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Campaign group calls for action over increasing citizenship costs for children

Date of Publication: 
10 April 2017
Summary: 

Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens says recent increase adds to "extortionate" fee

Campaign group calls for action over increasing citizenship costs for children

10 April 2017
EIN

The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) has criticised the recent increase in the Home Office application fee to register as a British citizen, adding to the already "extortionate" cost.

As we reported on EIN last week, the Government announced a number of increases in its immigration and nationality fees from 6 April.

PRCBC notes that the application fee to register as a British citizen has increased to £973 for children, £1,163 for young adults and £1,282 for those young persons applying to naturalise.

PRCBC says: "There is no fee waiver or reduction on a registration application fee for those young persons who cannot afford to pay this very high fee – not even for the many such young persons who have a right to register by entitlement. There is also no fee exemption for those young persons being looked after by the local authority. Yet, it costs the Home Office £386 to process a child's British citizenship application, which means the Home Office is making a profit of £587 on each application."

PRCBC urges people to take action on the increasing costs, accusing the Government of profiteering from the right of young persons to register as British citizens.

The group has updated its briefing for Parliamentarians on the Home Office fees and requests that people ask their MP to call upon the Government to act on the briefing's three key recommendations:

• The profit element should be removed from children's registration fee in all cases, including where their right to register continues into adulthood. Children should not be prevented from registering as British simply because they cannot afford it.

• Children who cannot afford the fee should be granted a waiver of the entire fee.

• Where a child is 'looked after' by a local authority, there should be a fee exemption. This would prevent the shifting of costs from central to local government.

A more detailed briefing on fees for the registration of children as British Citizens (co-authored by Amnesty International UK) is available here and has also been revised to reflect last week's fee increase.

According to the briefing, there are an estimated 120,000 children are in the UK, many of whom were born here, with neither British citizenship nor immigration leave to enter or remain. PRCBC says many of these children are entitled to British citizenship, and others may apply to be registered as British by discretion.