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UK Visa for child entitled to UK Citizenship

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A child who is a British citizen ( in this case, by descent) cannot be issued with a visit visa for the UK, even in a Thai passport. We know that applications for visit visas are made to the UKVI in Bangkok, and are accepted as valid applications. We also know that visit visas are sometimes issued by ECOs, but it is not legally possible. By saying “we” I mean the generic “we”, that is many of us here, as I’m sure a few of the members here have had visit visas issued to their British citizen children on their Thai passports.

The law does not allow an ECO ( or an immigration officer) to restrict admission to the UK to British citizens, or to impose a time limit on their stay, as British citizens automatically have the right of abode in the UK. Therefore, an ECO cannot issue a visa which restricts the child’s stay in the UK to 6 months. What should happen is that, firstly, VFS should refuse to accept the application ( but I doubt that they are even aware of the legalities involved). If the application gets past VFS, then the ECO should refuse to consider it. That, basically, is it.

What should actually happen is ( assuming the child holds only a Thai passport) that the applicant ( or parent) should be told to apply for either a British passport for the child, or for a Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode. The visit visa application cannot be considered as it is unlawful to do so.

A CoE to the ROA costs 289 GBP.

If a child already holds a British passport, then a CoE cannot be issued, even into a Thai passport.

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  • 2 years later...

Tony M has provided updated information on this issue and, as always, I'm grateful for him doing so.

I've transposed the updated information onto this, Tony M's, original thread.



UKVI have just issued updated guidance to ECOs on visit visa applications, and the matter of applicants who have the Right of Abode in the UK is specifically dealt with. The guidance states :


Persons who British citizens or who have right of abode

A person who is a British citizen, or who has right of abode in the UK cannot be given leave to enter or remain under the Immigration Rules. This is because under section 1(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 a person with right of abode is not subject to immigration control.


If a person who has right of abode applies for a visit visa and you are satisfied that they have right of abode, they should be advised that their application cannot be considered, the application will lapse, and that they may want to apply for a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode or a British passport instead. The application fee will not be refunded.

If you believe the person may have right of abode in the UK, but they cannot establish their claim, you can issue a visit visa provided the applicant meets the Immigration Rules, and provided you are satisfied that they have made genuine and reasonable attempts to obtain the relevant documents. Where you are not satisfied that they meet the Rules, they can be refused a visa in line with the Rules (for example, that they are not a genuine visitor).


There are other minor changes in the new guidance, including :


Example of when an applicant may be considered to have few or no ties to their home country  (see page 12 of the guidance attached). 


There is often discussion in the forum, and in other forums, of the now defunct "6 months in 12 months" rule.  There is no such rule, and the guidance may be useful. It hasn't been updated,as the "rule" ended some time ago, and this has been the guidance to ECOs for some time (my bold emphasis below) :


You should look at:

  • the purpose of the visit and intended length of stay stated
  •  the number of visits made over the past 12 months, including the length of stay on each occasion, the time elapsed since the last visit, and if this amounts to the individual spending more time in the UK than in their home country
  •  the purpose of return trips to the visitor’s home country and if this is used only to seek re-entry to the UK
  •  the links they have with their home country - consider especially any long term commitments and where the applicant is registered for tax purposes
  •  evidence the UK is their main place of residence, for example
  •  if they have registered with a general practitioner (GP)
  •  send their children to UK schools

       • the history of previous applications, for example if the visitor has previously been refused under the family rules and subsequently wants to enter as a visitor you must assess if they are using                  the visitor route to avoid the rules in place for family migrants joining British or settled persons in the UK

        There is no specified maximum period which an individual can spend in the UK in any period such as ‘6 months in 12 months’. However, if it is clear from an individual’s travel history that they are         making the UK their home you should refuse their application.


The guidance , in full, is attached:



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