Registering your child for British citizenship
UK immigration solicitors love a good news story and that is what the recent court of appeal decision on registration fees for child British citizenship applications amounts to. In this blog we look at the case and what it means for parents.
If you have questions about British citizenship the specialist British Citizenship and immigration team at London based OTS Solicitors can help you. Call the friendly and approachable immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, Skype or telephone.
The registration fee for a child to register as a British citizen
The registration fee for a child to register as a British citizen is currently set by the Home Office at £1,012 per child applicant. That’s a lot of money for any family to find to register their child as a British citizen.
However, British citizenship solicitors say that the costs of child registration seems extraordinarily high when the cost to the Home Office of sorting out and processing each application for registration of a child as a British citizen is only £372. That is some Home Office profit margin. In fairness, the Home Office says that it uses the profit to fund other areas of Home Office work but parents have long asked the question why are they subsidising those areas of Home Office work by paying an excessive British Citizenship registration fee on behalf of their children. Some have speculated that it is because parents will normally do anything for their children and won't deny their child British Citizenship just because of the high fee. However, for some parents and children the £1,012 fee put British Citizenship out of their financial reach so their children were ‘’priced out’’ of British nationality. That doesn’t really sit comfortably with the concept of levelling up.
The court of appeal case on child British Citizenship registration fees
- Children feeling alienated and
- Children not fully assimilating into the British culture or social fabric and
- Children feeling as if they are second best.
The Home Office appealed against the decision and the finding that the Home Office had failed in its duty to assess the best interests of children and give primary consideration to the interests of those children in setting the registration fee for children.
The court of appeal in R (Project for the Registration of Children As British Citizens & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 193 has refused the Home Office appeal. The Home Office could appeal the decision or review the fee.
Which children have to pay to register as British citizens?
For children who aren’t born British, they may have a route to be registered as a British citizen under the British nationality Act 1981. Securing British Citizenship isn’t automatic and registration and payment of the registration fee can occur if, for example:
- Under section 1(3) of the 1981 Act a child born in the UK who is not automatically a British citizen is entitled to be registered as a British citizen if, before they reach the age of eighteen, their father or mother either becomes a British citizen or settles in the UK. A registration application has to be made. If the application isn’t made, the child loses the right to registration and importantly can't make the application once they reach the age of eighteen.
- Under section 1(4) of the 1981 Act a child born in the UK who is not automatically a British citizen is entitled to be registered as a British citizen after the age of ten provided that if in the first ten years of their life they have not been absent from the UK for more than ninety days in any year. A child can apply under section 1(4) even after they reach the age of eighteen.
Whilst the decision is good news, some children can't wait for the Home Office to reconsider the registration fees because of the time constraints of a section 1(3) 1981 Act application. If you are unsure about how to best proceed in the interests of your child take specialist legal advice from British citizenship solicitors.
Our friendly specialist London based immigration solicitors can answer your British Citizenship and immigration questions and look at your immigration options and routes to British Citizenship. For the best advice on British Citizenship and settlement in the UK call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or by telephone appointment.