United Kingdom - flag 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).


Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth.

WhatPassport.com is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.