On 26 May 2022, the Home Office announced that a fee waiver would now be available for families who cannot afford to pay the British citizenship registration fee for their children. This applies to anyone under the age of 18 who is eligible to register for citizenship under the provisions of the British Nationality Act 1981.
The usual fee for the application is £1,012 and if granted a fee waiver, this fee will be waived.
What are the criteria for the fee waiver?
The primary consideration on whether an applicant is eligible for a fee waiver is the affordability test. The applicant and parent(s) must credibly demonstrate:
- They cannot afford the fee
- Their income is not sufficient to meet the child’s needs.
The onus is on the applicant and parent(s) to provide full account of their financial circumstance and to demonstrate that those who are supporting them are unable to fund the application fee.
This is a discretionary application and so it is up to caseworker’s discretion as to whether the applicant has adequately demonstrated their inability to afford the fees.
Can the fee waiver be refused?
A fee waiver can be refused, if the applicant or parent(s) fail to provide reliable information about their circumstances, intentionally disposed of funds, have been spending excessively by purchasing items that are outside of what is essential, have sufficient savings to pay the fees or have not taken reasonable steps to ensure that have funds to pay a foreseeable fee.
Each case is decided on its own merits. Evidential flexibility will be exercised where there is a clear and compelling evidence that the individual will not be able to afford the fee or if there is a compelling reason why the evidence cannot be provided.
What is the application process?
Application for a fee waiver must be made through either the online waiver request form or the paper waiver request form. Where a waiver request is made online, the citizenship application must also be made online. The same principle will apply to paper applications.
If the request for a fee waiver is accepted, applicant will be given a token to use within a specified time which will allow them to complete the citizenship application without paying the fee. Token can only be used in relation to the named individual for whom the waiver request was granted.
The guidance also provides that if the applicant subsequently reaches the age of 18 after submitting the fee waiver request but before applying for citizenship, caseworkers should treat the citizenship application as if it were received on the date of the fee waiver application was received.
Please contact our friendly team if you would like further advice and assistance.