Key words and phrases

Being of good character

‘Being of good character’ means someone has not broken any civil or criminal laws. This test can be applied to children as well as adults. For children things like Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are taken into account by the Home Office.


British by descent

‘British by descent’ means people who got British citizenship because of their parents.


British otherwise than by descent

‘British otherwise than by descent’ means people who got their British citizenship because they

  • were born in the UK and normally live here, or
  • have become British citizens during their life


Settled status or Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR

‘Settled status or Indefinite leave to Remain – ILR’ means someone is free from any immigration conditions because they

  • are British citizens, or
  • they have no time or other restrictions on their leave to remain in the UK


Legally separated and divorced parents

Only your immigration status and residency status matter if you are legally separated or divorced.

But the child’s other parent must agree in writing to your child registering as a British Citizen. You do not have to get consent if the other parent is dead or your relationship broke down because of domestic violence. But you do have to show why you cannot get consent from the other parent.


Unmarried parents – rules from 1 July 2006

Children born to unmarried parents

  • before 1 July 2006 can get British citizenship from their mothers
  • after 1 July 2006 can get British citizenship from their mother or their father


Same Sex parents – rules from 6 April 2009

From 6 April 2009 ‘father’ includes a female second parent.


Paternity and Consent

You need to show that it is the birth father or female second parent of your child, who is British.

You might need to buy a paternity test. You also need to get the birth father or female second parent’s to agree in writing to registering your child as British.

Get advice if the person named on your child’s birth certificate is not the birth father or female second parent of your child.


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