I am a British passport holder, born in the UK, now living in Sri Lanka.

I have two half-Sri Lankan, half-British children.

I want to apply for a UK visit visa for my 7-month-old who currently holds a Sri Lankan passport. As far as I am aware, she has to pay the very expensive fee even thought she is half British.

Many of the questions in the online application are irrelevant to a minor and relate to finance and employment.

How do I fill out the form, as I am British? I do not need a visa nor do I need to explain my financial situation in order to travel home to visit family.

  • 5
    Why don't you instead file the paperwork for their British Registration? If You are British otherwise than by descent you are eligible to pass on British citizenship to your children regardless of where they were born. gov.uk/register-british-citizen/children-born-outside-uk Jul 14, 2017 at 7:40
  • @HankyPanky yes, it would be much easier to get British passports for your children. Then, they could enter the UK (and the EU in general) visa-free. Jul 14, 2017 at 11:13
  • 2
    The difficulty with just getting a British passport is that it might have implications for the child's Sri Lankan citizenship. Looking it all up last night I wasn't able to reach a clear understanding of what those implications are. Sri Lanka does seem to allow dual citizenship for a fee, but the forms I found seemed to me to assume naturalisation, not dual citizenship by descent for a child, see immigration.gov.lk/web/…
    – Hedgehog
    Sep 2, 2017 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Based on what you say in the question, it is very likely that your children are automatically British citizens from birth. (The UK government may not know about them yet, but when they find out, the outcome will not be that the child becomes a British citizen as a result of the investigation, but that the government takes note of the fact that they've been a citizen all along!)

As such, the right way for them to enter the UK is not to get a visa, but one of

According to Wikipedia, the certificate of entitlement is much more expensive than the fee for an actual British passport, so your best bet would be to get your children British passports. If you do go for a certificate of entitlement, the standard electronic visa application is most certainly not how to apply for one; contact the British High Commission in Colombo for advice on what to do.

How about Sri Lankan authorities, then? Sri Lanka is not in general friendly towards dual citizenship, but it does seem to recognize that some people acquire more than one citizenship at birth. Section 20(2) of the Citizenship Act 1948 states that such a person loses Sri Lankan citizenship on their 22nd birthday, unless they explicitly renounce their other citizenship before then. Conversely, one infers that having dual citizenship up until the age of 22 must be allowed by Sri Lankan law.

Note that since British citizenship by birth occurs automatically, it will not necessarily shield the children from section 20(2) to ignore the fact that they're British citizens, such as by refraining from applying for a British passport for them. No matter whether they use their British citizenship, they would still have it, and still be obliged to make an explicit choice somewhen between their 18th and 22th birthday.

So no matter what you do now, you should make a note to investigate the relevant law regarding your children's nationality once they turn 18, so they won't lose citizenship by inaction.

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