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Baby born abroad to British parents: passports

(82 Posts)
angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 17:53:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nickymanchester Wed 10-Jul-13 18:48:25

We had a similar issue but we weren't living in the US - it was a different country we were living in.

1 It would be best to register the birth with the British consulate in the USA:-

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/usa-birth-registration-application

Although it isn't absolutely necessary to do this, having this registration can make things a lot easier in years to come back in the UK eg if your DC ever loses the passport.

You can then worry about getting a British passport nearer the time. You will need to go to the British embassy to get that. In our case, we had take all the supporting documents and application form etc to the local British embassy and then it took about 2 months to get it.

Here are some forms to have a look at:-

https://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/static/overseas-passport/OS_Guidance_Gp3.pdf

https://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/static/overseas-passport/OS_Guidance_Notes.pdf

You will also, of course, have to get a local US birth certificate as well.

You say about getting a USA passport. I don't know if your child qualifies for US citizenship or not - although I'm sure you know better since you're there.

One thing to consider about US citizenship though is that it can cause tax problems when they are adults, as even if they never work in the USA they are SUPPOSED to fill in tax returns every year even though they never ever work - or even live - in the USA.

2. There are plenty of dual nationals, this causes no problems apart from the tax reporting issues I mentioned above - and even then a lot of people never bother to do actually do it anyway if they have never worked in the USA.

It won't be a case of renouncing US citizenship in order to get British citizenship. Your DC will be British from the day it's born, it's just that he/she won't have a passport until you apply for one. That doesn't mean that they're not British from the moment they're born though.

If your DC qualifies for US citizenship then they will also be a US citizen from birth as well, even though they don't have a US passport until you apply for it either.

With regards nationality/citizenship - same thing

nickymanchester Wed 10-Jul-13 18:49:53
angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:10:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 19:20:23

Hi, I'm an immigration solicitor (can pm you my details if you want to check up on me). What nicky says is pretty much correct.

There is no need to register the birth with the British Embassy but plenty of people like to. It is likely to take a while for his British passport to come through when you do apply.

I think just being born in the US entitles you to US citizenship but don't quote me on that! Your DS is British no matter what though.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:42:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 19:47:42

I'd imagine so - avoids difficult questions at the border about whether or not he has the right to be entering the US.

Dual US and British citizenship is fine. I have family with US/UK dual nationality. There's no requirement to choose as an adult but yy to the tax issue.

LinzerTorte Wed 10-Jul-13 19:50:34

DD1 was born in the USA and we got her a US passport for our first trip back to Europe as it was much quicker and easier (we just needed her birth certificate and passport photos). I then applied for a British passport for her when she was about 9 months old, which was a slightly more bureaucratic process! (We had our first application rejected as the countersignatory hadn't known us for long enough.)

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:40

Ooh btw I'm assuming either you or your DH was born in the UK. If you were both born abroad then your DC will NOT automatically be born British but may become British later.

Ps. Nationality and citizenship are only different if you want to be pedantic. Yes, thee is technically a difference but not one the average person would care about.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:57:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 20:01:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LinzerTorte Wed 10-Jul-13 20:12:00

I think it took around a month, but it was 11 years ago now so I can't remember exactly!

We're back in Europe now so didn't both renewing her US passport when it expired. I think the only issue (apart from the tax one, which has already been mentioned) is that she'd need to reapply for an American passport - or renounce her US citizenship - if we ever went back to the USA as she'd need to use her US passport to enter the country, having been born there.

zzzzz Wed 10-Jul-13 20:28:10

Interesting that dc are not automatically british if you were an expat child yourself. I had no idea!!! So are there babies who are refused british citizenship despite both parents being British?

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 20:38:17

zzzzz yes, British Citizenship only passes automatically by descent through 1 generation. There are ways of getting it for the subsequent generation though - iirc it's something like living in the UK for 3 years as a minor at the same time as your British parent lives here. But it costs a few hundred pounds to get it.

It makes sense if you think about it though - if it kept on passing down through generations of people who haven't ever lived here then half the world would have British Citizenship.

It only doesn't pass if the parent has been born abroad but is only British by virtue of their parents (ie. the grandparent) being British.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 20:43:13

So if the OP's grandchildren are born in the UK, they will automatically be British. If they are born abroad they will not and will have to qualify probably by living here as children and pay £££££££££££££ for the privilege. Hope that makes sense!

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 20:44:09

Unless the law changes in the meantime which it probably will!

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 20:50:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Wed 10-Jul-13 22:42:13

So if you are not British because your parents were born overseas and you are born outside the UK what happens if the country you are born in doesnt give you nationality? Are you then from nowhere?

shock

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 04:39:33

Depends! Not that many people are born to 2 born-abroad British-only parents who dont qualify for any other form of nationality so may well qualify for the nationality of the other parent... (Ie. you will be British if you're born here and at least one of your parents has the right to live here permanently whether or not they are British)

In general, there are rules to prevent people from being born "stateless" ie. without a nationality but it does happen -particularly in the Middle East

Want2bSupermum Thu 11-Jul-13 05:05:18

We have an issue with our children not being British. I was born in Canada to a British father (born in India to British parents stationed abroad) and Canadian mother. My children are not entitled to British nationality and DD's application was rejected. This grates as I lived in the UK from the age of 8 through 25, attended boarding school while my father worked abroad, university and worked for a couple of years. I still own my flat in London too.

Luckily DH is Danish so they have Danish nationality and have the right to live and work in the UK should they wish to do so in the future. Given the colonial past of the UK the current rules do end up excluding some from the UK who I think should be considered British. My sister has married a Lebanese man and none of their children will be British nor will they have access to Europe. For this reason my sister plans to request a transfer to the UK once she has finished having babies in the US.

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 05:13:20

Ooh, can I jump on this one. DD has just been born in Australia - DH and I are both British but he was not born there.

I am a bit confused as we will probably return to live in Britain during her childhood and therefore is it better to get the British passport after she has been there for 3 years so that she then qualifies for the full British citizenship?

She can enter Britain on her Aussie passport. Also do I need to register her birth in Britain somehow? When I tried to do it with Australia as the country of birth, it just said register in accordance with local procedures (which obviously I have).

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 05:40:45

Mutley, I was actually dissuaded from registering DD2's birth at the consulate in Vienna as the woman there said that she's automatically a British citizen through me (British, born in the UK) and didn't need to be registered to get a British passport. I had to fork out over €100 for the DC's British passports, so was quite happy not to have to spend another €100 or so on registering their birth if it wasn't strictly necessary. (I did register DD1's birth in Washington, but she hasn't yet needed her British birth certificate.)

Not sure about your first question - there's nothing on the DC's passports to indicate that they're not "full" British citizens (apart from their place of birth being outside the UK, but AFAIK that only means that their children aren't automatically British citizens if they're born outside the UK). Hopefully someone else will know more!

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 06:09:43

Thanks LT - yes your right they are full British citizens but I would like my DD's kids to be British citizens wherever they are born - and I am sure that if she lives in Britain for 3 years as a child that can be the case but I don't know how it works in practice!

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 06:09:54

you're not your!

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