British Citizenship 2019 | Form AN Guidance

british citizenship 2019

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BRITISH CITIZENSHIP IN 2 STEPS:

Part 1: Was I born British?
Part 2: How do I become British? (Naturalisation as a British Citizen)
Part 3: How do I become British? (Registration as a British Citizen)


PART 1

Was I born British?

This is important because if you or your children are already British, all you need to do is apply for a British passport! you can apply for a UK passport or ask for a letter confirming your citizenship.

WHEN WERE YOU BORN?

BEFORE 1983 INSIDE THE UK
BEFORE 1983 OUTSIDE THE UK
BETWEEN 1 JANUARY 1983 AND 30 JUNE 2006 INSIDE THE UK
BETWEEN 1 JANUARY 1983 AND 30 JUNE 2006 OUTSIDE THE UK
ON OR AFTER 1 JULY 2006 INSIDE THE UK
ON OR AFTER 1 JULY 2006 OUTSIDE THE UK

I WAS BORN BEFORE 1983 (UP TO AND INCLUDING 31 DECEMBER 1982)

born inside uk pre 1983

I WAS BORN BEFORE 1983 INSIDE THE UK

The general law 

A person is British if he/she was born in the UK before 1 January 1983.

Example: Martin was born in the UK in 1979. He was therefore born British and simply has to apply for a UK passport, or a letter confirming his citizenship. He does not have to register as a British citizen or complete any complicated forms.

born outside uk pre 1983

I WAS BORN BEFORE 1983 OUTSIDE THE UK

The general law 

A person is British if

  • His/her FATHER was born in the UK OR his/her FATHER ‘registered’ or ‘naturalised’ as a British citizen before the child’s birth

AND

  • At the time the person was born, his/her parents were married OR married after the person’s birth in a country where marriages ‘legitimises’ children who were born without married parents.

It is important to note a few things:

  • Only a British father can automatically pass British citizenship to his child here.
  • Children who were born outside the UK with British mothers have to submit an application to ‘register’ their children as British.
  • “Registration” is for people who were not born British but instead have to submit an application to become British.
  • “Naturalisation” here is the legal act of a non-British person becoming British.

EXAMPLES

#1 My father was born in the UK AND my father and mother were married when I was born

You were born British.

You can apply for a UK passport or ask for a letter confirming your citizenship.

Example: Susie was born in Ghana in 1972. Since her married father was born in Scotland (which is part of the UK) in 1940, Susie was born British. If she wants to travel, or if she simply wants a British passport, she can apply for one.


 #2 My father was born in the UK BUT my father and mother were NOT married when I was born

If your mother and father never married, then you were not born British. However, because of sub-sections 4E-4I of the British Nationality Act 1981, you can apply to ‘register’ as a British citizen. The appropriate form would be ‘Form UKF’.

If your mother and father married after you were born, in a country where their marriage meant that you were ‘legitimised’, you were born British. If you are unsure about the country’s specific laws, it is advised to ask the embassy in which your parents married.

Example 1: Margaret was born in Nigeria in 1979 (before 1983). Her father was born in the UK and at the time she was born, Margaret’s parents were not married. Margaret was therefore not born British and could not apply for a British passport. However, today, Margaret will be able to ‘register’ as a British citizen because Section 4F -4I (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/61/section/4F) of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows for those who missed out on being a British citizen at birth because their parents were not married to register.

Example 2: Jessica, just like Margaret, was born in Nigeria in 1979. Her father was also born in the UK and at the time she was born, just like Margaret, her parents were not married. However, since Jessica’s parents married 3 years after in a country that operated to ‘legitimise’ Jessica, Jessica would be considered to have been born British. She does not have to apply for registration as a British citizen but can simply apply for a British passport.


#3 My mother was born in the UK AND my father was NOT born in the UK

You will not be born British. To most people, this seems unfair because if it was the other way round and your father was born in the UK, you will be born British. However, if your parents did not register you as a British citizen when you were a child, you can now register yourself as a British citizen under s 4C BNA 1981.

Example: Peter was born in Thailand before 1983. Sarah, Peter’s mother, was born in London, England. Peter’s dad was born in Thailand. Peter was not born British but instead can apply to register as a British citizen.


#4 My father was not born in the UK but registered or naturalised as a British citizen in the UK before I was born

You will be British if your parents, at the time of your birth, were married or if they married after your birth in a country where that country’s laws means that the marriage legitimises the child. Unsure about this? Ask the home country’s embassy.


#5 My father was not born in the UK but registered or naturalised as a British citizen in the UK after I was born

You were not born British, unfortunately.


#6 My mother was not born in the UK but registered or naturalised as a British citizen in the UK either before or afterI was born

You were not born British. Seems pretty sexist, right? Well, if you did not register as a British citizen by descent before you were 18, you may also now apply to register as a British citizen by descent. You will have to prove in the application that you are of ‘good character’.

I WAS BORN BETWEEN 1 JANUARY 1983 AND 30 JUNE 2006 

BORN INSIDE UK 1983 2006

I WAS BORN INSIDE THE UK BETWEEN 1 JANUARY 1983 AND 30 JUNE 2006

The general law 

A person is British if, at the time of their birth, their father or mother is either:

  • A British citizen

OR

  • settled in the UK

#1 When I was born, my mother was a British citizen, had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)or Permanent Residence under European law

You were born British.


#2 When I was born, my father was a British citizen, had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)or Permanent Residence under European law AND my parents were married

You were born British.

Law: Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states: “A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement, or in a qualifying territory on or after the appointed day, shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is–
(a) a British citizen; or
(b) settled in the United Kingdom or that territory


#3 When I was born, my (natural) father was a British citizen, had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence under European law but my parents were NOT married

If your mother and father, after your birth, married or marry in a country which ‘legitimises’ you, you will be treated as if you were born British.

If this is not the case and your parents have not married, however, you were not born British. However, you can register as a British citizen under Section 4G of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Law: section 4G of the BNA 1981

Form: Form UKF


#4 My father acquired British citizenship aftermy birth and was marriedto my mother at the time I was born

You can register as a British citizen (otherwise than by descent) if you are under the age of 18.

Law: s 1(3) and (4) BNA 1981


#5 I was a new-born infant that was found abandoned in the UK(on or after 1 January 1983)

You will be born British, as you would be assumed to have been born to a parent who at the time of the birth was a British citizen or settled in the UK.

born outside 1983 2006

I WAS BORN OUTSIDE THE UK

#1 When I was born, my mother was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ by birth in the UK

You were born British.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#2 When I was born, my MOTHER was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ having been registered or naturalised as a British citizen BEFORE you were born

You were born British.

If your mother became British after you were born, this does not mean that you were born British, unfortunately.

Law: Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#3 When I was born, my mother had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence under European laws

You were not born British. The law specifically requires your mother to be British.


#4 When I was born, my father was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ by birth in the UK AND my father and mother were married

You were born British.

Law: Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#5 When I was born, my father was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ having been registered or naturalised as a British citizen beforeI was bornAND my father and mother were married

You were born British.

If your mother became British after you were born, this does not mean that you were born British, unfortunately.

Law: Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#6 When I was born, my father was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ by birth in the UK BUT my (natural) father and mother were NOT married

If your mother and father, after your birth, married or marry in a country which ‘legitimises’ you, you will be treated as if you were born British. If this is not the case and your parents have not married, however, you were not born British.

However, you can register as a British citizen under Section 4G of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Law: Section 4G of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891

Form: Form UKF


#7 When I was born, my father was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ having been registered or naturalised as a British citizen before you were bornBUT my father and mother were NOT married

If your mother and father, after your birth, married/marry in a country which ‘legitimises’ you, you will be treated as if you were born British. If this is not the case and your parents have not married, however, you were not born British. However, you can register as a British citizen under Section 4G of the British Nationality Act 1981.

I WAS BORN ON OR AFTER 1 JULY 2006 

born inside uk after 2006

I WAS BORN INSIDE THE UK

The general law 

A person is British if, at the time of their birth, their mother or father  is

  • a British citizen; or

AND

  • settled in the United Kingdom

#1 When I was born, my mother was a British citizen

You were born British.

If your mother became British after you were born, this does not mean that you were born British, unfortunately.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#2 When I was born, my mother had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence under European law

You were not born British. The law specifically requires your mother to be British.


#3 When I was born, my mother’s husband was British.

You were born British. Notice how we just didn’t say ‘your father was British’? This is because, funnily enough, the relevant law states that if your mother was married when you were born, your father is not actually your biological father, but rather whoever was her husband!

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#4 When I was born, my biological father was British BUT my mother (who was not British) was married to a non-British person

You were not born British. This is because of reasons given in #3 above. The relevant legal definition of ‘father’ here is your mother’s husband at the time of your birth.

With this being said, as this is obviously outrageous and arguably unfair, it will be open for you to register, as a child, as a British citizen under s3(1) BNA 1981. Although this will be an application that is decided on a discretionary basis, such applications are usually successful.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#5 When I was born, my biological father was British. My parents were not married to each other. My mother was not married to any person at the time I was born.

In order to have been born British, you will need to prove paternity (i.e. prove that your father is in fact your father). Note, this is different to registration.

born outside uk 2006

I WAS BORN OUTSIDE THE UK

The general law 

You will automatically be a British citizen in two circumstances:

Circumstance one

Either your father or mother (or both) was:

1) a British citizen otherwise than by descent;AND

2) He or she acquired British citizenship by birth in the UK.

Circumstance two

Either your father or mother (or both) was:

  • a British citizen otherwise than by descent; AND
  • He or she registered or was naturalised as a British citizen BEFORE you were born

#1 When I was born, my mother was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ by birth in the UK

You were born British.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#2 When I was born, my mother was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ having been registered or naturalised as a British citizen beforeI was born

You were born British.

If your mother became British after you were born, this does not mean that you were born British, unfortunately.

Law: Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#3 When I was born, my mother had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence under European laws

You were born British.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#4 When I was born, my mother’s husband was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ by birth in the UK

You were born British.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#5 When I was born, my mother’s husband was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ registration or naturalisation

You were born British.

If your mother’s husband (at the time you were born) became British after you were born, this does not mean that you were born British, unfortunately.

Law: Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891


#6 When I was born, my mother was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’ by birth in the UK

If your mother and father, after your birth, married or marry in a country which ‘legitimises’ you, you will be treated as if you were born British. If this is not the case and your parents have not married, however, you were not born British.

However, you can register as a British citizen under Section 4G of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Law: Section 4G of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Law: s 2(1) BNA 1891

British nationality requirements

PART 2

British Citizenship Requirements 2019 – Becoming British (a.k.a. “Naturalisation”)

You can apply for British Citizenship if you:

  • Are aged 18 or over;
  • Intend to settle in the UK;
  • Satisfy the residency requirement;
  • Satisfy the knowledge of English requirement
  • Satisfy the knowledge of life in the UK requirement; and
  • Are of “good character”

This is known as ‘naturalisation’.

Obviously, if you have found that you are already a British citizen, there is nothing more for you to do! It is open to you to apply for a British passport if you would like to travel or simply have the useful document.

We will now look at each of these in more detail below.

The 6 British Citizenship Requirements

Requirement 1: Aged 18 or over
Requirement 2: You must intend to settle in the UK
Requirement 3: The residence requirements
Requirement 4: English language requirement
Requirement 5: Life in the UK Test requirement
Requirement 6: The ‘good character’ requirement’

18 plus requirement

Requirement #1

You must be aged 18 or over

People under 18 cannot naturalise. They, however, can ‘register’ to become a British citizen under the age of 18.

British citizenship accommodation requirement

Requirement #2

You must intend to settle in the UK

Nothing much to write about here!

residence requirements

Requirement #3

The 5 residence requirements

The requirements are slightly different if you are applying as a spouse of a British citizen or not.

 i) You must have been in the UK for five years before the application date

Law: Schedule 1, paragraph 2 (a) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

“that the applicant was in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the period of five years ending with the date of the application”

ii) You must not have been outside the UK for more than 450 days in the last 5 years of your residence in the UK

Law:Schedule 1, paragraph 2 (a) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

“…the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in that period does not exceed 450”

iii) You must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days in the last year

Law: Schedule 1, paragraph 2 (b) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

“…the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in the period of twelve months so ending does not exceed 90”

iv) You must have had either Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence (PR) under EU law for 1 year before you submitted the application

This is known as ‘being settled’.

“I am a European citizen and I have met the requirements of Permanent Residence under EU law, BUT I have not got a document that says this. Do I need one?”

Yes. Those relying on their PR should submit their PR document in their application. The British Nationality (General) (amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1806) says that, since 12 November 2016, this is the case.

“I am a European citizen and have not yet got my PR document. Will I have to wait 1 year after getting this document or can I apply for British citizenship straight away?”

The relevant date here is when you legally acquired Permanent Residence, NOT when you got the Permanent Residence document. When you apply for Permanent Residence under EU law, you will be given two documents. First, you will receive a Permanent Residence ID. This will show a ‘valid from’ date. Second, you will receive a letter that states the date at which you legally acquired Permanent Residence under EU law – this is the key date at which you must calculate the 1-year of time passing.

v) In the 5 years before you submit the application, your residence in the UK must have been lawful

As stated in the Home Office document, Nationality policy: Naturalisation as a British citizen by discretion (download link), you would have been be lawfully resident in the UK if:

  • You were in the UK on a valid visa which gave you permission to enter and/or remain; or
  • You have had ‘right of abode’ in the UK; or
  • You were a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who last arrived in the UK on a local journey from the Republic of Ireland; or
  • You were entitled to reside in the UK without leave under EEA regulations; or
  • You were a crew of ships or aircraft
  • You were disembarked at a UK port but were still in the immigration control area of have been detailed or given temporary admission

What does this mean? Well, if any time in the 5 years was spent in the UK unlawfully (aka “in breach of immigration laws”), then the 5 years time period will be reset and will resume once you resided in the UK lawfully again.

For more information on this, check this file from gov.uk, starting from page 25.

i) You must have been in the UK three years before the application date

Law: Schedule 1 paragraph 3(a) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

“… that he was in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the period of three years ending with the date of the application”

ii) You must not have been outside the UK for more than 270 days in the last 3 years of your residence in the UK

Law: Schedule 1 paragraph 3(b) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

“that the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in that period does not exceed 270”

iii) You must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days In the last year

Law: Schedule 1, paragraph 3 (b) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

“…the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in the period of twelve months so ending does not exceed 90”

iv) You must have had either Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence (PR) under EU law at the time you submit the application

This is different to those applying as a non-spouse, who have to wait at least 12 months from having being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain or permanent residence.

“I am a European citizen and I have met the requirements of Permanent Residence under EU law, BUT I have not got a document that says this. Do I need one?”

Yes. Those relying on their PR should submit their PR document in their application. The British Nationality (General) (amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1806) says that, since 12 November 2016, this is the case.

v) In the years before you submit the application, your residence in the UK must have been lawful

As stated in the Home Office document, Nationality policy: Naturalisation as a British citizen by discretion (download link here), you would have been be lawfully resident in the UK if:

  • You were in the UK on a valid visa which gave you permission to enter and/or remain; or
  • You have had ‘right of abode’ in the UK; or
  • You were a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who last arrived in the UK on a local journey from the Republic of Ireland; or
  • You were entitled to reside in the UK without leave under EEA regulations; or
  • You were a crew of ships or aircraft
  • You were disembarked at a UK port but were still in the immigration control area of have been detailed or given temporary admission

What does this mean? Well, if any time in the 3 years was spent in the UK unlawfully (aka “in breach of immigration laws”), then the 3 years time period will be reset and will resume once you resided in the UK lawfully again.

For more information on this, check this gov.uk file, starting from page 25.

Law: Schedule 1, paragraph 3 (d) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states:

…that he was not at any time in the period of three years ending with the date of the application in the United Kingdom in breach of the immigration laws”

good character

Requirement #4

‘Good character’ requirement

What is the good character requirement?

For the most part, whether someone has good character is common sensical. If you have never had trouble with the law, have always complied with the Immigration Rules and have a decent financial history, it is likely that you will be deemed to have good character. With this being said, the good character requirement is the most common reason for refusal, so it’s worthwhile to familiarise yourself with it!

It is not defined in legislation, but we will create a post on this soon!

English language requirement

Requirement #5

English language requirement

Note: If you successfully applied for Indefinite Leave to remain and met this requirement after 28 October 2013, you do not need to demonstrate it again.

THERE ARE FOUR WAYS YOU CAN MEET THIS REQUIREMENT

1) If you are over the age of 65, you are exempt from this requirement. If you have a long-term physical or mental condition you may also be exempt.

In some cases, people under the age of 65 do not have to meet this requirement if it is decided that, because of that person’s age, it is unreasonable to expect them to meet it (para 2(1)(e) of Schedule 1 to the British Nationality Act 1981).

If you have a long-term physical or mental condition that prevents you from passing the English language test, you must submit evidence relating to this in your application. Such evidence could include either this form (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/life-in-the-uk-test-exemption-long-term-physical-or-mental-condition) or get a letter from a medical professional.


2) You automatically meet this requirement if you are a national of a majority English speaking country

If you are a citizen of any of the following countries, you automatically meet the knowledge of language requirement and all you have to do is submit your passport:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The United States of America

You will still, however, need to do the Life in the UK Test (below).


3) If you have a university degree (at Bachelor’s Master’s or PhD level) that has been taught in English, you do not need to take the English language test

If you got your degree from a UK university, that’s great! All you need to do is submit this degree certificate, provided it is the original. X states that you do not need to submit a UK NARIC (link) certificate alongside it. Just the original degree certificate is fine!

If you did not obtain your degree from a UK university but the qualification was taught or researched in English, you can ask UK NARIC to confirm that the qualification was taught or research in English. UK NARIC will then provide you with a certificate, which should be submitted alongside an original degree certificate.


4) If none of the above apply, you must get a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework for Reference for Languages (CEFR)

The two main approved English language test providers currently are IELTS SELT Consortium and Trinity College London. To see a list of the only acceptable qualifications covering speaking and listening at B1 or above, check out Appendix O of the Immigration Rules.

It is important to stress that no other tests are acceptable and that the test must only be taken at a Home Office approved test centre, a list of which can be found here.

life in the uk test

Requirement #6

Life in the UK Test (a.k.a. “British Citizenship Test) 

Despite being criticised as being ‘turgid, abysmal piece of writing,” filled with “factual errors, sweeping generalisations [and] gross misrepresentations.’ (source), it is very likely must pass the Life in the UK Test. The Life in the UK test is computer based 45-minute test that asks questions based on the text ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents’ handbook.

Who are not required to take the Life in the UK Test? Well, if you are under 18, aged 65 or over or have a physical or mental disability that does not reasonably allow you to take the test.

Essentially, you just have to memorise the contents of the Life in the United Kingdom: a guide for new residents (3rd edition) book.  This is because the test is completely based on it.

british citizenship application process

PART 3

Registration as a British Citizen

 

What is registration as a British citizen?

Registration is for those who are not automatically British citizens by birth or law.  There may exist a right to register as a British citizen.

The right to registration is contained within the British Nationality Act 1981 (the 1981 Act), which details registration as a process someone can use to apply to the Home Office with evidence that they are entitled to British citizenship under the Act.

If the Home Office accepts the application, the person will then be registered as British.

Registration applications are most often made by children. Many of the categories of registration are limited to applying prior to a child’s 18thbirthday.

However, adults can register too in some circumstances. The most common situation is when an adult who would have been born British had the law not been discriminatory at the time of their birth.

If you are successful in your application for registration, you will be provided with a certificate of registration from the Home Office, which should confirm the date of registration and the law under which it was granted.

If you are over 18 years old at the date of registration, you will require to attend a citizenship ceremony and make an oath of allegiance.

Registration is not deemed retrospective; you are only British from the date that the certificate of registration is issued.


Registration of Children as British Citizens

Children can register as a British citizen in the following circumstances:

#1 If the child is born in the UK (not as a British citizen) and the child’s parent becomes a British citizen or becomes settled in the UK after the child’s birth

Section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows children to register as British citizens if:

  • you gave birth to them in the UK on 1stJanuary 1983 or afterward; and
  • when you gave birth to them, they were not British citizens because neither parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK; and
  • either parent becomes a British citizen or settled in the UK before the child becomes an adult; and
  • they are under the age of 18 years on the date of application

Also, a minor born in the UK on 13thJanuary 2010 or afterwards, who is the child of someone who becomes a member of the armed forces will have the right to register as a British citizen whilst still under the age of 18 years (section 1(3A) of the 1981 Act).

This type of application would be made on Form MN1.

Example: Patricia, was born in the UK in 2005 to a German mother and Polish father.  As her mother was not settled in the UK and her parents were not married, Patricia was not automatically born British. If Patricia’s mother becomes a permanent resident after 5 years of residence in the UK under EU law, Patricia can then be registered as British before she turns 18.


#2 If the child is born outside the UK to a parent who is a British citizen ‘by descent’

Section 3(2) of the 1981 Act applies here.  If you were born abroad to a parent who is a British citizen ‘by descent’, then you are not automatically a British citizen.  However, it is possible to apply for the child’s registration if the British parent has resided in the UK for 3 years continuously prior to the child’s birth. The requirements for ‘continuous residence’ is that the parent cannot have been absent from the UK for 270 days or more within the 3 year period. The application must be made prior to the child turning 18 years old. If a child is registered under section 3(2) they will also become a British citizen ‘by descent’.

On the other hand, if the child and both parents (one of which is British ‘by descent’) have resided in the UK for 3 years continuously after the child’s birth abroad, then they can make an application under section 3(5) of the 1981 Act to register their child as a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’. Again, the child and parent must not have been absent from the UK for greater than 270 days within the 3 years.

British citizenship ‘otherwise than by descent’ is a more attractive status for the child than British citizenship ‘by descent’.  This is because the child will be able to transfer their British citizenship to any children born abroad. However, practically it may be difficult to achieve as it would involve the child living in the UK.

Example: Lola is born in May 2018 in Malaysia.  Her mother is a British citizen by descent and her father is Malaysian. Her mother completed her degree in the UK and was employed in the UK continuously between 2009 and 2017.  Lola can apply to be registered as a British citizen by descent as stipulated by section 3(2).

Example 2: Roberto is born in April 2018 in Thailand. His mother is a British citizen by descent and his father is Thai.  His mother was born in Thailand and grew up there. She only returned to the UK for short holidays to visit family.  His parents would now like to move to the UK, however they are unable to register Roberto as a British citizen under the 1981 Act and he and his father will require to apply for leave to enter the UK.  If they subsequently reside in the UK for 3 years before Roberto’s 18thbirthday, then he can be registered as a British citizen under section 3(5) of the 1981 Act.

This type of application would be made on Form MN1.


#3 Registration of a child at the discretion of the Home Office

Section 3(1) of the 1981 Act permits any child to be registered as a British citizen at the discretion of the Home Secretary. Discretion will generally be exercised in line with Home Office policy.

This type of application would also be made on Form MN1.


Registration of Both Children and Adults

#1 Registration of ‘illegitimate’ children born before 1stJuly 2006 to an unmarried father

This is a type of registration implemented to rectify previous gender discriminatory laws in relation to British nationality.

Children born before 1stJuly 2006 ‘illegitimately’ were not able to obtain British citizenship from their father (unless their father later married their mother and therefore they became ‘legitimate’)

Section 4F of the 1981 Act, allows the registration of children born prior to 1stJuly 2006 who would have become British citizens automatically had their father been married to their mother when they were born, or they would have had the right to apply for registration under other sections of the 1981 Act.

This type of application would be made on Form UKF.

Example: Elsa’s mother gave birth to her in the UK in 1985. Her mother was Dutch and her father was British. Elsa was born out of wedlock and her parents later split up. Her mother was not settled in the UK at the time Elsa was born.  Elsa went to school in the UK and has lived here all her life. She was not a British citizen at birth because her parents were not married but she can now apply to register as a British citizen under section 4F of the 1981 Act.


#2 If you were born outside the UK before 1983 to a British citizen mother, registration may be open to you

This is another type of registration implemented to rectify previous gender discriminatory laws in relation to British nationality.

Prior to 1stJanuary 1983, a British mother could not pass her citizenship on to a child born abroad. Citizenship could only be passed down through men.

Section 4C of the 1981 Act allows a person who was born before 1stJanuary 1983 to apply if they would have automatically become a British citizen had women been able to pass citizenship on to their children at the time of their birth.

This type of application would be made on Form UKM.

Example: Laila was born in Egypt in 1973. Her father was Egyptian and her mother was a British citizen ‘otherwise than by descent’. Laila was not born British but can now apply to register as a British citizen under the provisions of section 4C.


#3 If you were born abroad to a parent serving as a member of the UK armed forces, registration may be open to you

If you were born outside the UK on 13thJanuary 2010 or afterwards, and one or both of your parents was a member of the armed forces and serving abroad, you are entitled to be registered as British under section 4D of the 1981 Act.

This type of application would be made on Form MN1.


#4 If you are stateless, you may be able to register as a British citizen

Schedule 2 of the 1981 Act addresses ‘statelessness’.  Statelessness is when you are not a national of any country.  The Act seeks to reduce the occurrence of statelessness.

Under Schedule 2, paragraph 3; if you were born in the UK(or a British overseas territory) on or after 1stJanuary 1983, you can register as a British citizen if:

  • you were born stateless and continue to be stateless;
  • you have not yet turned 22 on the date of application;
  • you were in the UK (or a British overseas territory) at the start of the period of 5 years immediately preceding the date of application. Absence from the UK (or British overseas territory) should not exceed 450 days.

If a greater period of time within the 5 years has been spent in a British overseas territory rather than the UK, then you will be registered as a British overseas territory citizen rather than a British citizen.

Under Schedule 2, paragraph 4; if you were born outside the UK on or after 1st January 1983, you can register as a British citizen if:

  • you were born stateless and continue to be stateless;
  • your mother or father was a British citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British Overseas citizen, or a British subject when you were born;
  • you were in the UK (or a British overseas territory) at the start of a period of 3 years immediately preceding the date of application. Absence from the UK (or the British overseas territory) should not exceed 270 days.

The type of British citizenship you will get will depend on the type your British parent had.

If you were born before 1stJanuary 1983, registration becomes quite complex and we won’t discuss the rules here.  Refer to Schedule 2, paragraph 5 of the 1981 Act for further details on this.


#5 You may be entitled to register as a British citizen if you spent your first 10 years in the UK

Section 1(4) of the 1981 Act applies here.  Adults and children have the right to apply under this provision if they:

  • were born in the UK on 1stJanuary 1983 or afterwards; and
  • did not have British citizenship status at birth because neither parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK at the time; and
  • were over the age of 10 years on the date of application; and
  • lived in the UK from birth until at least the age of 10 years; and
  • did not have any absences for more than 90 days per year in that 10 year period.

Section 1(7) of the 1981 Act provides a discretion on longer absences than 90 days

This type of application would be made on Form T. Fees for adults are a little higher than for children.

Example: Lee was born in the UK in 2009.  His parents are both Japanese and were not British or settled at the time of his birth. They have now been in the UK for just over 10 years, but are still not British or settled.  After he was born, Lee was sent by his parents to Japan for 12 months.  He came back to the UK and has lived in the UK without any absences since then.  Lee is unable to register as a British citizen under section 1(4) because he was absent from the UK for 90 days and it was intentional on behalf of his parents so discretion would probably not be exercised in this case.

Example 2: Thomas was born in the UK in 2009.  His parents are also both Japanese and not British or settled at the time of his birth. They have now been in the UK for just over 10 years and are still not settled or British. Unlike Lee, Thomas has never left the UK.  Thomas is eligible to register as a British citizen under section 1(4).

 

 

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