United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Registration - Minor 3(1) Discretionary
Section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 simply reads;
‘If while a person is a minor, an application for his registration as a British Citizen, The Secretary of State shall, if he feels fit, cause him to be registered as such a Citizen’.
The paragraph gives a broad discretion to the Home Secretary to effectively register any child as a British Citizen. Policies have been developed by the Home Office to deal with situations where it is felt that such circumstances would be an appropriate use of the Home Secretary’s discretion. There are around thirty different application types.
The criteria for registration under this provision by discretion is as follows;
a) The application must be made before the child’s 18th birthday;
b) Either parent has permanent residency in the UK;
c) The child’s future must lie with the UK;
d) The child has spent at least 3 years in the UK; AND
e) The child must hold a "settled" status in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain, Permanent Residency or an Irish citizen). In some circumstances, the child could still be registered if they don't hold this status (but this requires professional advice).