Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Baby born abroad to British parents: passports

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 06:25:04

Mutley if you were born in Britain your DC are automatically British too - just one parent fine.
My DCs born in Australia to Australian DH and British me but my parents were expats and I was not born in Britain so am British by descent.

My kids have 2 options: can get British passports now before they are 15 or 18 can't remember which, if I provide proof of living and paying taxes in England for 3 consecutive years BUT they will not be able to pass on any further down the line if their DC not born in UK

Or

They can get British by descent like me (able to pass on if meet conditions) if they live in UK for 3 consecutive years before turning either 15 or 18.

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 06:29:14

So yes you need to wait if you want them to have the most options as can't switch from one to the other even if you do end up doing the 3 years in that time frame.

But might be slightly different if you are not 'by descent'to start with.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 08:38:51

Mutley if you were born in the UK or your DH became British in any way other than being born abroad to British parents, your DD is automatically British.

Her passport will simply refer to her as a British Citizen, just like you or I. The only difference comes with regard to passing on her nationality to her children which would depend on where she was living at the time.

I don't think (though I could be wrong) its possible for her to "upgrade" her citizenship as it actually makes no difference to her. It only would affect her DCs and they will be able to become British if they live here for a certain amount of time as children.

Whoever said about 15 or 18. It's 18. The Border Agency considers everyone below 18 a child and there are no distinctions below that age.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 08:40:50

I think I'm confusing myself now without all the info in front of me - I think notsochic is right. Anyway, it's all set out in the UKBA website although its not terribly easy to read!

I was born abroad as was my brother and neither of us could pass our nationality on (Dutch), we both married British citizens so the children are British. All the children were born abroad as well.

My DH did register DD's birth in the UK (about GBP 170) as it means she has a British birth certificate as well. I know this means she cannot pass on her nationality but it does make things easier at the airport. Friends who haven't registered the births of their children in the UK get stopped every time at UK airports to check the passports are real. Now whether this is because of the registration we don't know but they are heading to the embassy to register the births.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 09:19:20

That's odd Ladybirds it should make absolutely no difference at all.

nickymanchester Thu 11-Jul-13 10:34:29

Mutley77 - ''Also do I need to register her birth in Britain somehow?''

LinzerTorte - ''didn't need to be registered to get a British passport''

As has been said above there's absolutely no need to do a consular birth registration. However, there are some benefits from doing it.

A UK consular birth certificate is universally accepted as proof of your British citizenship/identity independently of whether you have a passport or not. It never runs out, unlike your passport so it never needs to be renewed. It's also easier to have accepted for official purposes as a birth certificate in the UK.

When you register your child's birth at the consulate it will be registered in the UK Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages which means you or your child will always be able to obtain a copy if you lose your birth certificate. It may be much harder to get a copy of the original foreign birth certificate many years later.

Having a UK birth certificate makes life a lot simpler if you're applying for a replacement passport when yours is lost or stolen (the first thing the passport office will ask is a copy your UK birth certificate). If your child doesn't have one then they'll have to go through more hoops and hassle to prove they're of British citizenship by descent - foreign birth certificate, maybe certified translation, parents birth certificates etc (which may not be always readily available in later years).

zzzzz
I was a child born of british parents working in the US for two years (long time ago now).

When I had the dc's it was after the rule change regarding being born in this country. Since I think 1980 something, being born in this country does not give you automatic citizenship. So when we applied for passports for the children, we are not married and so the kids were getting their citizenship/nationality from me. What a bloody paid all the extra bits to fill in on the birth certificate (parents names, dates of birth, places of birth, date of marriage (I think) etc etc). And also details of my own passport. Can you believe that when I was 18 m old I came into Britain on nothing more than my name being added in handwriting, into my mothers passport!

Anyway my kids got their own passports but it was a faff, they took longer to arrive, and the woman on the 'check and send' at the post office had NO IDEA what to do with mine and told me to just send it anyway cos it would be returned to me if it was wrong confused.

Repeated the process the following year for ds2...

When I applied for my own passport many years ago I had to jump through extra hoops too, evne though I had a birth certificate from the consulate in Washington.

20 years ago I went on hols to the US to see relatives, my auntie marched me off to the passport office with my birth certificate and I got a US passport, which I have never used and which expired.

I never give a thought to dual nationality etc as I am perfectly happy being british and living in the UK since a was a few months old.

However your post just made me sit up and take notice - if ever I were to go back to the US would I need to travel on a US passport or do something official to renounce US citizenship? We were thinking of florida next year and I don't want to be one of those people hurled off at immigration and put on the next plane home!

I only found out about the tax return thing last year and it made me a bit angry that I could potentially be in for lots of bother some day all because my auntie was determined that I must have dual nationality and marched me off to get a passport and social security number. I really wouldn't have bothered myself unless I had wanted to go and live/work there at any stage

to clarify - the passport forms for my kids wanted details of MY parents dates and places of birth etc. So the authorities were checking out MY entitlement to british citizenship before granting it to my children.

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 11:14:14

nicky Yes, I can see there are definite advantages to having a UK birth certificate - particularly if you (or the DC) are planning to go back to live in the UK. I was a bit hmm that the woman at the consulate talked me out of it tbh, although like I said we haven't needed it so far. The DC now all have Austrian passports (DH is Austrian and we don't have any plans to move back to the UK) and I can't imagine they'd ever need a UK birth certificate/passport if we stay here - but of course you never know what the future will bring and this thread has made me wonder whether I should register the younger two after all.

Ladybirds That's strange; I fly back to the UK several times a year and no one has ever questioned why the DC have different passports from me. I didn't register the birth of the younger two in the UK but never had any problems when they had British passports either (although the fact that I have a British passport probably helped).

Flibberty From what I've heard, you'd either need to travel on a US passport or carry a document stating that you'd renounced your US citizenship. I remember reading about a family who weren't allowed to board a flight to the United States from the UK because their DD had been born in the USA but didn't have a US passport and the UK airline said there was no guarantee that she'd be allowed to enter the USA.
It says here that "Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States."

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 11-Jul-13 11:25:14

Trazzle no they won't.
DD1 was born in the UK from a british father not born in the UK and her passport was refused. I am not british if I was she would have been british if I was born in the UK only.
So it depends on who your DS will have babies with too not only where...

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 12:27:51

Thanks for your help. I have been onto the FCO website and it says as follows:
"You can’t register the birth with the UK authorities. However, the birth certificate you are given in Australia will be recognised and accepted in the UK, so this isn’t necessary."
So, I just now need to work out the whole three years living in the country and whether I get her passport before or after.

Notsochic Do you mean I should wait til DD has lived in the UK for 3 years before getting her passport? Do you think that is going to cause me an issue if I am taking her in and out of the country on an Aussie passport on holiday?

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 12:43:38

Mutley if you were born in the UK or your DH became British in any way other than being born abroad to British parents, your DD is automatically British.

There is then no need to live in the UK at all. She is British regardless and therefore entitled to a passport.

Apologies mousquetaire I'm sleep deprived and would usually check such things but don't have a computer right now.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 11-Jul-13 13:03:44

It's OK trazzle, every time I have asked any officials they have ignored us (too complicated I guess). We couldn't afford the 200 £ prime minister discretion nationality lottery when DD1 was little.
Thankfully my nationality issued passport with no problem just on the ground I was me, even if DDs have little connection with it and were both born abroad. DD2 is more complicated as not born in the UK and never lived there.

Takver Thu 11-Jul-13 13:35:50

Just a couple of things to add. DD was born overseas (not UK), and only has a UK passport, no UK birth cert - so far (now 11) it has never been a problem for us, we've just supplied a copy of her Spanish certificate plus UK passport when asked for birth cert.

Secondly, even given the possible tax implications, I would be very keen myself to get my dc a US passport if you can. You never know what your dc will want to do with their lives in the future, and it just gives them a whole extra set of options. DH has dual nationality as one of his parents is from the States, and while he hasn't wanted to live there, he got a job with the UK branch of a US firm in his 20s & was pretty sure the fact he has nationality was the fact that swung it in his favour.

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 13:37:26

Trazzletoes - I know she is British but what I would like to achieve if possible is that her DC are also British (even if they are born in another country). I think she has to have lived in Britain for 3 years as a child to have the right kind of citizenship to enable this - and don't know what it is or where I read it - I need to try and find it again!

She probably won't care and it won't be an issue but it is for me now so if we can do something to achieve it I want to!

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 11-Jul-13 13:47:21

Mutley No, DH lived for more than 20 years in the UK and wasn't able to pass it to DD1. His sister married UK citizens born in the UK so all her children are British.

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 15:19:42

Mutley According to this, a child born outside the UK who has lived in the UK for three years can be registered as a British citizen and can automatically pass citizenship onto their children, although it seems to apply only to children whose parents are British citizens by descent.

It also says here that "If there is a possibility the child may return to live in the United Kingdom before they reach the age of 15, you should consider whether it would be in their best interests to apply" to have them registered as a British citizen as above.

Finally, according to this (sections 13 and 14), if you can choose between having your child registered as a British citizen by descent and having them registered as a British citizen registered other than by descent (because they've been living in the UK for three years), you may want to wait to register them until you've been in the UK for three years as once they've been registered as a British citizen by descent (and can't automatically pass on citizenship), this cannot be changed.

Sorry, a bit long-winded; I'm also not too sure about whether it affects the child's passport or just registration of the birth, so don't know how much help all that actually is!

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 15:22:31

Mutley perhaps this is the information you are talking about. It does seem to say that if the parent has lived in the UK for 3 years then their child can be British by descent.

I think I understand now... Mousequetaire her passport application WOULD be refused - she isn't British. But she can apply to be REGISTERED as British (costs several hundred pounds) and then will be eligible for a British passport. But she isn't automatically British.

Mutley it doesn't matter when you apply for your child's passport. When your child applies for your Grandchild to be registered as British they will have to send off evidence that your child had lived in the UK for the requisite time. THAT is when it's important, not now, IYSWIM.

And that's if the law doesn't change in the meantime. Which it may well do.

Hope that helps!

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 15:32:11

Linzer that's not quite how it works - Mutley's child will always be a British Citizen by Descent no matter when she applies for her passport. The only difference between that child and I is that my Citizenship would pass for one generation if I had a child abroad.

As the law currently stands, Mutley could have a grandchild born abroad and registered as British if her child lives in the UK at some point for 3 years. The proof needs to be sent with the Grandchild's registration application. Mutley's child's passport will be the same as yours or mine, the only time that the "by descent" becomes an issue is when the Grandchildren are born. Basically, there's no need to wait 3 years to apply for a passport.

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 16:12:11

I'm not sure Mutley as I have been reading the info from my perspective as British citizen by descent - not sure how it applies if a parent British other than by descent.

In my case, yes, getting a British passport now would mean that if we then did move back to the UK I couldn't then 'upgrade' them IYSWIM. But remember this only applies to their children - even if yours ended up by descent and their kids not born in UK, they could pass on like I am doing if they had met residence requirements at some point. And if they hadn't, would it really matter to them if their kids were British,

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 16:14:47

Trazzletoes Yes, I wasn't quite sure whether parents who are British by birth can register their children as British otherwise than by descent - there was only mention of children whose parents are British citizens by descent.

It just seems a little strange that people who are "only" British citizens by descent can register their children so that they can automatically pass on citizenship (provided they've been living in the UK for three years) but that people who are British by birth can't. Unless I've misunderstood... Having said that, I don't have an issue with my future grandchildren not being British citizens - it's not even as if my own children have ever lived in the UK, so it's fair enough (although I am a little sad that the British line of my family will die out!).

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 16:23:05

Actually think I got my originsl posts wrong - think if my kids got their passports after living in England for 3 years they would automatically pass on citizenship - so more than I can do myself.

It's all on the UK border agency site anyway gives up as brain melts

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 18:18:02

Linzer British citizens otherwise than by descent will automatically pass British citizenship on to their children wherever they are born. The children can get a passport with no need to register first.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 18:20:26

The by descent thing is only to limit the number of people becoming British automatically at birth despite many generations of their family never having lived here. Hence why spending a certain amount of time here then allows your DCs to be registered as British otherwise than by descent so they can pass it on.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now