Which application should I make?

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Below is a guide to possible immigration applications an undocumented child, family or young person might make to gain status in the UK.


Click on the picture to make it bigger, and scroll down for explanations of the options available. You can also download and print this guide by clicking here.

  • This information only applies to those with no legal status in the UK. It is meant as a guideline only and cannot replace expert legal advice. We would always recommend that you seek independent legal advice from a professional.
  • The immigration applications below do not include asylum, protection claims, trafficking issues, routes as a victim of domestic violence, or EU rights
  • There are additional ‘suitability requirements’ which you may have to meet.[1]

Immigration applications map CCLC

Option 1:
You may be able to apply to register as a British citizen under s.1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981.
See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/register-british-citizen/born-in-uk-after-1983

Option 2:
You may be able apply to register as a British citizen under s.1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981.
See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/register-british-citizen/born-in-ukafter-1983

Option 3:
Depending on your personal circumstances, you could consider applying to register as a British citizen under s.3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981. See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nationality-instructions-volume-1. The Home Office say that registration in this category will be at their discretion. It is therefore very important that you seek advice before you make an application of this nature.

Option 4:
You child may be able to apply under paragraph 276ADE(iv) of the Immigration Rules: ‘(iv) is under the age of 18 years and has lived continuously in the UK for at least 7 years (discounting any period of imprisonment) and it would not be reasonable to expect the applicant to leave the UK;’

See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-part-7-other-categories

Option 5:
You may be able to apply under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules:

  • the applicant has a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a child who –
    • is under the age of 18 years, or was under the age of 18 years when the applicant was first granted leave on the basis of Appendix FM;
    • is in the UK;
    • is a British Citizen or has lived in the UK continuously for at least the 7 years immediately preceding the date of
      application; and
    • it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave
      the UK. *

*Please note this is only an extract of the requirements for leave under this rule. See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-fm-family-members

Option 6:
You may consider applying for a derivative residence card on the basis of being the parent of a British child. See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/derivative-right-residence/overview

Option 7:
You child may be able to apply under paragraph 276ADE(v) of the Immigration Rules:
(v) is aged 18 years or above and under 25 years and has spent at least half of his life living continuously in the UK (discounting any period of imprisonment);’ *

*Please note this is only an extract of the requirements for leave under this rule. See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-part-7-other-categories

Option 8:
You may be able to apply under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules:
the applicant has a genuine and subsisting relationship with a partner who is in the UK and is a British Citizen, settled in the UK or in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection, and there are insurmountable obstacles to family life with that partner continuing outside the UK.’*

*Please note this is only an extract of the requirements for leave under this rule. See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-fm-family-members

Option 9:
You may be able to apply under paragraph 276ADE(iii) of the Immigration Rules:
(iii) has lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment);’
See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rulespart-7-other-categories

Option 10:
You child may be able to apply under paragraph 276ADE(vi) of the Immigration Rules:
(vi) is aged 18 years or above, has lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment) but there would be very significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country to which he would have to go if required to leave the UK.

* Please note this is only an extract of the requirements for leave under this rule.
See the Home Office section of the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-part-7-other-categories

Option 11:
If you cannot make a nationality application and you do not fall within any of the Immigration Rules, your options may be limited. You could consider making an application based on the fact that there are exceptional circumstances which would mean that to refuse to grant you leave to remain would result in a breach of your rights protected by Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights, because such refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences. This is only likely to be advisable if you come close to meeting one of the Immigration Rules or if there are other compelling or compassionate circumstances. We would strongly advise that you seek legal advice in these circumstances.


[1] Please note:

  • All applications under the Immigration Rules will be subject to the suitability requirements set out within the rules.

  • If you do not fall within any of the Immigration Rules and you cannot make a nationality application, you may consider making an application outside the Immigration Rules (see option 11 above).

  • If you are a child or you have a child and there are strong reasons to show that you/your child’s future lies in the UK, option 5 should be considered.

  • Please note, there are specific rules in relation to nationality for children who have been adopted, children whose parents are in the armed forces, children and adults with British ancestry and those who are stateless. That information is not included in this diagram.

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