The Immigration Rules contain specific provisions for children to enter or remain in the UK.

The rules for children can be complicated. There is no automatic right of entry for children whose parents are in the UK lawfully or for children whose parents obtained British citizenship by way of naturalisation or who were born abroad and obtained British citizenship by descent.

The biggest issue for applicants from overseas is meeting the onerous requirements of the Sole Responsibility Rule.  Many applications are refused under this heading.

Important Information

Before any child can come to the UK, unless they are coming to the UK to join both parents, accompanying both parents or are joining or accompanying a surviving parent, they must satisfy the sole responsibility rule.

This rule requires the applicant to demonstrate that the parent they are joining has had “sole responsibility” for their upbringing and care. This can be very difficult to demonstrate in many cases. Take the example where a parent has been studying in the UK for many years, and during that period of study, they have left their child with their parents. Unless the parent can show that the child was being looked after under their direct instructions, the applicant will be refused under this heading.

An applicant who can meet the sole responsibility rule, in addition to the accommodation and maintenance requirements, will be granted indefinite leave to enter, i.e. they will be able to enter the UK and then live in the UK for an indefinite period.

An applicant who is coming to the UK to join parents who have limited leave to remain will be granted leave in line with their parents, i.e. they will be granted the same length of permission to remain in the UK as their parents.

Applicants of PBS Migrants are able to bring their children with them to the UK, unless they are coming as students in certain limited situations. Children in this category are granted leave to remain/enter in line with their parents. Please note that children of Points-Based System Migrants will only be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain if at the point of the application, both of their parents also qualify for this status.

Children born in the UK do not have any right of UK nationality conferred on them at birth. If they are born in the UK and live here for 10 years, they will be able to apply to register as a British citizen based on this 10 year qualifying period.

Children in this category will be entitled to automatically register as a British citizen once their parent(s) secure(s) their status.

A child adopted in the UK will have British nationality conferred on them automatically as a result of the adoption.

A child adopted under the terms of the Hague Convention in a country which is party to that convention will also have British citizenship conferred upon them on the adoption.   Children adopted in countries who are not parties to the Convention have to meet a more complex set of Immigration Rules.

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