Immigration Solicitors London

Est. 2002

+44 (0)20 7038 3980

RLegal Solicitors, 162-168 Regent Street London W1B 5TG

RLegal is regulated by the SRA, Reg No: 00380691

There are no formal requirements for registration of a child as a British national as all registrations are considered either by entitlement or at the discretion of the Secretary of State. The following factors, however, may be considered in deciding upon a successful application:


- the child’s connection with the United Kingdom;
- the child’s place of birth;
- where the child’s future is likely to lie;
- the parents’ views;
- the parents’ nationality;
- whether the child is of good character (for children over the age of 10 criminal convictions may be an issue);
- the length of time the child has lived in the UK;
- the length of time the child’s parents have lived in the UK; and
- any compelling circumstances which may require British citizenship.


Registration as a British child can fall into the following:

  • Section 1 (3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA 1981) – child born in the UK to a parent who has subsequently become a British citizen, settled in the UK or served in the armed forces
  • S 1 (4) BNA 1981 – child born in the UK and has spent the first 10 years of his life in the UK
  • S 3 (2) BNA 1981 – child born outside the UK to a British parent
  • S 3 (5) BNA 1981 – child born outside the UK where the parents have lived in the UK for 3 years
  • S 4(2) BNA 1981 – this includes British overseas territory national (BOTN), British overseas national, British national overseas, British subjects and British protected persons
  • S 4D – child born outside the UK where parent is serving in the armed forces
  • S 4F – may have had entitlement to register had the mother been married to the birth father
  • S 4G – born after 1 January 1983 and would have become British if the child’s mother had been married to the birth father
  • S 5 – BOTN national born in Gibraltar.

On 6 April 2015, the law was changed to allow a child born to a father who was British or had settled status out of wedlock to register as a British citizen - potential applicants who fall into this category may be able to apply free of charge if they were born before 1 July 2006.


Identifying the correct section to register a child as a British citizen is important as S 1 (3) allows the applicant to pass on nationality status whereas the others may not.


Where a child has been born in the UK to parents who have subsequently been granted indefinite leave to remain then that child can register as a British citizen ‘by entitlement’. This means that you would still need to satisfy some of the requirements shown above, however, there is no restriction on when the child applies for citizenship.


S 3 (2) BNA 1981

RLegal solicitors have successfully applied to register children born outside the UK where a British parent has previously resided in the UK for at least three years through the S 3 (2) BNA 1981 route. This type of application for child registration can be complex and advice should be sought from an immigration or nationality solicitor. 


For more information, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980 where you can talk to one of our team, email us at or complete our online enquiry form


There is no set requirement for a child to hold indefinite leave to remain in their own right prior to applying to register for British citizenship.

British passport

Please note a child born to parent who is British or has settled status at the time of the child's birth can apply for a passport to evidence it's nationality.

Benefit of becoming a British national for a child

British citizenship status allows a person to enter or remain without restriction indefinitely, to live, work, study and vote in the UK and may entitle them to state benefits receive treatment through the NHS and in most circumstances entitle them to be treated as 'home students' when applying for higher education courses. It also may enable them to work for the government related jobs such as the armed forces.


If you would like to discuss your child’s eligibility for British citizenship in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at or use our online enquiry form.


Alternatively click on the links below for frequently asked questions.


Applications may be made by way of either application Form MN1 or Form T this can be online.


The forms must be submitted with the relevant fee. The supporting documentary evidence must then also be provided to support the application and can be submitted online. The applicant must also attend biometrics. 


The passports can be submitted online but the originals must be provided on request. Therefore so long as the child has an immigration status they are free to travel. Please note, an application for a registration as a British citizen is not a visa application and care should be taken to ensure the child has the correct status. RLegal immigration solicitors can of course advise on this.

The application must be supported by two referees, each of whom must know the child. One of the referees must be a professional and must have interacted with the child in a professional capacity.


The referees must also be:


- a British citizen (for preference);

- aged 25 or over; – not related to the child;

- not related to the other referee;

- not your solicitor or agent.


Referees are not deemed acceptable if they have been convicted of an imprisonable offence during the last 10 years.


The referees can provide their details through the online form but must sign a legal declaration to state they know the child.

The Nationality Directorate is currently taking approximately 2-3 months to process applications, however this timescale can vary greatly depending upon staffing levels and the number of applications received. Current indications are that it is taking the Home Office 2-4 weeks to begin processing of applications.


Once an application for child registration has been submitted it is rare for the Home Office to provide an update. Care should be taken to ensure the application satisfies all the legal requirements when submitting an application for child registrations as British to ensure there are no delays or complications. 


Our immigration & nationality lawyers have considerable experience of submitting such applications spanning four decades.

The Home Office charge processing fees for registration applications which vary depending upon the nature of the application and number of applicants.


The typical application fee is £1012.

Comprehensive legal advice.


Ensuring your child’s application meets the legal requirements for child registration as a British citizens.


Completion and submission of all the relevant application forms.


Submission of the required evidence and booking biometrics.


Ongoing liaison with the authorities where required.


We can also assist with applications for child registration where the applicant is residing overseas.

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