Baby born abroad - what do I need to do?

(9 Posts)
Vespar7 Wed 13-Aug-14 20:31:36

We are living in Switzerland and DS was born 3 weeks ago. I am wondering whether it is worth getting him a British birth certificate in addition to his Swiss one (DP is Swiss). I know that I can apply for a British passport without a British birth certificate but are there any other advantages to having a British birth certificate? Also do I need to apply for British citizenship or anything for him? Is there anything else I have forgotten? Thanks in advance!

Archfarchnad Wed 13-Aug-14 20:56:57

I can't answer for certain about Switzerland, but both mine were born in Germany and I didn't get British birth certs for them. The local birth cert plus my British citizenship was enough to get their first passport. DH has a different European citizenship, so they have that passport too. In fact, once we'd got that first GB passport simply to confirm the citizenship we didn't renew it, because British passports are more expensive than just about any other, and their other passports are EU so they've never been disadvantaged by only having one. You'd be in a different position with a Swiss DH because without a valid British passport they don't have EU rights - although the Swiss do have certain privileges. Perhaps someone in Switzerland can give you more specific info.

Archfarchnad Wed 13-Aug-14 21:02:54

To answer your second question, you don't HAVE to apply for British citizenship, as it exists already by virtue of his mother being British. BUT the passport confirms the fact, as it were. One big issue about British citizenship since 1982 - if your DS spends all his childhood abroad and doesn't live for at least 3 years in the UK before he's 18, he has a different status as a British citizen to someone who has lived there all their life or who was born there. In essence, it means his own children are not automatically entitled to British citizenship themselves. My own DC are now 16 and 12 and will not fulfil this requirement as we've never lived in the UK, so their other citizenship is going to become much more important. Also as a British citizen who has been born and brought up abroad, he will not be entitled to vote (but that will be the case whether you get the British birth cert or not - the residence criterion is the primary consideration here).

And congratulations on the birth! Hope you're enjoying your first weeks with the new baby.

BioSuisse Wed 13-Aug-14 21:43:14

My DC was born in CH. As i understand it, you cannot get a British birth cerificate if your child is not born in UK. DC has a British passport and Swiss birth certificate. There is the option to travel to the embassy in Bern and have the birth registered but they will only issue you with a Consular Birth Registration Cert which is not a British Birth Cert and basically an expensive waste of time unless CH breaks out in civil war and all documents are burnt (as far as i am aware)

BioSuisse has it about right, OP. The only benefit registering the birth at the consulate has is that you will be able to obtain copies of the consular birth certificate from the UK. It is not proof of citizenship and having done it will have no bearing on the success or otherwise of a UK passport application.

My DD was born in Egypt and we had no trouble using her Egyptian birth certificate to obtain her UK passport so I can't imagine a Swiss one would be a problem.

You can't apply to register your DS as a UK citizen as he is automatically considered to be a UK citizen at birth. The UK passport simply serves as proof of this, but he will still legally be considered British regardless of whether he has one or not, you just won't have proof.

LIZS Thu 14-Aug-14 10:18:26

Although it was almost 13 years ago we were able to register dd with the consulate (Berne iirc) and get a short British birth certificate which is been accepted as id. There is no formal need for it though.

Vespar7 Thu 14-Aug-14 20:52:51

Thank you for all your replies. So all I need to do is apply for a passport. That simplifies things!

AggressiveBunting Thu 14-Aug-14 22:35:43

I did register my DC with the British consulate and get a British style birth certificate. However , the only reason was that they were born in Hong Kong. Due to the 50 yr agreement it may be that during their lives, HK ceases to be a state and I did t want to risk done bureaucratic nightmare whereby somehow their birth certificates wouldn't be accepted. Even the consulate make it clear that it's not a necessary step.

My dd2 was born in singapore, got her singapore birth cert and uk passport but we also got her uk birth certificate. 5 years later, company relocated us to USA and we needed birth certs for visa applications. Much simpler for everyone to have the same birth certs. Also applied for green cards since then and same applies. Remember if your non uk birth cert isn't in English, you'll need notarized translations for any process in English requiring a birth certificate ...

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