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Claiming British citizenship for children outside UK

Even if a child has no UK-born grandparent there are provisions in law for children under 18 who are not resident in the UK to make a specific registration as a British citizen.

A child under 18 born outside of the UK without a UK-born grandparent may have a potential claim to British nationality if any of the following apply:

  • A parent is British otherwise than by descent
  • The child did not acquire a nationality automatically at birth (irrespective of whether the child subsequently gained nationality at a later date) and a parent was British at the time of the child’s birth*
  • The family relocates to the UK (on a British or EU passport or a qualifying residency visa) and the child accompanies the family as a dependant**

A specific application for registration as a British citizen can be made before the child turns 18. It can be important to take action before a child turns 18. After they turn 18, several rights to British nationality fall away and can be lost forever.

* This is particularly common in countries that do not grant automatic nationality at birth or who require (one of) the parents to hold a particular status at the time of the child's birth.

** The child can be registered as a British citizen before the age of 18 in certain circumstances.

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120

Durban

201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom

London

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Croydon

5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

Australia

Melbourne

9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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