The application fee for a child applying for citizenship is £1,012 and has been for some time. This fee applies to all nationality applications by children.
The £1,012 fee has been the subject of litigation over the last few years by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC). The High Court in 2020 and the Court of Appeal in 2021 both found that the fee was unlawful as the Home Office had set it without having considered the best interests of children.
The Home Office has now reviewed the registration fee in light of its obligation to consider the best interests of children. Unfortunately, it has re-set the fee at £1,012. However, for the first time it has also introduced fee waivers for children’s citizenship applications from mid-June 2022.
To qualify for a fee-wavier, applicants and their families must show that they cannot afford the fee. The new Home Office guidance explains that this means that the applicant child and their parent(s) “do not have sufficient funds at their disposal, after meeting their essential living needs, to pay the fee”. Applicants and their families will need to submit fee waiver request forms together with supporting documentation. Under this new policy, fees will either be waived in full or required to be paid. There is no provision for fee reductions or partial waivers.
Some children, namely those who are looked-after by a local authority, will be exempt from paying a fee at all and will not be required to apply for a fee waiver. This exemption does not, however, apply to children in receipt of local authority support. They may still qualify for a fee waiver, but, as with other applicants, they will need to apply for one and the fee will only be waived if they show that they meet the affordability test.
The Home Office has released detailed guidance on the new fee waiver regime. This is available at Citizenship fee waiver for individuals under 18 caseworker guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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