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Can I register a child aged under 18 as a British citizen?

This section provides details of how a person under 18 can register as a British citizen using application form MN1. Within this section, a person under 18 will be referred to as a child.

You should read the information in this section before you make an application for registration. You will need to pay a fee when you make your application. If you make an application for registration and it is unsuccessful, the UK Border Agency will not refund your fee.

To be able to register as a British citizen using application form MN1 the child must be under 18 on the day UKBA receives the application. Once the child turns 18 he or she will need to apply for registration or naturalisation as an adult.

If the child meets the requirements for registration, you should go to the applying section for details of how to apply.

Children who have automatically become British citizens do not need to register. You should read the page Who has citizenship for more details.

There are several ways that a child can meet the requirements to register as a British citizen. Depending on the child's circumstances, they will be able to apply for registration as a British citizen by entitlement or discretion. These terms are explained below.

If the child has a right under British nationality law to apply and be registered as a British citizen this is an entitlement.

If the child does not have a right under British nationality law to apply and be registered as a British citizen, registration will be at UKBA's discretion. In these cases they will consider the circumstances of the child's case and whether it is reasonable for them to be registered as a British citizen. If the child is applying for registration at their discretion you should provide as much evidence as possible to support the case.

It is possible that some families include some children with an entitlement to register and others without. If an application is made from families in these circumstances you are asked to indicate on the form if you still wish to register the children who have an entitlement to British citizenship if other applications are unsuccessful. If you do so, the children will have different nationalities.

For all registrations, the child must:

  • be under 18 on the date we receive the application; and
  • be of good character if they are 10 years or over on the date of application.

The child must also meet the requirements of certain sections of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Children born in the United Kingdom

Sections 1(3), 1(4) and 3(1)

Children adopted abroad by parents who are British citizens

Section 3(1)

Children born before 1 July 2006 whose father is a British citizen but not married to their mother

Section 3(1)

Children of a parent in designated service or community institution service

Section 3(1)

Children whose parents have given up and subsequently resumed British citizenship

Section 3(1)

Children born abroad to parents who are British by descent and who have lived in the United Kingdom in the past

Section 3(2)

Children born abroad to parents who are British by descent and who are now living in the United Kingdom

Section 3(5)

Children born abroad after 13 January 2010 to a parent who is in the armed forces

Section 4D

Other cases where it is considered to be in the childs best interests to be granted British citizenship

Section 3(1)

This content is subject to Crown Copyright

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