The Home Office has today published a new policy providing a fee waiver for some children applying to be registered as British citizens. The policy states that the fee should be waived if the child and her, his or their parents “have credibly demonstrated” that they cannot afford the fee after meeting their essential living needs.
This is in principle an important and welcome first response to PRCBC’s litigation and long-standing challenge to the citizenship registration fee. It will nonetheless be necessary to review the policy more closely and monitor its application in practice to assess how effective it is in enabling children, who cannot afford the fee, to exercise rights to British citizenship.
Particularly welcome is the express statement that a child who is looked after by a local authority will not have to pay the fee.
PRCBC continues to call on the Government to end its practice of charging above the cost of registration for people to access their statutory entitlement to British citizenship.
The failure of the Home Secretary to consider children’s best interests in setting this fee was found to be unlawful by the High Court in the case of PRCBC, O & A v Secretary of State for the Home Department in December 2019. This was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in dismissing the Home Secretary’s appeal against that finding in February 2021.
PRCBC is really grateful to all those individuals and organisations for their support with our higher court case, policy and campaign work.
Extract of explanatory note in these Regulations:
“These fees have been substituted in the light of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in R (Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens and O) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 193. The Secretary of State was found to have breached the duty under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (c. 11) in relation to setting these fees. Having complied with that duty, the Secretary of State has made these Regulations to substitute these fees and make related provision.”