Aussie baby of British mum going to the UK - help with visas please!

(36 Posts)
Thumbwitch Mon 18-Mar-13 13:07:27

I am a Brit in Australia, married to an Aussie, with one British-born son (Aussie citizen by descent) who has both a UK and an Aussie passport; and
I now also have an Aussie-born son, who is just about to get his first Aussie passport. He doesn't have a British one, there's no time; he's not a British citizen because I haven't sorted that out yet - does he need a visa, does anyone know?

And how can I get this sorted out before we travel on 4th April?? Arrrrghhhh!!

(Yes I know I should have dealt with all this in good time, but I didn't - the visa thing didn't even cross my mind until late last week blush)

Thumbwitch Mon 18-Mar-13 13:11:37

I've checked the Aussie travel site, seems to suggest he doesn't need a visa; but the UK Borders Protection site isn't so clear about it, hence the confusion. Just wondering if anyone had tried this themselves recently...

Otherwise I'll just have to phone the High Commission in Canberra in the morning to ask, of course. smile

natation Mon 18-Mar-13 15:43:53

What is your reason for travelling? If it is just for a holiday, you'll be fine, bring with you the full birth certificate showing you are mum.

If your son is a British citizen, he has it by descent, he IS a British citizen, whether you have applied for a British passport or not, you don't apply for his citizenship as he has it already if he has it, you apply for his passport. He will be British is YOU are British other than by descent, if you're born in the UK, that will be the case. You can apply therefore for a British passport whilst you're on holiday, so long as you have enough time to wait for it that you'll still be in the UK when it is ready to be posted.

UKBA officials will not have access to info about your birth which is essential in determining whether your son is British, therefore your son will be treated as an Australian national and be given a 6 month no work or public funds stamp. You can ignore this stamp, once you've established his claim to British citizenship.

Your son, if he is British, could never technically have a UK entry clearance put in his Australian passport, it is against rules (however has happened as I know someone who forced another member of staff to do it for tax evasion of a VIP living in the UK).

idlevice Mon 18-Mar-13 17:00:54

I had this panic when we returned to the UK last year, but it was one-way so DS2 had to have a British passport or he would have been booted out after 6mths - not quite sure how they would have deported him being 9mths old ... We had to visit the embassy for emergency passports, where I found out my birth certificate was somehow not my full birth certificate as it didn't show my parents' places of birth, hence they couldn't fully determine DS2's nationality using my birth certificate alone (fortunately we had DP's full birth certificate). I mention this for future reference when you do apply for your DS2's passport in the future & also if you are taking your birth certificate along with you on this journey to use as evidence if challenged - it might not be enough! (If it is not the full one you can apply for a full one online if you will need it.)

Have a great time over here, we've been back nearly a year & absolutely loving it all so far - it's a bit nippy at the mo but spring flowers out, increasing number of lambs in the fields, lighter evenings & birds going mental looking for mates.

IwishIwasRiverSong Mon 18-Mar-13 17:04:37

I believe that your son is only automatically British by descent if you were born in the UK. Doesn't help with your visa issue though.

twilight3 Mon 18-Mar-13 18:04:29

You need your british passport and his birth certificate. According to international citizenship law you don't need a valid passport to go into the country of which you hold citizenship. Any documentation to prove that you're a citizen should suffice. eg. you can travel back to the UK on a UK driving license. I am not certain though about the fact that the birth cert. is not photographic ID... Isn't there a number you can call at the UK Borders Protection?

twilight3 Mon 18-Mar-13 18:08:07

btw, your aussie-born son IS both an Aussie and British citizen, you don't need paperwork to prove that. It's his birthright.

scaevola Mon 18-Mar-13 18:21:51

Ring the High Commission.

Your DS is certainly entitled to British nationality, but he will need adequate documentation, like everyone else, to prove that when crossing borders international borders. Or even being allowed on the flight, come to that.

You might end up with an expensive fast-track passport issued by the High Commission, or an emergency travel document, or an easily recognisable bit of paper which will tell all concerned at the Aussie end that he will be admitted to UK on strength of his Australian BC (which you might need a High Commission stamp on to attest it is a genuine Aussie document). All a bit document soup, which is why you need the in date advice from officials.

natation Mon 18-Mar-13 19:13:55

idlevice, sorry it's not true that a British citizen would be "removed", as it is against the law and "deported" needs a deportation order signed by the Home Secretary herself. So your baby, if Australian, could have travelled as an Australian.

IwishIwasriversong is right, but Twilight3 is not at necessarily right at all and you will indeed need your full birth cerrificate to prove British citizenship etc as listed above.

When a British citizen gives birth abroad, it is NOT THE BIRTHRIGHT OF THE CHILD TO ALSO HAVE BRITISH CITIZENSHIP.

There is no fast track British passport available, not even an emergency passport, they are issued only to those who have previously held British passports, please ignore that advice. You do not need a bit of paper to say your baby will be admitted to the UK, you need a national passport or EU national ID card!

For those who wish to verify all this, look on the Passport office and UKBA websites.

twilight3 Mon 18-Mar-13 19:43:45

When a British citizen gives birth abroad, it is NOT THE BIRTHRIGHT OF THE CHILD TO ALSO HAVE BRITISH CITIZENSHIP

This is wrong, if the parent has citizenship by birth, then citizenship IS the baby's birthright. If the parent has citizenship by descent, then they cannot pass it on to their children. However I understand that the OP is born and bred brit who moved to Oz, therefore her children are entitled to her british citizenship. Why wouldn't they??? confused

natation Mon 18-Mar-13 20:11:01

you didn't say that though, you made no mention of the parent being British born and there is not such thing a British citizen by birth, it's "British citizen other than by descent" and "British citizen by descent". The OP has not stated where she was born.

I'd love to see a baby travelling to the UK on their driving licence. I'd love to see a baby getting on a plane to the UK without a passport or other acceptable form of identity and nationality. Carriers Liability laws?

How does a citizen prove their right to travel to the country of their nationality without a valid travel document, because they are a national of that country, without producing said document? In reality, you can travel to the UK without a British passport ONLY if you happen to be travelling from a port which has access to the UK Passport database, thereby enabling any official to look up their identity, but a baby who has not been issued with a British passport could not make use of this facility.

It's UKBA, not UK Borders protection.

twilight3 Mon 18-Mar-13 20:26:39

natation , there is really no need to get this aggressive, I stated the facts trying to help OP, if you have a different set of information that is relevant to her situation, please do help her out as she is obviously worried.

Would you really love to see a baby travel on their driving license? confused Or is that you making clever humor?

You can travel back into the UK on an old british passport, or on your birth certificate and driving license, or even by special emergency documentation issued by the embassy. OBVIOUSLY the first two are not relevant to OP, but this is not information I have pulled out of my backside, or info I found on a website, these are things I have learnt due to situations myself and my children have found ourselves in.

A bit of grace can go a long way when exchanging knowledge...

Thumbwitch Mon 18-Mar-13 23:39:11

OK - for a bit of clarity - I am British born and bred.
DS1 is also British born and half-bred but Aussie by descent (dad is Aussie)
DS2 is Aussie born but able to be British by descent whenever I sort it out, which I haven't so far.

We are going back to the UK for a 3w holiday to see family; I will of course have my passport with me or I won't be able to travel!
DS1 will have both passports with him as he always does, even though the Aussies have told me he should only travel on his Australian passport; I like to have the British one with us as well to be on the safe side.
DS2 will have an Australian passport but no British one as yet.

I will take DS2's full birth certificate with me. I do not have a copy of my own.

Thank you for your input and I probably will phone the High Commission just to check absolutely!

Whitewineformeplease Tue 19-Mar-13 00:50:36

Ok, OP, calm down, it's ok, i have been through the same situation recently and you will be fine. I have a DD, 10 months, I am Irish, living in oz, my DH is Aussie, DD has an Australian passport. We travelled to Ireland and the UK for a few weeks when she was 5 months old, you don't need a visa. You're there for a holiday, you have return tickets, there won't be a problem. You don't need a visa if you're only going for a holiday.

WhatSheSaid Tue 19-Mar-13 01:17:25

Ok, I travelled from NZ to Uk for a holiday with dd1 when she was 6 months old. I'm British (live in NZ) and she is NZ-born but British citizen by descent.

I travelled on my Uk passport and she on her NZ passport (she is entitled to Uk passport, I have just never got round to getting her one, partly because the Kiwi one cost about $80 and the Uk one about $350)

No one questioned her visa status, she got a 6 month visa stamped in her passport saying she musn't work while there (as I say, she was only 6 mo so I wasn't really planning to send her up chimneys just yet grin).

The only thing I had to ask about was at Heathrow there were queues for EU passport holders and queues for non-EU passports, obviously I was one and she was the other and I couldn't send her through the non-EU queue on her own. I asked an official and they said just to take her through the EU passport queue with me.

I assume the rules for NZ and Oz will be the same? As they are both Commonwealth? But of course I could be wrong, I just assume Nzers and Aussies entering the Uk will have the same visa/passport rules.

SavoyCabbage Tue 19-Mar-13 01:38:42

When I took my girls back for a holiday one of them had a British passport and the other one had an Australian passport (as her British one had expired). It was all fine and nobody said a word.

You could always apply for the British one while you are there. It's much cheaper.

Thumbwitch Tue 19-Mar-13 02:11:05

Yes I did think about that, Savoy - but not sure I'd get it back in time as we're only there for 3 weeks and I don't really want to spend an entire day in Petit France to get an emergency one - but I will still look into it. DS1's UK passport expires in September so I'd like to get him a new one while we're there anyway.

Still haven't phoned them - too busy this morning! BUt will do so and report back smile
Glad it's looking like we don't need one though.

Rhienne Tue 19-Mar-13 07:47:58

DS2 should be fine, he travels on his Australian passport and is a tourist, no visa needed.

DS1 on the other hand you should check about. If it was the other way around (two passports, visiting Australia) he would HAVE to travel on his Australian passport to enter Australia. It may be the same for the UK, at a UK citizen must enter the UK on a UK passport.

natation Tue 19-Mar-13 08:30:15

You cannot travel to the UK on a driving licence of any kind because it does not prove your nationality, only proves you are allowed to drive. To enter the UK, you need to satisfy UKBA of your identity and nationality.

You cannot travel to the UK on a UK birth certificate because it has no photo and because it does not prove nationality either.

You can travel to the UK on an expired British passport, but doing this in practice can be tricky, especially if flying, it would require an airline to phone UKBA in advance and it would depend on their response whether CLA would be levied if the person turned out not to be the holder of the document. The expired passport is more than likely to be removed at the port of entry and forwarded to the Passport Office, the absolute discretion to waive this rule is down to the chief or inspector on duty. The easiest place you could travel on an expired passport is through juxtaposed ports such as Calais or Paris, where the identity and nationality can be checked at that point, where there is no CLA applied on the carrier. In the past, before 9/11, the use of expired passports and using various forms of docs such as UK driving licences/birth certificates was far more lax, there was even a period of waiving through passengers who waived an EU passport, no opening up - won't even go into the UK security consequences as a result, the person responsible for this needs to hand his head in shame for allowing it. The rules for UKBA are now clear, only expired British passports, British emergency passports, British regular passports are to be accepted, any exceptions would possibly go up to HQ and anyone breaking these rules risks serious disciplinary action. Having said all that, there is an area called COMMON TRAVEL AREA which has been in existence since Ireland's independence. If travelling from Ireland to the UK or from Jersey etc, you don't need a British passport, you can travel on docs of lesser status if Irish or British.

The only Australians who need entry clearances for the UK are ones coming here to live, as 6+ months students, on work permits, UK ancestry etc.

First issue British passport in 3 weeks on holiday? Maybe a bit of a high risk, for first born already issued with a British passport, I'd take the risk of getting back a renewal, might even get it back in just a week. Good luck.

DS1 is British other than by descent and can pass on British citizenship to all descendants, DS2 is British by descent and under current UK nationality laws, if he comes to live in the UK for a continuous 3 year period during his life BEFORE he has any children, then his children can also register as British citizens by descent if they do it before they reach 18 years old, under section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 - send him on a 3 year working holiday to the UK!!!

You will indeed need a copy of your own full UK birth certificate now to apply for DS2s British passport, you might not have needed it for DS1 but now the rules have been tightened. You can apply for it online, just make sure you do it on the right link, there are companies who charge a premium price for this and all they do is then go to the official website and do the application you could do yourself.

natation Tue 19-Mar-13 08:33:39

PS if you have dual nationality, there is no obligation for a British citizen to enter the UK only on their British passport, though it might be advisable. If you use the passport of your other nationality, then you enter as that nationality, eg if entering as Australian, then you'd be on holiday wouldn't you! You can just ignore the "6 months leave to enter no recourse to public funds" endorsement if you are in fact British too and wish to work and can prove your British nationality.

Thumbwitch Tue 19-Mar-13 11:42:14

Rhienne - I don't need to check about DS1, he's been back to the UK several times. I take both passports every time.

Natation - thanks for all the info. smile
I may be able to find my birth cert. at my Dad's house, which is where we'll be staying, so I'll look when I get there and go from there.

Actually have just realised that I wouldn't be able to get DS2 a British passport while in the UK anyway as DH won't be with us, and he needs to sign it as well. So will just have to wear the extra cost of getting it done over here whenever.
Might be able to get his British citizenship sorted while we're there though?

natation Tue 19-Mar-13 16:53:10

Your husband's British citizenship by descent is going to be based on the birth place of the parent, marital status of the parent, year of birth, whether the parent naturalised as British etc, lots of parameters. Without knowing more, I'd guess he needs the full UK ? birth certificate of the parent. It won't matter if he applied now for his British passport or in the UK, I know 3 who have just gone through the process from abroad and took between 3 weeks and 2 months, so not something you could do whilst in the UK unless there a while, applying from Oz will take longer due to Post of course. Same will be true for DS2. You need to look up on the UKBA website that your husband does indeed have British citizenship (I bet you've done it already) and then find the appropriate application form for the passport application as there are many.

twilight3 Tue 19-Mar-13 18:08:10

Might be able to get his British citizenship sorted while we're there though?

that depends on distance: you can either do it at the embassy while in Oz or at the consular office in London. Eitherway, it's a very easy and quick procedure, albeit pricey.

Remember though: while a UK birth certificate might be nice for him to have, you DON'T have to register him with the General Register Office to issue a british passport for him.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/births-deaths-marriages-civil/registering-a-birth

Have a nice trip

twilight3 Tue 19-Mar-13 18:11:49

Off topic warning: I personally traveled back to the UK 2 years ago on my birth cert. and driving license COMBINED (as I tried twice to make clear). So, yes, you can if need be (life IS after all unpredictable).

Rhienne Tue 19-Mar-13 18:58:37

Just for info: "As an Australian citizen you must always leave and enter Australia on an Australian passport".

www.citizenship.gov.au/current/travel/

Doesn't seem to be the same rule for the UK, or if there is they hide it well from Google.

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