A child who is born in the UK is not automatically a British citizen if their parent(s) did not hold indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship at the time of their birth. In these circumstances, when the child meets the nationality requirements they must submit an application for registration as a British citizen in order to become British.
The current Home Office fee to register a child as a British citizen is £1012. This applies to many different scenarios, including a child born in the UK who has lived his whole life in the UK and is over 10 years old at the date of application. This is a mandatory fee payable regardless of financial circumstances or whether a child is in local authority care.
The total fee of £1012 can be broken down into two parts: 1) the application administrative fee of £372 and 2) £640 which is Home Office profit used to fund the immigration system.
To many it may be clear that it cannot be in the best interests of a child to be required to pay a substantial fee of £1012 in order to register as a British citizen. That is the question that the Court of Appeal were considering in the recent case of R (PRCBC & O) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 193.
This matter was initially heard at the High Court where it was held that the Home Secretary had failed in its duty to assess and give effect to the child’s best interests when setting this fee. The Court of Appeal have now upheld the decision of the High Court which makes this a very positive outcome for every child facing such an application.
As a result of the latest decision, the Home Office are required to reconsider the fee, subject to any further appeal against this decision to the Supreme Court. Reconsideration of the fee could result in a lower fee and/or possibility to apply for a fee waiver in certain circumstances.
At present, the fee continues to be payable until it is formally amended by the Home Office.
Nationality law can be very complex. If you require any advice or assistance with a nationality or immigration matter please do contact one of the experienced solicitors in our Immigration Department.