United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - Child under 18

Listen to our RECENT WEBINAR where our two British nationality experts - Philip Gamble and Mishal Patel - discuss the ways in which children under 18 can have rights to British nationality.

When a child turns 18, there are several British Nationality solutions that fall away and are no longer available to them. It is therefore important to ensure that any such applications are made BEFORE the child turns 18.

While the nationality laws are complex around the granting of British Nationality to children under 18, there are several obvious circumstances that give rise to a claim:

  • the child did not acquire a citizenship automatically at birth (irrespective of whether the child subsequently gained nationality at a later date). This is particularly common in countries that do not not grant automatic citizenship at birth, or who require (one of) the parents to hold a particular status at the time of the child's birth - READ MORE;
  • a parent is British and has spent (or spends) at least two and a half years in the UK in the past (or before the child turns 18) - READ MORE;
  • a parent is British and relocates their family (including the minor child) to the UK and spends two and a half years there - READ MORE;
  • a parent who has renounced British Nationality in the past - READ MORE
  • discretionary registrations of children in special circumstances.


It is critical to take action before the child turns 18 if a claim in these circumstances is to be successful. The year or so before a child turns 18 is the LAST CHANCE that a parent will have to check their child's eligibility assessed for claiming British Nationality.

If you as a parent were to take up rights to settle in the UK on the Ancestry Visa (i.e. you as the parent have a UK-born grandparent and hold Commonwealth nationality), then your children would be able to accompany you for settlement provided that you establish yourselves in the UK before their 18th birthday. Your children will find it very difficult to settle in the UK in their own right later on as adults unless they have fairly unique skills which are in short supply in the UK. With the UK's current anti-immigration stance, you may find that this is the last opportunity your children have to relocate to the UK.

Under such circumstances, the child can Naturalise as a British Citizen. If they turn 18 before such Naturalisation has occurred, then the child can remain in the UK as long as they remain part of the family household and live under the same roof as the parent in question.


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.