Legal challenge to £1012 fee to register children as British citizens begins in the High Court

The High Court is hearing a landmark challenge to the government’s imposition of an application fee of over £1000 to children seeking to register as British citizens.

A three day hearing commences today (26 November) at the Royal Courts of Justice arguing that the fee is unlawful as it is grossly excessive with the Home Office making a profit of £640 per application.

The huge fee effectively deprives many children of their right to British citizenship because they and their parent or carer cannot afford it.

This includes children in care, stateless children and children who were born in this country and have lived all their lives here.

Amnesty International UK has been supporting the litigation to challenge the profit-making element of the fee, calling for an immediate end to the Government’s “shameless profiteering” off children’s rights.

If successful, the final ruling could have implications for an estimated 120,000 people in the UK.

I have represented numerous clients who have been unable to register their children as British simply because of the enormous fee.

This has resulted in many teenagers born and raised in the UK who have never left the country and who are entitled to citizenship being denied opportunities and left to always feel like outsiders.

The judicial review claim asks the Home Office to:

  1. Set the registration fee at no more than the administrative cost;
  2. Introduce a fee waiver for children who cannot afford the fee; and
  3. Provide a fee exemption for children in local authority care.

Best wishes to the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens which is bringing the challenge. They are represented on a pro bono basis by Mishcon de Reya.

For more details of the challenge, see this excellent briefing note by PRCBC.

Visadreams.com,  Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, a solicitor based in London specialising in UK immigration and nationality law.  If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at fahad@visadreams.com or submit your details here.

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