The Children Who Can’t Afford To Be British

The Home Office charges £1,012 to children born in the UK who need to apply for British citizenship. The High Court recently found this to be unlawful but for these children, the story remains the same.

Daniel first noticed it when his friends started talking about the holidays they’d been on. It got worse when the school he was at began taking its pupils on trips abroad. Unlike his friends, Daniel, who is 13-years old, doesn’t have a passport, so even if his family could afford to go abroad, he wouldn’t be able to join them. Unlike his friends, Daniel isn’t a British citizen, even though he was born here and has never been anywhere else in his life. “Because he isn’t a citizen he feels like an outsider”, says his father Femi (names have been changed), who came to this country from Nigeria almost 15 years ago, “there are discussions he can’t be involved in”.

Daniel is not an immigrant. He was born in the UK and because he has spent more than ten years in Britain he has the right to go through the registration process and become a British citizen. He loves playing football and his father says he likes the school he goes to in Wigan, where they live. That he isn’t already a British citizen is surprising to many. The problem for Daniel, his family and many thousands of others living in low to middle income households is the £1012 fee the Home Office charges children to register as British citizens. The current administrative cost to the Home Office of processing a child’s registration fee is £372, leaving a £640 profit on each application. Despite being nothing to do with immigration, this money subsidises the immigration system.

Read more: Open Democracy,

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