Skip links

Child Registration

British Nationality

Child Registration

British citizenship by birth cannot always be acquired through one of the parents’ status. Furthermore, UK immigration law no longer recognises every child born in the UK as a British national.

Consequently, children can receive British citizenship by birth only based on specific circumstances. For instance, British nationality can be automatically acquired when both parents are settled in the UK. Differently, children of British nationals born abroad will need to be registered for citizenship.


Only applicants aged 18 or above can naturalise as British Citizenship. If your children are under the age of 18, you will need to apply for registration. However, before they can be included in your citizenship application, they must hold Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Children who are over the age of 13 can qualify for Naturalisation only if they have lived in the UK for at least two years prior to their application for registration.

Children who were born in the UK from non-British nationals will be entitled to register for citizenship as soon as their parents acquire ILR or Settlement Status. On the other hand, children of non-British parents who are already settled in the UK will automatically obtain nationality at birth.

To register your children for British citizenship, you can fill in the online form. You will then be asked to book an appointment at your nearest UKVCAS service point to provide your biometric information.

You can also have your application documents scanned and copied at one of these centres.


Children born outside the country from UK nationals can acquire British nationality “otherwise than by descent”. This means that he or she will, in turn, be able to transmit this status to future generations born either abroad or in the UK.

According to the 1981 British Nationality Act, an individual born outside the UK can be a British citizen if at the time of the birth either the father or the mother was a UK national.

Children under the age of 18 can acquire or register for British citizenship providing that:

  • Both parents have lived in the UK for three years on the date that the application is submitted.
  • Both parents sign and consent to the application.
  • If the child is aged ten or older, he or she must be of good character.

If both parents were born in the UK, the child will automatically acquire citizenship status. Differently, if the parents are both British nationals but were born abroad, children will need to be registered for nationality. The same applies to children born abroad who were adopted by British parents.


According to the 1981 British Nationality Act, as amended by the 2002 Adoption and Children Act, children adopted on or after 1st January 1983 acquire British citizenship automatically if one of the adopters is a UK national.

A child who is not already a British citizen also acquires UK nationality, providing that at least one of the adopters is habitually resident in the country or one of the designated territories.

Children who are subject to a parental order made in a UK court can become British citizens if the person making the order is  UK national.

British citizenship acquired by adoption is not lost if the adoption or parental order ceases to have effect.

It must be noted that children adopted overseas before 1st June 2003 do not automatically qualify for a British passport.

Schedule a consultation

Welcome to Meliora Legal, where we believe in making legal services accessible and hassle-free for our clients. Our team of experienced attorneys is committed to providing you with the highest level of personalized service and representation.

If you’re in need of legal assistance, we encourage you to book a call with us today. Our booking process is quick and easy, and you can rest assured that your consultation is guaranteed. We’ll take the time to understand your unique situation and provide you with clear, actionable advice on how to move forward.

Whether you’re facing a complex legal issue or simply need guidance on a legal matter, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate – book your call with Meliora Legal now and take the first step towards achieving your legal goals.