15th March 2021InBlog, Immigration

The children who cannot afford to be British

The Court of Appeal has recently upheld a ruling that the Home Office application fee for children, being Registered as British Citizens, is unlawful. The case against the Secretary of State was brought by a 13-year-old child, known as O. She was born in the UK, however, could not afford the application fee to register as a British Citizen.

To register a child as a British Citizen, you are required to pay the Home Office mandatory fees, which includes an application fee set at £1,012 and a £19.20 biometric enrolment fee. These fees do not include the costs associated with biometric enrolment appointments, which can cost upwards of £200.

Making a profit from children

It costs the Home Office £372 to process a Registration application for a child. This means that for every application processed, the Home Office is making an astronomical profit of £640. We have seen in recent years that the Home Office has been increasing Citizenship registration fees year-on-year. For example, in 2010 the fee for Registering a child as a British Citizen was £386 and has gradually increased to £1,012. That is an increase of over 162%.

The judgement will mean that the Home Office will review the fee it charges and ensure that every child’s best interest is the primary consideration, especially when that child qualifies to be registered as a British Citizen.

As a solicitor who practices British nationality law, it is wonderful to see justice being served. It was not easy to see children and their families, many from low to medium income households, struggle to save every penny, to pay extortionate registration fees. Most children end up feeling like second-class citizens, from their friends and from the place they call home.

Following the judgement, O said:

“I was born in this country and have lived here all my life. I am no less British than any of my friends. It makes me upset to think they or other people might treat me as different if they knew I don’t have a British passport. I have a right to citizenship and have been since I was 10. I do not understand why I continue to be excluded by this huge fee.”

Contact Our Immigrations Solicitors

We understand that this can be a stressful period. Making mistakes in your application can be costly. British nationality law is a complicated area of law. For expert advice and assistance regarding your Citizenship matter, please get in touch with our immigration solicitors today on 0161 835 2446.