Can I get UK citizenship through my child?
Parents cannot obtain British citizenship through their children, however, children can obtain British citizenship through their parents.
Children born inside the UK do not always automatically acquire British citizenship but children can be eligible for citizenship if at least one of their parents is a British citizen or has settled status in the UK.
Although parents are not able to obtain British citizenship through their children, they may be able to apply for leave to remain in the UK if their child has British citizenship or has lived in the UK for 7 years. Obtaining leave to remain can be the first stepping stone towards naturalising as a British citizen if the applicant goes on to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years.
British citizenship for children born in the UK
Children who are born in the UK do not necessarily have an automatic right to British citizenship. Usually, a child who is born in the UK is an automatic British citizen if they were born in the UK on or after January 1st 1983 and at the time of their birth at least one of their parents was either a British citizen or settled in the UK.
Children born in the UK who are not automatic citizens may be eligible to register as British citizens. In order to register, they must either have lived in the UK until they were 10 or older or be under the age of 18 and have at least one parent who has become a British citizen or settled person since their birth.
In order for your child to register as a British citizen they must fill out a form online at the gov.uk website, you can fill out this form on their behalf for them. They will also need to attend an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide their biometric information.
Applications to register as a British citizen can also be submitted by post, but this will take much longer so it is advised that you apply online.
Applying for the right to remain because you have children
Although you cannot obtain British citizenship through your children, you could apply for the right to remain in the UK because of your children under Appendix FM of the immigration rules. In some situations, a parent may not be eligible for immigration status but their child may be eligible, in these cases the parent can apply for the right to remain in the UK on the basis of being the parent of a child with immigration status.
To be eligible to apply for leave to remain on this basis your child must either be a British citizen, be eligible for British citizenship or must have lived in the UK for 7 years. When applying for leave to remain as the parent of a child in the UK you will need to meet the following requirements:
- You must prove that you have either sole parental responsibility or direct access to your child
- You must also show that you are currently taking and intend to continue taking an active role in your child’s upbringing
- You must be able to provide for your child without needing access to public funds
If your child usually lives with their other parent then this parent must have settled status or British citizenship in order for you to apply for leave to remain. If you are in a relationship with the other parent and they are a British citizen or settled person then you are not eligible to apply for leave to remain under this route but can apply to remain as a partner or spouse instead.
If your application to remain as a parent is successful then you will be able to stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months, after this you can apply to extend your stay. After living in the UK for 5 years you could be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), this grants you permanent residence status. After a further 12 months of holding ILR, you could be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
Applying to remain as a parent if your child is not a British citizen
If your child is not a British citizen or has not lived in the UK for 7 years then you may still be able to apply for leave to remain as the parent of a child in the UK by making a human rights-based application based on your right to family life.
Applications based on a right to family life, however, are complex and difficult, you would need to show that requiring you or your child to leave the UK would be a disproportionate breach of your right to family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. To do this you would need to find ways to demonstrate that your family or private life cannot be maintained if you have to leave the UK by showing strong connections to the UK and outlining the ways that your removal would impact your child’s life.
If you have a poor immigration history or any criminal convictions then you are less likely to have a successful application as these could count against you.
How to become a British citizen
The first step towards naturalising as a British citizen is to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can be eligible for this after living in the UK for 5 years. You can begin the British citizenship application process after holding Indefinite Leave to Remain for 12 months.
As well as holding Indefinite Leave to Remain, there are other requirements that you will need to meet when applying for British citizenship, these include:
- Being over the age of 18
- Passing the Life in the UK Test
- Demonstrating knowledge of the English language
- Meeting the good character requirement
You can apply to become a British citizen online or by post, you will need to fill in and submit the application form alongside your supporting documents. You will also need to attend an appointment at UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information.
If your application is approved then you must attend a British Citizenship ceremony, following this, you will have the same rights as any other British citizen including the right to a British passport.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Citizenship and nationality issues can be incredibly complex and are often difficult to navigate alone. Our London immigration lawyers are experienced when it comes to British nationality cases and will be able to help you no matter how complex your situation may be.
Our lawyers can assess your eligibility for British citizenship and can also offer you professional legal advice about the citizenship routes available to you. As well as offering expert advice, our lawyers can help you to apply for citizenship and can also assist you with registering your child as a British citizen.
Our application services include:
- Full document and application checks
- Completing and submitting application forms to the Home Office on your behalf
- Providing a Letter of Representation to support your application
- Helping you to put together an extensive portfolio of supporting evidence
- Answering any questions that you may have about the application process
For more information about the services that our London team offers, get in touch today by calling 020 4502 8582.
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