British citizenship

The child or young person might already be a British citizen, even if they do not have a passport and even if they or their families do not know it.

Children born in the UK

A child born in the UK does not automatically become a British citizen through being born here. A child born in the UK automatically becomes a British citizen if at the time of their birth either or both of their parents are: 

Children born outside the UK

A child born outside the UK is automatically British by descent if either or both parents are British citizens at the time of the child's birth. The parent(s) could have been born in the UK or could have been registered or naturalised as a British citizen before the child was born.

Applying for a passport

If the child is British, their parent (or someone with parental responsibility) can apply for a British passport for them.

You will need the child’s full birth certificate and evidence of the parent’s British citizenship or settled status at the time of the birth. It currently costs £49 to apply for a child's passport online and £58.50 if you apply through a paper form from the Post Office.

Find out more on the Home Office website.

Unmarried parents

A child’s British citizenship can be affected by whether their parents were married at the time of birth. If the child was born before 1 July 2006 to unmarried parents and it was the father who was British or settled, they are not automatically a British citizen. The child can however apply for British citizenship.

For children of unmarried parents, evidence may be needed to prove who the child's father is.