Children born in the UK to parents who are ‘settled’ (i.e. have indefinite leave to remain) are automatically British from birth. EU citizens and their family members who had lived in the UK for at least five years were able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (‘settled status’) under the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021. But what is the situation for children born in the UK after 30 June 2021 where the parents had a pending application for settled status at the time of their birth? Equally, what if the parents applied after the deadline but were eventually granted settled status?
As of 1 July 2021, there have been changes to the British Nationality Act 1981 to deal with this situation.
British Nationality Act 1981 (Immigration Rules Appendix EU) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 has provided for children to automatically acquire British citizenship from the date that their parent is granted indefinite leave to remain (“settled status”) under the EU Settlement Scheme. For children born on or after 1 July 2021, the legislation will operate under the following circumstances
- Where a parent has submitted an application under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 deadline, but the application was yet to be resolved at the point the child was born
- For applicants who make a late application under the EU Settlement Scheme (i.e. after 30 June) if they can show that they had reasonable grounds for missing the deadline and the application was unresolved before the child was born. In this situation the applicant would need to show that:
- they met the eligibility requirements by 30 June deadline; and
- had the reasonable grounds for delay not intervened and they applied in time under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Under the above circumstances, the child in question will not have to register as a British citizen for a fee of £1031.20 (although the lawfulness of this fee is currently being challenged by PRCBC. They will automatically be born British citizens and they will be able to proceed with a British passport application straight away.
The changes are a welcome development in ensuring that children of individuals who applied late under the Scheme or those whose applications remain pending due to the decision-making backlog are not deprived of British citizenship.
If you would like more information or advice on how this may affect you or your children, we can help. Please contact us on 020 7401 6887 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.