Why is it important to register children as British Citizens

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
1 November 2021

It is important to appreciate that becoming British does not only entail a child to having a passport.  There are many other advantages of having British nationality. Unlike any other immigration status, obtaining British citizenship is permanent and a person can only be deprived in the most extreme circumstances. For children who have lived in the UK for many years, being recognised as a British national is an important part of their sense of identity especially if they have other siblings who are British citizens. Citizenship brings many opportunities for children and young people which includes travel, higher education, career path and protection from the British Embassies whilst abroad.  The idea that children who spend the majority of their lives in the UK and consider themselves British should qualify for settlement and British nationality has been recently recognised by the Home Office.

The Home Office published on 26th October 2021 a concession for granting longer periods of leave and indefinite leave to remain for children.

Under this concession paragraph 276ADE(1)(v) of the Immigration Rules allows people aged 18-24 inclusive who have spent half their life living continuously in the UK to apply for permission to stay. However, they are usually granted two and a half years on the 10 years route.  Most other migrants can usually settled after five years. The new concession now allows those with permission under the half of life rule and who were born in the UK or entered as a child to apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years rather than 10 and thereafter qualify for naturalisation.  The full eligibility requirements are that the applicant :

  • Be aged 18 years or above and under 25 years of age and has spent least half of his/her life living continuously in the UK (discounting any period of imprisonment)
  •  Have either been born in or entered the UK as a child;
  • Have held five years limited leave; and
  • Be eligible for further leave to remain under paragraph 276ADE(1) of the Immigration Rules and have made an application under those rules.

That is just the first hurdle, though. Caseworkers must then decide whether or not to grant “early” indefinite leave to remain:

where an applicant meets the above criteria and requests an early grant of ILR the following factors should be considered:

These include (but are not limited to) the following:

the person’s age when they arrived in the UK

  • the length of their residence in the UK (including unlawful residence)
  • the strength of their connections and integration to the UK
  •  whether unlawful residence in the past was the result of non- compliance on the part of the applicant or their parent/guardian whilst the applicant was under the age of 18
  • efforts made to engage with the Home Office and regularise status
  • any leave currently held and length of continuous lawful leave
  • any period of any continuous leave held in the past
  •  whether (and the extent to which) limited leave to remain will have a detrimental impact on the person’s health or welfare

This is an important change in policy which can make a real difference to the lives of many of our young clients who are brought up to believe they are British and denied settlement and citizenship because of decisions of their parents or other adults in their lives.