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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.

Contact our citizenship team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2139

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

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

Australia

Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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