*Update: the Home Office is due to publish the results of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration on Thursday 4th April. Our response will be published at citizensuk.org/news *
Independent research conducted by Citizens UK has revealed that the UK charges children who were born or raised here and who are applying to become British citizens almost ten times more than Spain, France, Belgium and many other EU countries.
The report shows that the UK’s child citizenship fees – which are currently £1012 per child – are the highest in the EU-15. It is estimated that the Home Office makes a profit of approximately £623 per child who applies and that an estimated 120,000 children who have grown up British are currently affected.
A number of EU countries such as Belgium and France do not charge any fees to children who are eligible to obtain citizenship. Other countries such as the Netherlands only charge modest amounts to cover the administration costs of processing citizenship applications from children.
You can read our full report here.
Costing £1012 per child, these fees force countless families into risky debts, which causes families a great deal of stress. Watch the Channel 4 news report video below of Bernice and her two children talking about the impact that the cost of child citizenship has had on them:
For families who are unable to cover the costs, these costs mean that their children are blocked from fulfilling their potential and accessing university as they would have to pay the higher cost of international fees for non-UK or EU students.
On National Poetry Day, Thursday 4th October, children affected by these high child citizenship fees will be outside the Home Office to perform poems written by them about belonging, 'British-ness', and inclusion. A copy of their 'Children Into Citizens' poetry anthology will be handed to Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP, along with a letter asking for a meeting to discuss a reduction in the fees.
Sarah Holtam, Co-Chair, Citizens UK Council said: “Our research reveals that not only are these fees are incredibly high, but that they are also much more expensive than anywhere else in the EU-15. We simply don’t understand why Home Office is charging so much for citizenship given the harm it is doing to communities proudly living and working in Britain.”
Fiona Carrick-Davies, Family & Community Co-Ordinator at Surrey Square School, said: “Immigration and citizenship applications are a huge concern to many of our students. Most of the children affected have lived in Britain their entire lives and now their parents – the majority of which are in low paid jobs - are forced to go to upsetting lengths to save for costly citizenship fees.
Many parents have been forced to take out loans and are getting into debt because they are so determined to secure citizenship for their children, to give them the possibility of going to university without paying huge foreign student fees.”
Anne-Marie Canning, Director of Social Mobility and Student Participation at Kings College London, said: “Home Office profiteering on the cost of Citizenship applications means we risk shutting the door on a generation of tens of thousands of bright young people who could be the doctors, teachers and business people Britain needs to compete on the global stage.”