The scheme

Children

Children born in the UK may be British by birth or may be registered as British (upon payment of a fee). Otherwise, children of all ages must be registered under the scheme. People under 21 whose parents have been granted settled status will also be granted settled status regardless of their length of residence.

Within the context of the scheme, the term “children” does not necessarily refer to minors, it can also refer to people over the age of 18.

family

For the purpose of the scheme, a “child” is a direct descendant of an EU citizen or of their spouse or civil partner. A such, this definition extends to include a grandchild or great-grandchild. In addition, “child” includes an adopted child or a child born through surrogacy where recognised in UK law, but it does not currently include a child cared for by the EU citizen or by their spouse or civil partner by virtue of a legal guardianship order or a formal or informal fostering arrangement. This criteria may be subject to change.

TIPIf the child is related to the guardian, they may be able to come within the definition of ‘dependent relative’. See Eligible family members

A person under the age 21 will automatically be considered a dependent. If the individual is over 21, the following must apply:

  • The individual is unable to meet their essential living needs (in whole or in part) without the financial or other material support of the relevant EU citizen or of their spouse or civil partner; and
  • the relevant EU citizen or their spouse or civil partner provides the required  support; and
  • if the child was aged 21 years or over when they came to the UK to join the EU citizen or their spouse or civil partner, they were dependent on that support in their country of origin or residence, although there is no need to determine the reasons for dependence.

The scheme will also be open in certain circumstances to a non-British citizen child born in the UK or overseas after 31 December 2020 to, or adopted by, a parent or parents eligible for status under the scheme.

documents
  • a relevant document such as a family permit, registration certificate, residence card or PR card, issued under the EEA Regulations on the basis of the relevant family relationship;
  • their full birth certificate; or
  • other documentation which evidences that the applicant is the direct descendant of the EU citizen or of their spouse or civil partner.  A short birth certificate may be accepted if other evidence corroborates it and there are no concerns about the child’s relationship to the applicant.
British passport

People who are British by birth do not need to apply for status under the scheme, nor for registration or naturalisation. They can proceed to apply for a British passport (or parents for a passport for their child) by providing the required evidence. This evidence, as well as the criteria, will vary according to the date of birth.

Anybody who was born in the UK before the 1st of January 1983 is automatically British by birth. Various provisions apply for individuals born to EU nationals after that date, depending on their date of birth.

Children born in the UK where at least one parent was a British citizen at the time of their birth will be British.

Before January 1st 1983

Any person born in the UK before January 1st 1983 was automatically British by birth.

From January 1st 1983 to October 2nd 2000

Children born in the UK during this period are British by birth if, at the time of their birth, at least one parent was:

  • Settled in the UK. That means having confirmation of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or No Time Limit (NTL); or
  • Exercising treaty rights as an EU citizen, such as being a worker or a self-employed person, or falling into any other category as stated in the EEA Regulations.

Between October 2nd 2000 and April 30th 2006

Children born in the UK during this period are British by birth if, at the time of their birth, at least one parent:

  • Was settled in the UK. That means having confirmation of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or No Time Limit (NTL); or
  • had a document certifying permanent residence or permanent residence card.

After April 30th 2006

Children born in the UK during this period are British by birth if, at the time of their birth, at least one parent:

  • Was settled in the UK, that means having confirmation of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or No Time Limit (NTL); or
  • had acquired PR status in accordance with the criteria set out in the EEA Regulations, regardless of whether they held a document certifying permanent residence or not.

A British passport application can be made directly for those who fall under the above categories, supplying the relevant documentation to the passport office.

REFDocuments for passport applications of children born in the UK to EU parents.

If necessary, refer to the following document to understand the various categories of treaty rights:

REFTreaty Rights Policy.

UK Flag

A child who was born in the UK on or after January 1983, and at a time when their parents did not meet the above criteria, can be registered as a British citizen. Registration of children is much simpler than adult naturalisation, however the fees for the most common types of registration are almost as high, so applications should be prepared with care.
WARNINGIt is the policy of the Home Office not to refund fees for failed applications.
REFRegistration fees are on page 2 of this document.

Routes to registration

Form MN1

The MN1 form is used to register children born in the UK where at least one parent has become settled in the UK or acquired British citizenship since their birth. For EU nationals, settlement generally means having acquired PR status under the criteria set out by the EEA Regulations, even where they do not hold a document certifying that status (a PR card). It will also apply to people who have been granted settled status under the scheme. This form can only be used to register minors (under 18). A hefty registration fee has to be paid. For eligible minors, this form is generally simpler than form T, fees are the same.

REF Form MN1 guidance

Form T

Form T can be used by both adults and minors (over 10 years of age), provided they meet the criteria, which includes a maximum number of days away from the UK and good character. It is intended for those born in the UK to parents who were neither British nor settled at the time of the birth, and who have lived the first 10 years of their lives in the UK. Unlike form MN1, it does not require a parent to be settled in the UK, and can also be used by persons over 18 years of age. As with the MN1 form, a hefty registration fee applies.

REF Form T Guidance

Form UKF

Form UKF can be used by both adults and minors, provided they meet the criteria. It is intended for those born in the UK to before 1 July 2006 to a British father and whose parents were not married, that is, persons who would have been British by birth had their parents been married at the time of the birth. There is no application fee but individuals aged 18 and over must pay the ceremony fee.

REF Form UKF Guidance

Irish Flag

Irish nationals are not subject to the requirements set out in the EEA Regulations, they regarded as “settled” in the UK without being subject to a minimum period of residence. That means children born in the UK to an Irish parent are British by birth and can apply for a British passport without registration.

The Windrush Scheme

Although largely aimed at Commonwealth nationals, the Windrush scheme has the following provision:

for any nationality – you arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and you have lived continuously in the UK since your arrival – you can apply for a document confirming you already have the right to live permanently in the UK

The scheme can be useful for parents whose children born in the UK would be British by birth without registration if they were issued with a document confirming their settlement in the UK before their children were born, particularly if they were born between October 2nd 2000 and April 30th 2006.

REF The Windrush Scheme application

REF The Windrush Scheme

Any children born in the UK to a parent with settled status will be British by birth without registration, and any children born before at least one parent was settled can be registered after at least one parent acquires settled status. However, settled status will not follow the criteria set out in the EEA Regulations whereby status can be acquired using any 5 year period of residence. Parents may want to check if they have acquired the right to permanent residence in accordance with the EEA Regulations before the birth of their children to avoid having to register them.

Please note: The registration of children as British carries a large fee, therefore, anyone attempting to follow this route should familiarise themselves with the requirements and criteria before applying. The details provided here are purely for reference and potential applicants are advised to seek legal advice from a qualified professional.