can’t become one automatically.
Registration as a British citizen is the most common route for the children below the age of 18 to become a British citizen. This route is less stringent than naturalization as there are fewer requirements to be met as compared to requirements while applying for naturalization. The registration process is also not required for each child because some children who are born in the UK can become a British citizen automatically depending upon the status of their parents at the time of their birth. British Nationality Act of 1981 clearly defines the right to British Citizenship as a child.
There are two sections in this act namely Section 1 and Section 3 which are important for a child’s right to British citizenship. Section 1 of the British Nationality Act 1981 applies to the children born in the UK and Section 3 of the act applies to the children born outside the UK.
Who can register as a British citizen?
It is important to know before registering a child as a British citizen that whether that child is already a British citizen or not. Because a minor may already be a British citizen and so there is no point in registering such a child. So, the registration is required only for those children who don’t have an automatic right to British citizenship.
You can apply for registration either by a way of entitlement or on a discretionary basis. Here are the specific eligibility requirements to be entitled to register as a British citizen. If you meet any of these conditions you can apply for the registration. These conditions will be assessed by the Home office.
You were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and you were not automatically a British citizen by birth:
(a) You can apply for the registration if both or one of your parents became British citizen or got settled status in the UK before you turned 18; or
(b) You can also apply if both or either of your parents became a member of the armed forces on or after 13th January 2010 before you turned 18; or
(c) You must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of your life and you applied for the registration when you were above 10; or
2. You were born in the UK before 1 July 2006 and your parents were not married when you were born, you could be a British citizen had your parents be married at the time of your birth but you never became a British citizen; or
3. You were born outside the UK on or after 1st January 1983 and at the time of your birth, either of your parents was a British Citizen by descent.
(a) The father or the mother of your parent who was a British citizen by descent at the time of your birth was a British citizen otherwise than by descent. Your British Citizen parent had been in the UK for a minimum of 3 consecutive years before your birth and during that 3 years he/she did not spend more than 270 days outside the UK; or
(b) You and your parents were in the UK for at least 3 years before the date you apply for your registration and during these 3 years time neither you nor your parents or spent more than 270 days outside the UK. Also, both your parents gave consent to the registration; or
You are a British Overseas Territory citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British Overseas citizen, a British subject or a British protected person.
(a) You were in the UK 5 years before the date you apply and during this period you did not spend more than 450 days outside the UK and in the last 1 year before the application, you did not spend more than 90 days outside the UK, or
(b) The secretary of state is satisfied that you don’t have any other nationality and you have not voluntarily lost you’re any other nationality after 4 July 2002; or
(c) State secretary is satisfied that you are a British National (Overseas) only after 19 March 2009; or
- You were born outside the UK on or after 13 January 2010 and you are under 18 at the time of application. At the time of your birth, either of your parents was a member of the armed forces posted outside the UK and they give consent to the registration
You can also apply for the registration based on entitlement if you renounced your British citizenship in the past and it was necessary for you to attain or retain citizenship of other nationality.
Apart from entitlement, you are also eligible to apply for the registration based on “discretion”. You can apply for the registration on a discretionary basis before you turn 18.
“Good Character” is an essential requirement for those who apply at the age of 10 or above.
How to apply?
Any individual above the age of 18 can apply for the registration as a British citizen on their while for children below 18 the form can be filled by their parent or guardian.
If you are below 18 the application fee to be paid is £1,012 and £1,206 for those who are aged 18 and above.
How long does it take to get a decision?
Generally, you receive a decision within 6 months but in some circumstances, it may take longer also.
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