As it is now approaching almost 2 years since the final Brexit transition period, many EU citizens resident in the UK will have now been granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. If you have been granted Settled Status, you may be wondering whether you need to submit any further applications to secure your residency in the UK and ensure your children are free to remain in the UK in the future.
Settled Status and what this means
As part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement EU citizens were given the opportunity to apply for Pre-Settled or Settled Status (dependent upon the individuals circumstances at the time of their application) to protect their right of residency in the UK.
Those granted Pre-Settled Status are given permission to live in the UK for 5 years, and after completing 5 years’ residence in the UK can apply for Settled Status.
Those granted Settled Status have a right to live in the UK permanently, meaning there are no further mandatory applications that you are required to submit to remain in the UK. With Settled Status, you may even spend up to 5 years outside of the UK before you lose your status.
Children born in the UK
Unfortunately, just because a child is born in the UK, this does not make them automatically British despite many assumptions.
A child born in the UK is only born British if either, or both, of their parents at the time of their birth held Settled Status, Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship. If these requirements are met, then an application for a British passport for a child can be made straight away or at any point in their life directly to His Majesty’s Passport Office.
There are some situations in which a child can claim British citizenship in other ways but, as the British nationality act is very complex you may decide to seek tailored legal advice on whether this applies to your child.
Registration as a British Citizen for a child born in the UK
There are two more common circumstances where not automatically British may be eligible to be registered as British:
- Where the applicant is still a child (under the age of 18) and one or both of their parents named on their birth certificate have obtained Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain since their child has been born – the child has the right to register as a British citizen under Section 1 (3) of the British Nationality Act 1981.
- Where the applicant was born in the UK and his lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life, they have the right to register as British under Section 1 (4) of the British Nationality Act 1981. The applicant can be a child or an adult, but the application fees will differ.
In both cases, there are fees that apply to this type of application, payable to the Home Office at the point of submitting the application.
Therefore, if you are the parent of a child born in the UK and you have obtained Settled Status since their birth, you can apply to Register your child as a British citizen. Registering your child as British when they are a minor gets this hurdle out of the way early on. It is also normally cheaper to register rather than wait to naturalise as British, when an adult.
British nationals are allowed to hold dual citizenship – although you need to check whether the laws of the other nation also allow this.
Can adults who hold Settled Status obtain British Citizenship?
Applying for British citizenship as an adult is an option you may wish to explore, even more so if you are hoping to register your child as British and wish to have the same nationality as them! The process for an adult is known as naturalisation as a British citizen.
Despite Settled Status allowing you to remain in the UK indefinitely, there are certain circumstances that the Home Office may have to revoke your immigration status (this is usually down to criminality or a single absence from the UK in excess of 5 years).
British citizenship does not only mean that you can remain in the UK indefinitely and spend as much time outside of the UK as you like without worrying about your immigration status lapsing, it can also protect you from having your right to remain in the UK removed.
There are various requirements for an application to naturalise as a British citizen such as:
- You must be aged 18 or over
- You must have held your Settled Status for 12 months or more before applying
- You must be a person of good character
- You must have not spent any significant amount of time outside of the UK in the last 5 years
- You must have passed an approved English language test at the correct level
- You must have passed the Life in the UK test
These requirements are what the Home Office expect you to satisfy when applying for naturalisation. It is however possible to request discretion from the Home Office if your application is not straight forward and you may have problems in meeting the above requirements easily.
We can help!
Truth Legal are experts in all types of nationality application. If you would like to discuss your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us!
From one of the UK’s most read legal blogs.