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.