Registering a child of an EEA-national as a British citizen

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Gannons helped clarify the immigration position of an EEA-national and her daughter. We also helped acquire the supporting documentation to prove their citizenship.

Our client approached us as she was concerned about the future of her family in the UK following Brexit. She was an EEA-national, and had a 6-year old child, born in the UK. She wanted to ensure that her daughter would have dual citizenship of both her home country and Britain.

Client’s objective

The mother was eligible to apply for a document certifying permanent residence. She could then naturalise as a British citizen, because she had lived and worked in the UK for 20 years. However, she did not want to apply to naturalise as a British citizen. This was because her birth country did not allow the acquisition of a further nationality, unless acquired at birth. The child would have been eligible to register as a British citizen if the mother had naturalised though. We therefore had to find a way to obtain proof of British citizenship for the daughter, without naturalising the mother.

Registering a child born to an EEA national parent in the UK on or after 30 April 2006

Where a child is born in the UK on or after the 20th of April 2006 to an EEA national parent, the child will only have a claim to British citizenship if the parent(s) provide evidence to show that they were deemed to have acquired permanent residence in the UK. Parents acquire permanent residence by having exercised treaty rights. They have to exercise them for a minimum period of five years prior to the birth of their child.

Establishing permanent residence

It is important to note that permanent residence is acquired automatically after five years of exercising treaty rights. In this case our client qualified for having exericed treaty rights for five years as a worker. There is no need to formally apply for it as it is not given by the British authorities but by automatic operation of EU law. For practical reasons a person may choose to apply for a document certifying permanent residence as proof of their status. This can prove they qualify for certain benefits and services, as well as to prove that one is eligible for British citizenship.

Application procedure

In this case, it was not necessary to apply to the Home Office for a document certifying permanent residence for the mother. We also avoided having to make applications to the Home Office on behalf of the child. Instead, we applied directly to HM Passport Office with proof that the mother had been exercising treaty rights as a worker for a continuous period of at least five years prior to the birth of her daughter. This saved our client a considerable amount of time and money. Her daughter received her first British passport a few weeks later.

Since the mother had already collected the documents to prove her continuous economic activity for her daughter’s application, she decided to apply for a document certifying her own permanent residence, as this required largely the same documents. Although she did not need this document to remain in the UK, she felt more secure having it in light of the uncertainty of EEA nationals’ status post Brexit.

Conclusion

By listening to our clients’ concerns, we are able to find the most suitable solutions.

  • Gannons were quick to grasp the complex nature of our situation. They worked out a strategy for achieving the result we were after.