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Child born in Gambia, say hello to Child born in UK

The citizenship or immigration status of a child born in the UK falls under the UK Nationality laws, and although we'll try to be simple and concise here, this is a complex area of law which sometime leaves even Judges and Lawyers incredibly frustrated. It is only last year we were told of the story of a 2 year old Lucy, who was born in the UK to two British citizen parents, being told she will be deported.

We think Sidia is both wrong and right. Yes, you heard it right and we'll explain below.

He's wrong because....

There are different routes for children born in UK to obtain British citizenship, see them below:

  • A child, whose parents are British or settled in the UK at the time of their birth, is born British.

  • A child, whose parents are not British or settled at the time of birth, is able to obtain British citizenship if they satisfy certain requirements.

  • A child, who has lived in the UK for a significant period of time, may be able to get British citizenship. Make note of the "may".

  • Any child in the UK may be able to get British citizenship at the discretion of the UK government.

As you can see, the registration of a child as British depend on a number of things including, when they are born, the circumstances of their parents and how long they have lived in the UK. Not all children born in the UK get citizenship.

He's right because......

Where ever you are in the world, I am sure you will agree, a child does not have a say in where they are born. I am now speaking to you directly. You did not have a say in where you were born. The most important thing is to do what is in the "best interest" of the child. This is an international principle of law confirmed by Article 3 of UN Convention of the Right of Child 1989. In the UK, Section 55 of the Borders,Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 requires the Home Office to carry out its existing functions in a way that takes into account the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the UK.

This should be the starting point for any child, born in Gambia or UK and to that point, it is right that if a child's best interest is served by having them register as Gambian, then that should be done. If there is no provision for that to happen in law, then one should be legislated.

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