close menu

Children under 18
(UK-born grandparent)

There are provisions in law for children under 18 with a UK-born grandparent and who are not resident in the UK to be registered as British citizens.

A child under 18 born (and resident) outside of the UK with a UK-born grandparent has a potential claim to British nationality if the following apply:

  • A parent:

    1. Has a UK-born parent
    2. Has spent at least two and half years in the UK in the past
    3. Was British at the time of the child's birth

    All of these circumstances must apply and the child must be registered as a British citizen before it turns 18.
  • The family moves to the UK before the child turns 15 and they spend at least three years in the UK. The child must be registered as a British citizen before it turns 18.
  • A parent:

    1. Has a UK-born parent
    2. Was in long-term employment with a UK-domiciled company at the time of the child's birth
    3. Was British at the time of the child’s birth

    Examples of international companies domiciled, listed or headquartered in the UK include Old Mutual, Investec, BP, Glencore, Norwich Union, Rennies and SABMiller.
  • The child is particularly gifted in sports, music or the arts.
  • A discretionary registration is justified (but only in exceptional circumstances).
  • The child:

    1. Is born to a British parent
    2. Does not acquire a nationality automatically at birth from either parent

    It does not matter if the child subsequently gains a nationality at a later date. This situation is known as statelessness and 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. So it is possible for a British parent to select the country in which the child is born in order to create statelessness. In such a case, the child takes on the nationality of the British parent.
  • The child had a UK-born grandfather who was in Crown service at the time of the relevant parent’s birth.
  • A parent:

    1. Had a UK-born mother
    2. Did not have a UK-born father
    3. Was registered as a British citizen between 2 February 1979 and 31 December 1982
  • A parent was registered as a British citizen in the past. However, not all registrations were the same and they created different rights depending on the type of registration, as well as where and when it occurred.
  • A parent was born in a former British colony.

A specific application for registration as a British citizen can be made before the child turns 18. It is 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.

South Africa

Cape Town

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


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

United Kingdom


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


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



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.

This site uses cookies, read more or close this notice.