How to apply for British Citizenship for a child
The MN1 Form is used to register a non-British child (under 18) for British citizenship.
Successful applications must show the child satisfies specific requirements as set out under British nationality law.
Where the child does not satisfy the legal requirements, it is possible to apply for a discretionary decision by the Home Secretary by demonstrating why the child should be granted British citizenship.
Given the significance of attaining British citizenship, it is important to ensure the application is submitted in line with UKVI guidelines, that the child satisfies the requirements for registration and that the MN1 Form is completed correctly.
Errors or problems with the application or completed MN1 Form may result in a rejected application, and loss of the full application fee.
What is the MN1 Form?
The MN1 Form is used to register a non-British child for British citizenship who is under 18 at the time of application.
MN1 Form applications must fall within one of the following sections of the British Nationality Act 1981:
• Section 1 (3) birth in the UK to parents who are now settled in the UK or have become British citizens.
• Section 1 (3A) birth in the UK to parents who have joined the armed forces.
• Section 3 (1) child whose parents are applying for British citizenship.
• Section 3 (2) birth abroad to parents who are British by descent and have lived in the UK or a British overseas territory.
• Section 3 (5) birth abroad to parents who are British by descent but are now living in the UK or a British overseas territory.
• Section 3 (1) children adopted abroad by British citizen parents.
• Section 3 (1) children whose parents had renounced and subsequently resumed British citizenship.
• Section 3 (1) any other case where it is considered to be in the child’s best interests to be granted British citizenship.
• Section 4D birth abroad to parents serving in the armed forces.
Choosing the right Section for the MN1 Form
You must select the correct Section as part of the application. Considerations include:
Section 1 (3) – Children born in the UK to non-British parents:
A child born in the UK to non-British parents is not able to apply for British Citizenship immediately. They must wait until one or both parents obtains Indefinite Leave to Remain. It is only at this point that one of the parents can submit an MN1 Form application for the child born in the UK to register as a British citizen.
Section 3 (5) – Children Born Abroad to non-British Parents:
Until one or both of the parents apply for citizenship, a child born outside the UK to non-British parents is not able to apply for citizenship. The prospects of MN1 approval are increased if both parents obtain British Citizenship or one parent has British citizenship and the other has permanent residence.
Section 3 (2) – Children born outside the UK to British Parents:
A child born outside the UK to British parents who were also born outside the UK (‘British by descent’), does not automatically attain British citizenship, unless the the parents have lived in the UK and the child was born in an overseas British territory.
How long does it take to get British citizenship?
On average, we advise our clients to anticipate that their British citizenship application will be processed in approximately 2-3 months. The complexity of your application will determine how long it will take for your application to be processed as well as the volume of other applications UKVI have to process.
What does it cost to submit the MN1 Form?
UKVI currently charge a fee of £936 per child applicant.
What happens when a parent(s) is also applying for British citizenship at the same time?
A parent applying for British citizenship under Form AN at the same time as their child should consider the possibility that the child may be found to be eligible for registration, but that their own application may be refused.
Section 7 of the MN1 Form invites the parent to confirm that, in this event, the child should still be registered as a British citizen.
If the relevant box is not ticked, the child’s application will be treated as having been withdrawn at the point when the parent’s application is refused.
The application fee will not be refunded.
What if the application is refused?
You may resubmit an application however it is important to understand why the application failed in the first instance and how this can be addressed or recitifed, for example an error in completing the form, the incorrect fee paid or failure on discretionary grounds.
What happens to the child’s current citizenship?
Before submitting the MN1 Form, clarify the position in respect of the child’s existing nationality by contacting the authorities of the country of which the child is a citizen through the Embassy or High Commission.
In some countries, a person will automatically lose their nationality if they become a citizen of another country. Others will continue to recognise the child as a citizen on dual basis.
What happens once the child turns 18?
Once 18 years old, they must apply for British Citizenship either by registration or naturalisation using form AN.
Other points to note about the MN1 Form MN1
• Child applicants aged 10 or over must satisfy the Good Character requirement.
• The date of application is the date it is received by the Home Office or the receiving authority.
• You will need to submit the child’s long birth certificate as part of the MN1 Form application.