citizen fee - unlawful
19 December 2019
A judgement in the high court has deemed the current Home Office fee of £1,012 for a child to register as a British citizen as unlawful.
The case, brought by Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC), challenged the lawfulness of charging any fee where a child cannot afford to pay.
Although more than 40,000 children applied to be registered as British citizens in 2018, a significant number of families of children with the right to be registered as British citizens are put off applying by the high cost.
PRCBC’s case also contested the lawfulness of the financial profit made by the Home Office in all cases. Only £372 of the actual £1,012 fee is spent on the administrative cost of processing the registration application. The remaining £640 is profit and, apparently, goes towards financing the entire immigration system.
Today’s judgment rendered the application fee unlawful since the Home Office had failed to consider children’s best interests. It means the Home Office is required to reconsider the fee and ensure that children’s best interests are taken into account when doing so.
The court has made it clear 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.
Carol Bohmer, Chair of PRCBC said: ‘This is a landmark ruling. But the fight for justice for children born and growing up in the UK goes on.’
The Home Office said it would consider the implications of the court’s judgment carefully.