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Children under 18 who are
resident in the UK

There are provisions for children under 18, who are resident in the UK, to acquire rights to British nationality. These rights depend on their age and the status of their parents.

Children born in the UK

More information on the rights of children born in the UK.

Children not born in the UK

Section 3 (1) of the Home Office's guide on registration as a British citizen

A child under the age of 18 born outside of the UK could be registered as a British citizen if:

  • Their family have settled in the UK
  • They have at least one parent who is naturalising as a British citizen (or is already British) and the other parent holds a settled status
  • The child also holds the settled status
  • The child is aged over 13 and has at least two years' UK residence

Section 3 (5)

A child under the age of 18 born outside of the UK could be registered as a British citizen where both of the following apply:

  • One parent is British by descent at the time of the child’s birth
  • Both parents* and the child have been resident in the UK for at least three years (this may be shorter in some cases)

* Where the parents have separated, are living separately or never married, different criteria apply and these should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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

Settled status

 Settled status is most commonly held by one of the following:

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
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


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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