What to do if your child has claims to both UK and US citizenship

This article was published over 6 months ago & may contain inaccurate/out-of-date information,
please verify the latest status any quoted regulations.

Qualifying for US citizenship if the child is born abroad after 1986:
Any child born in or outside of wedlock who has at least one parent who is a US citizen, may be entitled to US citizenship. If the child is born in wedlock, to two US citizens, then as long as the child’s parents had been “physically present”* in the US for any length of time, the parents can pass on their citizenship. A child who is born to one US citizen, and one non-US citizen, the US citizen parent must have been physically present in the US for at least five years, two of which had to have been when the parent was over the age of fourteen. This residence must be prior to the birth.

A child born out of wedlock to a US citizen mother can also become a citizen of the US if the mother has been “physically present”* in the US for one year prior to birth. If a child is born to a father who is a US citizen and a mother who is not and the parents are not married, the child may still be eligible for citizenship. The child’s father must have lived continuously in the US for at least five years, two of which had to have been after turning fourteen. Also, paternity has to be established by the mother’s affidavit, and the father has to sign a statement committing to paying child support for the child until s/he reaches 18 and one of the following: he writes a statement of affidavit of paternity, or the child is legitimized (in the UK this would be the parents marrying each other), or paternity is established by a court approved by the US before the child is eighteen.
Different rules do apply for those born before 1986, and details can be found at the website listed below.
Details at: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_new/acs/passports/robirth.html

Qualifying for British citizenship in the UK or abroad:
A child born in the UK has citizenship if s/he is born after 21 May 2002 and has at least one parent who is a British citizenship, does not matter which parent if the parents are married. A man cannot automatically pass on his British citizenship if the child is illegitimate and the child is born before 1 July 2006. A discretionary application will need to be filed. If born in the overseas territories of Britain, and a parent is a British citizen, will be considered a British citizen from birth. A child may also receive it if a parent is settled in the UK and not subject to immigration controls or time limits. Any child born after 2002 to a British citizen not by descent will be British by descent. Before 2002, any child born of a British parent whose parents were not British by descent at the time of birth, and who either resided in the UK for three consecutive years before the birth, or the child born is stateless. Similar rules apply for those born outside the UK to British by descent if the child is born after 2002.

Details at: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/applying/nationality/advice/bn4
More details at: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/applying/nationality/advice/bn1

To apply for US citizenship for a child born in the UK:
A DS-2029*** document is the required form to report a US birth overseas. Any child who has a claim to US citizenship, must enter the US on an American passport. The embassy recommends that births overseas be reported as soon as possible for this rule and because a birth can not be reported after the child has reached eighteen years of age. Applications must be submitted at an in-person interview, where the parent can also apply for the child’s social security number if under five using the same form. The child must be present as well. The report of the overseas birth will be given to the parent on the day of the interview. The application for the child’s passport may also be submitted at the interview using the DS-11***. Processing times for the applications submitted take up to 15 days. You can book an appointment time here: https://evisaforms.state.gov/acs/default.asp?postcode=LND&appcode=1
Along with the form DS-2029, you must bring with you to the consulate:
- Long form birth certificate (short form will not be allowed)
- Original marriage certificate of the parents (UK or a US state issued certificate) translations must be provided if married in a country issuing documents in another language.
- Evidence of parents’ identity, this includes a US passport (or if serving in the military, other documents may be suitable, see below for full list)
- Divorce decree or death certificates to show termination of any previous marriages (for UK marriages both the Decree Absolute and the Decree Nisi)
- DS 2029 application and for children under 5 the second page may be submitted as application for a social security number for the child.
- The appointment confirmation sheet
- The US parent may be required to show proof of physical presence in the US before the child was born. Old passports, previous tax returns, or school transcripts may be acceptable.
- The fees are $65.00 (as of 9 June 2007) and can be paid by: cash (dollars or pounds), credit cards (the embassy accepts: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Diners Club as of 9 June 2007), an international money order (the order must be made in payment to United States Disbursing Officer), or a banker’s draft drawn from a US bank made out same as international money order.
For the passport, parents must bring:
- any foreign passport the child may currently possess
- passport application DS-11 (pages 1 and 2 of the instructions do not need to be followed if applying from the UK embassy, more details found in first link below).
- Two identical passport photos. (Note that the US and UK have different passport photo requirements, and so the UK vending machine passport photos are not acceptable. More specifics here: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/ds11first.html )
- The application fee for children under 16 as of 9 June 2007 is $82.00 or $97.00 if above the age of 16. Payment methods as mentioned in the registering a birth abroad document section apply.
If applying for a passport for a child under the age of 14, you must also have ready the documents mentioned in the registering the birth abroad, most precisely a birth certificate proving parentage, along with the parent’s US and/or foreign passports (other documents maybe acceptable see: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/2parentsig.html). If only one parent is at the appointment for gaining a passport for the child, a DS-3053 form must be filled out by the parent who is not present and be signed before and notarised by a US notary public, a British notary public, or a British solicitor. The absent parent must also submit proof of identity such as a current passport. The full list can be found at: [url]http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/2parentsig.html[/url] . Also, a single parent may apply if they are the only one on the birth certificate, or in a few other cases also mentioned in the previous link.
Details found at: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/robirth4.html
More details at: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/childindex.html
Forms are made available at: http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/forms/

Registering the birth of a child with a UK descent citizenship claim:
If born overseas outside of Britain and it’s territories you need to write to the Immigration and Naturalisation Department for an application form.

Home Office INDImmigration and Nationality Directorate Former name of the UK government overseeing visas and immigration
Immigration and Nationality Policy Directorate
3rd Floor
India Buildings
Water Street
L2 0QN
Telephone: 0845 010 5200

You will then submit your application form to:

Home Office INDImmigration and Nationality Directorate Former name of the UK government overseeing visas and immigration
Integrated Casework Directorate (Nationality)
Casework Support Unit
PO Box 12
3rd Floor
Reliance House
L69 2UX
Telephone: 0845 010 5200

*wording used on website provided: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_new/acs/passports/robirth.html

**Please note there are more rules that apply for those who are registering the birth of a child 14 years or older.

*** Do not print any form front to back as the US embassy in London will not accept them. Each page of the applications must be printed on a separate page.


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