Immigration – British Citizenship (Registration)

What is Registration?

Registration is the legal process by which a minor aged under 18 can apply for British citizenship.

The British Nationality Act 1981 contains a number of sections which give minors in certain circumstances an entitlement to registration as British citizens.

What are the options for children born in the UK to register as a British Citizen?

If you have established that a child is not already a British citizen you must consider whether an entitlement to registration as a British citizen exists for a child under any of the provisions of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Some of the key provisions whereby a child born in the UK is entitled to register as a British citizen are as follows:

Requirements for registration under Section 1(3) British Nationality Act 1981:

Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • They were born in the UK
  • They were not British citizens at birth because at the time neither parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • While they are minors either of the parents has since become a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • They are under the age of 18 on the date the application is received
  • They are of good character if over the age of 10

Registration under section 1(3) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent to the child. Any of their children born abroad will automatically be British by descent.

Requirements for registration under Section 1(4) British Nationality Act 1981:

Children are entitled to registration under section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • They were born in the UK
  • They were not a British citizen at birth as at the time of birth neither parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • They are aged 10 years or over on the date of the application
  • They have lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life
  • They have not been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of their life
  • The Secretary of State is satisfied they are of good character

Registration under section 1(4) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent to the child. Any of their children born abroad will automatically be British by descent.

What are the options for children born outside of the UK to register as a British Citizen?

Some of the key provisions whereby a child born outside of the UK is entitled to register as a British citizen are as follows:

Requirements for registration under Section 3(5) British Nationality Act 1981:

Legitimated children are entitled to registration as a British citizen under section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • They were born outside the UK
  • At the time of the birth they had a parent who was a British citizen by descent
  • They are under the age of 18 when the application is made
  • The child and both of their parents were in the UK at the beginning of the 3 year period ending with the date of the application
  • The child and both of their parents have not been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in that 3 year period
  • The consent of both parents is given to the application
  • Children aged 10 or over on the date of application are of good character

Registration under section 3(5) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent to the child. Any of their children born abroad will automatically be British by descent.

Requirements for registration under Section 3(2) British Nationality Act 1981:

Children are entitled to registration as a British citizen under section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • They are born outside the UK
  • Either parent (‘the parent in question’) was a British citizen by descent at the time of the child’s birth
  • The mother or father of ‘the parent in question’ (the child’s grandparent) became or but for their death would have become, a British citizen otherwise than by descent either on 1 January 1983 or at the time of the parent’s birth
  • The ‘parent in question’ must have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 3 years at any time before the child’s birth, have been in the UK at the beginning of that 3 year period and not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in that 3 year period
  • Children aged 10 or over on the date of application are of good character

Registration under section 3(2) gives British citizenship by descent to the child with the additional caveat that any children born to them outside the UK will not automatically be British citizens.

What are the options for children who do not have entitlement to register as a British Citizen?

If the child does not have an immediate entitlement to British citizenship, or does not wish to wait for a possible future entitlement under the above sections, there is a discretionary provision for the registration of a child as a British citizen under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.

The Home Secretary may exercise their discretion to register a child as a British citizen under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • The applicant is under 18 at the date of the application
  • If aged 10 years or over on the date of application the applicant is of good character
  • They think fit to register them

How can Setfords help you?

For further information please get in touch below.

Discuss your British Citizenship – Registration application with our Immigration Experts now

Nicola Anne Wilkins

Consultant Solicitor – UK Immigration Law

Direct dial: 020 8103 2006
Head office: 0330 058 4012 then dial ext 2752
Email: nwilkins@setfords.co.uk
Form: Complete form now
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Quotes from previous clients

“Nicola assisted me in obtaining my UK Citizenship and UK Passport. I had a great experience working with Nicola. She is highly professional, thorough and her attention to detail is superb. She was also very good at explaining the process and proactive in helping me keep things on track by giving clear instructions on what was required as well as expert recommendations. A real pleasure to work with, and I would recommend Nicola to anyone needing expert support”.

“Nicola assisted me with my application for British Citizenship. I found Nicola to be a very hard-working, diligent and astute solicitor. During my time working with Nicola, she proved to be an excellent communicator, always keeping me aware of how the case was progressing, very good at keeping within budget and had extremely strong attention to detail, producing very thorough and high-quality work that achieved the result which I was looking for. Nicola was also an absolute pleasure to work with and I really felt that she went above and beyond the call of duty to help with the case. I would be delighted to work with Nicola again in the future”.