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Getting British citizenship for children

This advice applies to England

If you want to get British citizenship for your child, you can apply to ‘register’ them as a British citizen. Registering is a way of applying for British citizenship. 

Your child needs British citizenship before they can get a UK passport.

If your child is over 18 years old, they’ll need to apply as an adult - check citizenship eligibility for adults.

If your child is under 18, it’s important to check if applying for citizenship is the right thing for them. It can cost over £1,300 and you won’t get your money back if your application is refused or your child is already British.

Check if your child is already a British citizen

Your child might have British citizenship automatically if they were born in the UK or they have a British parent.

You can check how the Home Office decide if someone is automatically a British citizen on GOV.UK.

If your child is already a British citizen, you don’t need to apply for citizenship for them. You can just apply for your child’s first passport on GOV.UK.

If you’re not sure your child is a British citizen, talk to an adviser.

If you’re pregnant or planning to have a child 

If you have permission to live in the UK permanently when your child is born, they’ll get British citizenship automatically. You’ll need to prove you have:

  • British or Irish citizenship

  • settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme

  • indefinite leave to remain 

  • right of abodei
  • permanent residence

If you have permanent residence, you might not have a document to prove it. If you're in this situation, talk to an adviser.

Check if you can apply for citizenship for your child

If your child isn’t already a British citizen, you might be able to apply for citizenship for them. It depends on where they were born and your immigration status.

If you’re also applying for citizenship yourself, you can apply for your child at the same time. You’ll need to fill in a different form for them.

If your child is over 10 years old, they must be ‘of good character’. Your child will usually be of good character unless they’ve got a criminal conviction. 

If you’re not sure your child is of good character, talk to an adviser.

If your child was born in the UK

You can apply to register your child for British citizenship if:

  • you got permission to live in the UK permanently after your child was born

  • your child's father was British or settled in the UK when your child was born

  • you joined the UK armed forces after your child was born

  • your child lived in the UK until they were 10 years old

If you got permission to live in the UK permanently after your child was born

You can register your child for citizenship if you or their other parent became ‘settled in the UK’ after they were born. You’re settled in the UK if you:

  • have British citizenship

  • have settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme

  • have indefinite leave to remain (or enter)

  • have right of abode

  • have permanent residence 

  • are an Irish citizen living in the UK

You can apply to register your child for citizenship using form MN1 on GOV.UK.

If your child's father was British or settled in the UK

Your child will usually be a British citizen if their biological father had British citizenship or was settled in the UK when they were born. You’re settled in the UK if you:

  • have British citizenship

  • have settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme

  • have indefinite leave

  • have right of abode

  • have permanent residence 

  • are an Irish citizen living in the UK

In some situations your child will not be a British citizen, even if their biological father was a British citizen or settled in the UK when they were born. Your child won’t be a British citizen if: 

  • they were born on or after 1 July 2006 and their mother was married to someone else

  • they were born before 1 July 2006 and their parents weren't married

If your child is in one of these situations, you might be able to register them as British - you don’t have to pay the citizenship application fee. 

If your child was born on or after 1 July 2006

You can read the UKF(M) form guidance on GOV.UK to find out what requirements your child has to meet to register as British.

If they’re eligible, you can apply to register your child for citizenship using form UKF(M) on GOV.UK. 

If your child was born before 1 July 2006

You can check the requirements your child has to meet to register as British on GOV.UK. 

If they’re eligible, you can apply to register your child for citizenship using form UKF on GOV.UK.

If you joined the UK armed forces after your child was born

You can apply to register your child as British if:

  • you or their other parent joined the UK armed forces after your child was born

  • your child was born on or after 13 January 2010 

You can apply to register your child for citizenship using form MN1 on GOV.UK.

If your child lived in the UK until they were 10

If your child is not already a British citizen, they’ll usually be eligible for citizenship - even if you or your child don’t have the right to live in the UK permanently. 

You can apply to register your child for citizenship using form T on GOV.UK.

If your child was born outside the UK

For your child’s application to be successful, they usually need to have at least one British parent. 

If neither of your child’s parents are British, one of you needs to apply for citizenship before or at the same time as your child.

If you didn’t have British citizenship when your child was born

You can apply to register your child as British if you meet all the Home Office’s criteria. They’ll consider things like:

  • if you and your child plan to live in the UK - if you or your child plan to live abroad their application might be refused

  • how long your child has lived in the UK - if they’re over 13 years old, they usually need to have lived in the UK for 2 years before you apply

  • your child’s immigration status - they’ll usually be refused if they don’t have indefinite leave or permanent residence

  • the immigration status and nationality of you and your child’s other parent

Your immigration status and nationality

You can apply to register your child as British if one of their parents is British or applying to become British. 

Your child’s other parent must either be British or settled in the UK. If their other parent has an immigration status that will lead to settlement, your child’s application might still be successful.

You’re settled in the UK if you:

  • have settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme

  • have indefinite leave

  • have right of abode

  • have permanent residence 

  • are an Irish citizen living in the UK

If you’re British and your child doesn’t have regular contact with their other parent, the other parent’s immigration status doesn’t matter.

If you’re applying for citizenship for yourself and you’re not sure your application will be successful, talk to an adviser.

Apply to register your child

You’ll need to apply to register your child as British using form MN1. It’s important that you read the form MN1 guidance in full on GOV.UK before you apply. It costs over £1,300 to apply and if your application is refused, you won’t get your money back. 

You can apply to register your child for citizenship using form MN1 on GOV.UK.

If your child’s father was British when your child was born

Your child will usually be a British citizen if their biological father both:

  • had British citizenship when your child was born

  • was born in the UK or applied for British citizenship

In some situations your child will not be a British citizen, even if their biological father was a British citizen when they were born. Your child won’t be a British citizen if: 

  • they were born on or after 1 July 2006 and their mother was married to someone else

  • they were born before 1 July 2006 and their parents weren't married

If your child is in one of these situations, you might be able to register them as British - you don’t have to pay the citizenship application fee.

If your child was born on or after 1 July 2006

You can read the UKF(M) form guidance on GOV.UK to find out what requirements your child has to meet to register as British.

If they’re eligible, you can apply to register your child for citizenship using form UKF(M) on GOV.UK. 

If your child was born before 1 July 2006

You can check the requirements your child has to meet to register as British on GOV.UK. 

If they’re eligible, you can apply to register your child for citizenship using form UKF on GOV.UK.

If you got British citizenship automatically when you were born

If you were born outside the UK, you are ‘British by descent’. This means you can’t automatically pass on British nationality to your children if they are born outside the UK. 

If you’re British by descent, you can apply to register your child as British if either:

  • you lived in the UK for 3 years at any time before your child was born

  • your whole family came to live in the UK for 3 years after your child was born

If you lived in the UK for 3 years before your child was born 

When you register your child as British, they’ll also be British by descent. This means they will not be able to pass on British nationality to any children they have outside the UK.

If your whole family comes to live in the UK after your child is born

You can apply to register your child as British after you’ve lived in the UK for 3 years. When you register your child, they’ll be ‘British otherwise than by descent’ - this means they can pass on British nationality to any children they have outside the UK.

Your whole family is your child and both their parents. If you’ve divorced or ended your civil partnership, or the other parent has died, your whole family is you and your child.

Apply to register your child

You can apply to register your child as British using form MN1 on GOV.UK.

If you were born in the UK

Your child will usually be a British citizen automatically. You can check how the Home Office decide if someone is automatically a British citizen on GOV.UK.

If your child isn’t eligible for citizenship in any country

This is known as being ‘stateless’. You can check how the Home Office decide if someone can get citizenship because they’re stateless on GOV.UK.

If your child isn’t eligible for citizenship

The Home Office might grant your child citizenship: 

  • if your child needs to be British for their job - for example, if they plan to join the Armed Forces or they’re going to represent the UK in sport

  • for compassionate reasons - for example, you’re British and caring for a child in your family whose parents have died and you want to get citizenship for the child

If you’re applying because your child needs to be British for their job or for compassionate reasons, talk to an adviser.

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