British consular birth registration is a facility provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for British citizens born overseas to have their births registered with the General Register Office or the National Records of Scotland in addition to their locally issued birth certificate.
The FCO previously carried out consular birth registration at their worldwide network of diplomatic missions. In April 2014 a process of centralisation began and all consular birth registrations are now performed at the FCO's facility at Hanslope Park, near Milton Keynes in the UK.
The registration fee is £150. Return postage fees for your supporting documents are £5.50 for the UK, £14.50 for Europe and £25 for the rest of the world. A consular birth certificate can be ordered at the time of registration from the FCO for an additional £50 or after September of the next year following registration from the GRO for £9.25. The certificate resembles a full birth certificate as issued in the UK with the addition of the parents' and child's entitlement to British citizenship under British nationality law.
Consular birth registration is only available where the child is automatically a British citizen at birth. Consular birth registration therefore should not be confused with registration as a British citizen with the Home Office which confers British citizenship upon eligible persons.
Usually the child concerned will be a British citizen by descent and consular birth registration does not alter the effect of being British "by descent". It simply provides additional evidence of status.
There is no time limit for consular birth registration however the applicant must have been born on or after 1 January 1983.
To apply: Register a birth abroad
Not Available in Certain Countries and Territories
Consular birth registration, other than for those in HM Armed Forces, is not available in countries or territories where the local standard of birth registration is broadly similar to the United Kingdom. These include:
- British Overseas Territories
- Republic of Ireland
- New Zealand
- South Africa
Advantages of Consular Birth Registration
It is not necessary to obtain a consular birth certificate in order for the child to be a British citizen or to apply for a British passport. However it has a number of advantages:
- the certificate is in English (hence will not require certified translations).
- it will be easier to have it accepted for official purposes as a birth certificate in the United Kingdom.
- it protects against it later on being difficult, impossible or prohibitively expensive to obtain a replacement local birth certificate.
- it acts as standalone evidence of British citizenship. This is particularly useful for first time passport applications or when you need to replace a lost or stolen British passport when it usually is necessary to prove the claim to citizenship. That may be difficult if it occurs many years later.
- it is evidence of British citizenship that does not have an expiry date (unlike a passport).
If Consular Birth Registration is Not Available
Then your child's British passport is the only evidence of citizenship. Take good care of it!
- Do not throw out expired passports.
- Keep copies of all passports in a safe place.
- Make sure you have spare (original) copies of all the documentation used originally to obtain the passport, parent's birth, marriage certificates, etc..
- Obtain multiple copies of your child's local birth certificate and keep them in a safe place.
Don't assume that your child will find it easy to replace these documents in future. Not only can records be lost, but "privacy policies" may make it difficult or impossible for your child to replace documents in future, especially many years later.