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Because my partner and I are British by birth, my son inherits British citizenship too.

We are moving back to live in the UK permanently in a few weeks and my son only has his New Zealand passport (he was born here).

Are we better off getting him a UK passport to enter the UK or will he be fine entering on his NZ passport? He will be 16 months old at the time we arrive.

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  • The UK allows multiple nationalities and I couldn't find any article on the web about British citizens having to enter and exit the country using a British passport. Please check also this question: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/181966/… but it's not really needed in your case, since your son's NZ passport allows visa-free access to the UK. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 7:03
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    NZ passport allows visa free access so he can enter no problem. He can't overstay since he's British, no matter what the leave to enter stamp in the NZ passport says. Why not get him a UK pass or certificate of entitlement? These can be done at the UK consular section in NZ in a couple weeks (according to gov.uk)
    – Ozzy
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 7:06
  • @Ozzy No. If the child is moving to the UK permanently then a NZ passport does not grant entry under those circumstances. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 16:50
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    @phoog That's a nice theory, but in practice when the family is asked "How long are you staying in the UK" and the answer is "indefinitely" then the NZ passport holder will be denied entry as the NZ passport doesn't grant residency. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:27
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    Paul Haller: does "British by birth" mean "born in the UK"? You can be "British by descent" in which case you are British by birth but not able to pass British citizenship to a child born outside the UK.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:34

2 Answers 2

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Are we better off getting him a UK passport to enter the UK or will he be fine entering on his NZ passport? He will be 16 months old at the time we arrive.

You're surely better off with a British passport, but you will probably be fine without one. I assume that you or your partner was born in the UK, that you are both listed as parents on the child's birth certificate, and that your UK place of birth is reflected in your UK passport. This is enough documentary evidence to establish that your child is a British citizen, which means that your child is exempt from immigration control and has an unrestricted right to enter the UK. This will satisfy the UK immigration officer.

The other thing to consider is the airline. They will be satisfied by your child's New Zealand passport, which allows visa-free access to the UK.

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  • Hey, thanks for this. We are intending to take his NZ birth certificate with us on the flight and all the documents to prove he's our son and we're UK born parents. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 21:14
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If you are moving permanently rather than visiting you will need to be able to prove your son's UK citizenship. Clearly the easiest way to do that is to get him a UK passport. Having a UK passport is going to make travel within Europe easier, and is probably worthwhile getting anyway. I strongly recommend getting one before you move. A New Zealand passport will not on its own grant the ability to move to the UK permanently, and so cannot be used to enter under those circumstances. You would need to be able to prove your son's citizenship.

It is not guaranteed that children of British Citizens are always citizens themselves (although it is extremely likely), and authorities will need to check. Something like a birth certificate will not guarantee that your son is admitted to the UK. You will need to prove his citizenship, and a birth certificate with parents' passports are not by themselves enough to do that.

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    "you will need to be able to prove your son's UK citizenship": they don't need to prove his UK citizenship unless they are asked to. If the immigration officer does not ask how long they intend to stay then there will be no need to prove anything. If they lie and say they're only visiting, they will also not need to prove the child's British citizenship on entry, though they may be violating some law by lying. It's also entirely possible that the officer will stamp the child in, allowing them to prove his British citizenship later.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:30
  • @phoog It's a very high risk strategy to say "I hope they don't ask us about the purpose of our visit", where if they do you face refusal of entry. Likewise it's a really bad strategy to start your stay in a country by lying to immigration officials. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:33
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    Also, if either of the parents was born in tbe UK then this child will not need to register. The child is a British citizen from birth. See gov.uk/apply-citizenship-british-parent/… "Something like a birth certificate will not guarantee that your son is admitted to the UK": a birth certificate along with one parent's passport showing a UK place of birth is sufficient.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:36
  • @phoog Even if the child is a citizen automatically he still needs to register. Read the link in my answer. Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:38
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    The point is having to prove the citizenship. The child's birth certificate and parents' passports are not by themselves enough to establish that the child is British. Why would you say "I'll take my chance that nobody will ask a difficult question and risk refusal of entry" rather than "I'll spend a bit of money and fill in some forms to be absolutely certain that everything will be OK and get him a document that will be useful in the long run"? Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:49

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