Can a British Citizen renounce their British citizenship as a minor?

No. In my son’s procedure I had a case officer insisting that he would have to, despite my submission of a commented copy of the valid consolidated version of the UK Nationality Act of 1981 in the version most recently amended. I lodged the 102 pages along with 5 pages of comments in German about the provisions that apply in his case, and paid for this to be submitted for the file. One other case officer had the temerity to ask me when I thought she or colleagues would have the time to read it. I responded with a smile that she would not have to read the 102 pages, only the five page commentary, but failing that I reminded her that ignorance of a law is not a defence when a law is broken.

In doing my renunciation, I even included a letter stating why I believed that it was in his interests to renounce his citizenship (in light of the fact that he could not pass it on without his own children being born in the UK, and that if he did not live in the UK prior to attaining majority he would not be able to vote in the UK). This letter, which appealed to the Home Secretary to exercise his/her powers to allow renunciation in my son’s best interests and permit his renunciation despite being a minor was rejected. My son’s application to renounce his British citizenship was rejected, he having taken Austrian citizenship by then and when I went to MA35 to lodge my official renunciation, the staff member conceded that I had done everything possible for my son to renounce, going over and beyond the requirement of the law, and that they accepted that he could not renounce.

Some people have asked about whether a child might have to decide at 18 which citizenship to hold. While a child naturalising can be required to choose at 18, there is a limitation of six years for how long the file can be kept open. If the child is more than six years away from reaching majority, the file will be shut before this applies.

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