Last month, the High Court ruled that the Home Office’s fee of £1,012 for children to register as a British citizen unlawful.
The court found “mass of evidence” against Home Office child citizenship fee. Carol Bohmer further added “This is a landmark ruling. But the fight for justice for children born and growing up in the UK goes on”. The decision is highly welcomed by lawyers and campaigners who have long argued that the fee charged to register a child as British, which is set far above the administrative cost of processing applications, is “pricing children out of their rights” and is putting an end to its practice of “shameless profiteering” from children’s citizenship rights.
The landmark case that was brought forward by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC), saw the court find a “mass of evidence” showing that the fee prevents many children from registering British citizenship, leaving them feeling “alienated, excluded, ‘second-best’, insecure and not fully assimilated into the culture and social fabric of the UK.”
The case, which is supported by Amnesty International UK, has been brought by three claimants – two children, A and O, aged 3 and 12 and both born in the UK; and the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens.
The current administrative processing cost of a child’s registration claim is only £372. The Home Office uses the remaining £640 to cross-subsidise the immigration system.
The judgment ensures that the Home Office reconsider the fee and enables the children’s best interests to be taken fully into account . The court has made apparent that where a child has a right to British citizenship it will generally be in the child’s best interests to be registered as British – something the Home Office had denied in evidence to the court.
Responding to the judgment, O, who has lived in the UK her entire life and gave a witness statement to the court, said:
“I am glad I got to tell the court my story.
I was born in this country and have lived here all my life. I feel as British as any of my friends and it’s not right that I am excluded from citizenship by a huge fee.
I want to be able to do all the things my friends can. I don’t want to have to worry they will find out I don’t have a British passport and think that means I am not the same as them.”