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British Citizenship by Descent

British Citizenship by Descent

British citizenship by descent is a route towards British citizenship based on an individual’s ancestry. There are many rules around British citizenship by descent and these rules differ depending on the particular circumstances of the applicant.

Get in touch with our client care team on 0121 667 6530 to find out more about British citizenship by descent. Our immigration lawyers in Birmingham can organise an appointment with you face-to-face, over the phone or via Skype.

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What is British Citizenship by Descent?

British citizenship by descent is a route towards UK citizenship based on a person’s ancestry. Whether you are eligible or not depends on where and when you were born, as well as the background of your parent/s or grandparent/s.

There are some people who are automatically a British citizen via this route, whereas others will need to complete an application to confirm their status as a British citizen.

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Who is Eligible for British Citizenship by Descent?

Under UK nationality law, there are two forms of British citizenship: British citizenship by descent and British citizenship otherwise than by descent.

A British citizen by descent refers to a person who was born outside the UK who has acquired citizenship through a UK-born parent or grandparent.

The rules around eligibility for British citizenship by descent vary depending on when you were born and the circumstances of your parent/s or grandparent/s at the time of your birth.

British Citizenship by Descent: Born before 1983

You are automatically a British citizen if you were born outside of the UK before 1st January 1983 and your father was a citizen of the UK and Colonies at the time of your birth and was married to your mother.

Also, one of the following must have applied to your father at the time of your birth:

  • Was born or adopted in the UK
  • Worked as a Crown servant when you were born
  • Was a British citizen at the time of your birth (not through descent)

If you were born before 1983 and your parents were not married at the time of your birth, or your mother was a British citizen and not your father, you will still be eligible for citizenship if one of the points above applied to your mother or father at the time of your birth.

British Citizenship by Descent: Born between 1983 and June 2006

If you were born between 1983 and 30th June 2006, you will automatically be a British citizen if your mother or father was a British citizen when you were born, and one of the following applies to them:

  • They were born or adopted in the UK
  • Worked as a Crown servant when you were born
  • Was a British citizen at the time of your birth (not through descent)

If your father was not married to your mother at the time of your birth, you will still be eligible if one of the points above applied to your father at the time of your birth.

British Citizenship by Descent: Born after June 2006

If you were born on or after July 1st 2006 outside of the UK and one of your parents was a British citizen at the time of your birth, you will automatically be a British citizen.

In order to be eligible, one of the following must have applied to your British parent at the time of your birth:

  • They were born or adopted in the UK
  • Worked as a Crown servant when you were born
  • Was a British citizen at the time of your birth (not through descent)

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British Citizenship by Double Descent

Under certain circumstances, you can apply for citizenship if one of your grandparents was born in the UK or was a British citizen at the time of your birth. This route is known as British citizenship by Double Descent.

Double descent claims are considered on a case-by-case basis, and you must be able to provide sufficient evidence to support your case. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive citizenship through this route.

This is an especially complex area of UK immigration law, and we highly recommend you enlist the services of an experienced immigration law firm to help you with your case.

If you think you have a reasonable claim for citizenship by double descent, we can help. We boast some of the most highly skilled and experienced immigration lawyers in Birmingham and throughout the United Kingdom.

We have assisted many individuals who were looking to acquire British citizenship based on the ancestry of their parents and grandparents.

Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out how we can help you become a British citizen.

What is the Difference Between Automatic Citizenship and Registration?

If a person meets the main requirements under each of the categories above, they will automatically qualify for British citizenship by descent. This means they will not need to enter an official application for citizenship, and can apply for a letter confirming their British citizenship. They will also be able to apply for a child or adult British passport.

However, if a person is eligible for British citizenship by descent but doesn’t meet the standard requirements, they will need to register their citizenship. This process involves filling in an application form and providing certain documents to prove that you are who you say you are.

Application forms can be completed online, or you can complete it on paper and send it by post. However, if you live in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or an overseas British territory, you can only apply by post.

The form which you will need to complete depends on the particular route through which you wish to apply for British citizenship. For example, those born before 1983 will need to fill in different forms depending on whether they are applying through their father or mother.

You will be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point as part of the application process. You will need to provide your biometric information at the appointment (your fingerprints and a photo), at a cost of £19.20.

How Long Does it Take to Receive a Decision?

In most circumstances, you should receive a decision within six months from the date the application was received.

The Home Office will inform you if you need to provide more information. The application process will be delayed if you are required to provide more information.

If your circumstances change, it is important to inform the Home Office. This includes if you have moved house, got married or been arrested.

You can email the Home Office directly to report a change of circumstances on: nationalityenquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk.

What is the Citizenship Ceremony?

You will need to attend a citizenship ceremony if your British citizenship application is accepted and you are 18 or over (including if you turned 18 when the application was being processed.)

The citizenship ceremony is usually conducted in a group, although you can request to have an individual ceremony at an additional cost. It costs £80 for a group citizenship ceremony, and you can take two guests with you.

You will need to swear an oath of allegiance, promising to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.

It might be possible to have your citizenship ceremony in the country where you’re living. If you wish to do so, you should contact the country’s embassy or consulate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

These are the general guidelines if you are looking to apply for citizenship by double descent:

Born Before 1st January 1949:

Those born outside of the UK before 1949 with a grandparent who was born in the UK may also be eligible for British citizenship.

You may be eligible if one of the following applies:

  • You and your parent were not born in a Commonwealth country and you were born before 1915
  • You are a woman who married a British man before 1949
  • Your or one of your parents was born in a former British territory

Born before 1st January 1983:

If you were born outside of the UK between January 1st 1949 and 31st December 1982 and had a UK-born grandparent, you could be eligible for British citizenship if the following circumstances:

  • The parent was born in a former British territory, excluding certain Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand
  • The parent was registered as a British citizen, a citizen of the UK and colonies or a federal citizen of Rwanda and Nyasaland
  • The parent was in Crown service at the time of your birth
  • Your parents were married before 1949 and paternal grandfather was born in the UK
  • Maternal grandfather was born in the UK
  • You and your parent were not in a Commonwealth country

Born after 1st January 1983:

In certain circumstances, an adult born outside of the UK after 1st January 1983 who has a UK-born grandparent might be eligible for British citizenship by descent if:

  • They had a UK-born grandfather who was in Crown service at the time of relevant parent’s birth
  • The parent had a UK-born mother, did not have a UK-born father and was registered as a British citizen between 2nd February 1979 and 31st December 1982
  • The applicant or their parent was born in a former British colony

 

British citizenship by birth is a route towards British citizenship based on where a person was born and their recent ancestry. To be eligible, the person must be UK-born. There are different rules around British citizenship by birth depending on when the person was born.

Those born in the UK before 1983 are almost always eligible for automatic British citizenship if they were born in the UK.

People born in the UK on 1st January 1983 and later in the UK will be eligible for automatic British citizenship if one of the following is true:

  • Person is under 18 and since birth one of their parents became a British citizen, or was given settled status
  • They lived in the UK until they were at least 10-years-old

There are other rules around British citizenship by birth to be aware of. To find out more about this route to British citizenship, call us now on 0121 667 6530.

 

As a British citizen, you will be eligible to apply for a British passport. You need to complete and submit an online or paper passport application. An online application costs £75.50, and a paper application costs £85.

All documents must be submitted in their original form and if any of the documents are not in English or Welsh, they must be translated by an accredited translator.

The specific documents you need to submit depends on the particular circumstances of the applicant. This is why we recommend hiring the services of an experienced immigration law firm who can help you establish exactly what you need to provide.

Call us now on 0121 667 6530 and let us help you prepare your British passport application to the highest standard.

Our immigration lawyers in Birmingham are here to help with all immigration queries and cases, regardless of their complexity.

We have helped thousands of people secure the immigration results they were seeking, helping to make their dreams a reality. We are very well versed in all forms of British citizenship applications, as well as Spouse Visa applications and work visas.

Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out how we can help you today.