Birmingham Immigration Lawyers
0121 667 6530 (local rate)

Mon - Sun, 8.30 am - 6 pm

Find an office

10 offices in the UK

Menu

We are the UK's leading immigration specialists
OISC Accredited UK immigration lawyers
We've had over 5000 applications approved
Get the correct advice from qualified immigration experts
4.7 rating 414 reviews

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 legal team today on 0121 667 6530 to find out more about how you can claim British citizenship by descent and how we can help you. Our immigration lawyers in Birmingham can organise an appointment with you face-to-face, over the phone or online.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    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.

    EXCELLENT
    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews
    Reviews.io Logo

    Who is Eligible for British Citizenship by Descent?

    Under British 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 can automatically acquire British citizenship 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 one of your parents  was a British citizen when you were born. If your father had citizenship and your mother did not, they must have been married. Additionally, your parent must have been eligible to pass citizenship onto you.

    The rules advise that they must have been married where it was the father who held British citizenship, but the mother did not, and

    If your father was not married to your mother at the time of your birth, you will still be eligible if he was one of the following:

    • 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)

    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 (and was able to pass it onto you), you will automatically be a British citizen.

    If you’re not eligible to automatically become a British citizen by descent, you may be able to apply for it if one of the following applies to you:

    • You have resided in the UK with your parents, as long as:
      • You are under 18
      • One of your parents was a British citizen at the time of your birth
      • You’ve lived with your parent at least 3 years before applying
      • You and your parents have not been absent from UK for more than 270 days in the 3 year period before applying
    • You have a British parent who lived in the UK prior to your birth, as long as:
      • You are under 18
      • One of your parents was a British citizen at the time of your birth
      • Your parents must have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years prior to your birth and must not have been absent from the country for more than 270 days
      • Your British parent had a British mother or father who could pass on their citizenship to them
    • You were adopted outside the UK
    • Your father was a British citizen when you were born and your mother was married to someone else at the time
    • You were born in the UK and your father had indefinite leave to remain in the UK when you were born, and your mother was married to someone else at the time

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn more about British Citizenship by Descent Contact us

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      British Citizenship by Double Descent

      Overview

      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.

      Whether you are eligible for this route or not depends on when you were born.

      If you were born after 1st January 1983

      You may be able to apply for citizenship through this route if one of the following applies to you:

      • You had a grandfather who was born in the UK and who was in the Crown Service when your parents were born
      • You or one of your parents were born in a former British colony
      • One of your parents had a mother born in the UK but no British father and they were registered as a British citizen between 2nd February and 31st December 1982

      If you were before 1st January 1983

      You may be able to apply for citizenship through this route if one of the following applies to you:

      • You or one of your parents were born in a former British territory
      • You or one of your parents were registered as a British citizen
      • One of your parents was in Crown service at the time of your birth
      • Your parents married before 1949 (your father’s father must have been born in the UK)

      If you were born before 1949

      You may be able to apply for citizenship through this route if one of the following applies to you:

      • You and one of your parents were not in a Commonwealth country and you were born before 1915
      • You or one of your parents were born in a former British territory
      • You had a grandmother or mother who was married to a British man before 1949

      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.

      Requirements And Documents Needed For The Application

      You must meet 3 requirements in order to be eligible for British citizenship by descent.

      • You must prove your descent from a British citizen. This could be through your parent or, in some cases, your grandparent.
      • You should be of good character, which means having a clean criminal record and complying with UK laws.
      • You don’t usually need to meet residency requirements for citizenship by descent, but there may be specific requirements based on your circumstances.

      Below are the documents you will need to prepare for your application. Our lawyers at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can compile these documents in order and complete your application for you to ensure a successful result.

      • Birth Certificates for yourself and the British citizen from whom you’re claiming descent.
      • Marriage Certificates for your parents or grandparents
      • Proof of Descent, such as your parent’s or grandparent’s birth and marriage certificates.
      • Passport and Visa History
      • Proof of Good Character, provide police clearance certificates or similar documents from your country of residence.
      • Any Additional Documentation such as adoption papers or death certificates if applicable.
      • Application Forms which can be found on the UK government’s official website.
      • Proof of payment of the Application Fee
      • Language and Life in the UK Test (if applicable).

      How to Apply For British Citizenship By Descent

      If you aren’t automatically granted citizenship due to your lineage but qualify for registration, you can apply via the gov.uk website’s digital form.

      The specific form you need to fill out is determined by your birth date and your eligibility criteria. Postal applications are also an option, but they take significantly more time to process compared to digital submissions.

      You’ll also need to schedule a session at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center to capture your biometric data, such as your fingerprints and photo.

      Alongside your application, you must provide various supplemental documents to validate your qualification for citizenship via lineage. These documents can either be uploaded directly through the online platform or scanned during your UKVCAS appointment.

      If you automatically become a British citizen by descent, you don’t have to do anything extra. Optionally, you can apply for a British passport.

      If you’re not automatically a British citizen by descent, you can apply for it. Choose the right form based on your birth date:

      • Form MN1 if born on or after July 1, 2006
        Form UKF if born between 1983 and June 2006
        Form UKF if born before 1983 with a British father
        Form UKM if born before 1983 with a British mother

      After filling out the online form, you must:

      • Pay the application fee (if applicable, £1,500)
        Pay the citizenship ceremony fee (if applicable, £80)
        Pay the biometric fee (£19.20)
        Schedule an appointment at a UKVCAS centre to provide biometrics
        Upload or scan your supporting documents during the UKVCAS appointment

      If your application is approved and you’re above 18 years old, attending a ceremony to formally receive British citizenship is mandatory. This comes with an extra charge of £80.

      Note that not everyone needs to pay all fees dependant on your birth date.

      Our team of lawyers can help with your application. Contact us

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        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.

        Advice Package icon

        Advice Package

        Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

        Application Package icon

        Application Package

        Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

        Fast Track Package icon

        Fast Track Package

        Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

        Appeal Package icon

        Appeal Package

        Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

        Advice Package image

        The Advice Package

        During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Request the Advice Package
          Application Package image

          The Application Package

          With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Application Package
            Fast Track Package image

            The Fast Track Package

            Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Fast Track Package

              The Appeal Package

              By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Request the Appeal Package

                Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our professional services and to find out how we can help. Learn more

                  Request a call back from our immigration experts

                  Related pages for your continued reading.

                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  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.

                  British citizens are eligible to apply for a British passport. You need to complete and submit an online or paper passport application. An online application costs £88.50, and a paper application costs £100.

                  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.

                  Yes, you may be eligible for British citizenship and a passport if your grandfather was British.

                  You will need to prove your descent and meet certain conditions, and it is advisable to consult with legal experts in the UK such as Birmingham Immigration Lawyers for personalised guidance on your case.

                  If you acquire British citizenship through descent, you can stay in the UK indefinitely with the same rights as someone born there. You can also apply for a British passport through descent, enabling you to travel abroad as a British citizen freely. This citizenship grants you the ability to live, work, study, access public funds, and use the NHS without any charges.

                  As a British citizen, you can freely live in the UK without needing a visa, and there’s no time limit on how long you can stay. You can prove your right to live here using your passport or by applying for a Certificate of Entitlement, an official document confirming your permanent right to reside in the UK.

                  Another way to become a British citizen is by obtaining the UK Ancestry visa.

                  To be eligible for this visa, you need to have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or before March 31, 1922, in Ireland, or on a UK-registered ship or aircraft owned by the British government. According to the Home Office guidelines, you can apply for an Ancestry visa even if you or your parent were adopted, and it doesn’t matter if your parents or grandparents weren’t married. However, applying through step parents is not allowed.

                  If you get an Ancestry visa, you can stay in the UK for 5 years. After that period, you can either extend your visa or apply for ILR. Once you’ve had ILR for a year, you become eligible to apply for UK citizenship.

                  X