British Nationality and Right to Abode

British National

  • A British National or a person with the right of abode is entitled to enter the UK without any immigration control. Such a person cannot be removed and deported and can enter whenever he/she likes without any questions asked.

People Born in the UK before 1983

  • A person is a British National if he was born in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983 or up to and including 31st December 1982)

People Born before 1983 but Outside the UK

A person will also be a British national who was born outside the UK before 1983, and

  1. His/her father was born in the UK; or
  2. His/her father was registered or naturalised as a British citizen in the UK before the child’s birth, and
  3. His parents were married, or subsequently, married in a country which recognises such marriage and legitimises the child

Important

  1. If the father became a British National after the birth of the child then this will not make a child British who was born before the father’s naturalisation as a British Citizen
  2. A father could only pass on his British nationality acquired in the UK to his legitimate child before 1983
  3. A mother before 1983 could not pass on her British Nationality /citizenship to any child born outside the United Kingdom.

However, Home Office allowed such a child to be registered as a British citizen during the childhood or adulthood of the child

Examples

  1. John was born in 1956, in the UK, he is a British National. In 1972 John travelled to Singapore and married Sue, who is not a British National. In 1975, they had a baby girl Jasmin born in Singapore. Jasmin is automatically a British National as she acquires her British Nationality through her father
  2. John was born in 1956, in the UK, he is a British National. In 1972 John Travelled to Singapore and started a relationship with Sue, who is not a British National. In 1975, they had a baby girl Jasmin born in Singapore. John and Sue are not married. Jasmin will not acquire British Nationality as the law only considers a married couple.
  3. Stacy was born in 1961 in the UK, she is a British National. In 1974 Stacy moved to Canada and married Paul, who is not a British National. In 1977, they had a baby girl Lilly born in Canada. Stacy cannot pass her British Citizenship to Lilly. However, Lilly could have applied to register herself as a British National while she was a child or as an adult.

People Born in the UK after 1982

A person will be treated as a British Citizen if he/she was born in the UK after 1982 (from and including 1 January 1983) and at the time of his/her birth either of his parents were

  • British Citizen, or
  • Settled Person in the UK (Please refer to Settled Person)

People Born outside the UK after 1982

A person will be treated as a British Citizen if he/she was born outside the UK after 1982 (from and including 1 January 1983) and at the time of his/her birth

  • Either the father or mother was a British National otherwise than by descent by birth in the UK (please refer below for further clarification)

OR

  • The father or mother was a British National/citizen otherwise than by descent, having been registered or naturalised as British Citizen in the UK before the birth of a Child

 If either a child’s mother or father acquires British Citizenship after the birth of the child, this does not make the child automatically a British Citizen. The child has to register with Home Office and will have to apply for citizenship

Important

WHO is a Father

A father is a person proven by the production of either a birth certificate which identifies him as father and which is issued by a competent authority, within 12 months of the birth of the child to which it claims to be a father.

OR

A person who provides evidence (DNA test report or Court Order) that he/she is the biological father.

Status of an Illegitimate Child

  • Where an illegitimate child is born in the UK on or after 1st July 2006 is a British Citizen if his Father was either a British National or Settled person at that time.
  • If a child is born in the UK before 1 July 2006 and his/her father was either a British National or Settled person at that time, such person can apply to Home Office to register as a British citizen, which is at the discretion of Home Office.
  • Where an illegitimate child is born outside the UK on or after 1st July 2006 will be a British Citizen if such person’s father was a British National otherwise than descent or was a register or naturalised as a British Citizen.

British Citizenship Otherwise by Decent

Where a person acquires British citizenship by birth in the UK or as a child by registration in the UK or as an Adult by naturalisation in the UK, such person is classified as a British Citizen otherwise than by descent

Impact

The practical effect it may have is that such person can automatically pass on British Citizenship to his child who is born Outside the UK

British Citizens by Decent

These are the people who are Born Outside the United Kingdom and acquired British Citizenship by reason of the fact that one or both of their parents is a British Citizen.

Impact

The practical effect it may have is that such person cannot automatically pass on British Citizenship to his child who is born Outside UK. It is important to know that some second-generation children can be registered abroad at the British Consulate as British Citizens by further fulfilling conditions. It is a complex area of immigration law, please consult legalally’s experienced Immigration Lawyers for further advice if you are a second-generation child.

Registration as a British Citizen

A child can apply to register as a British Citizen if he was born in the UK after 1982 or after his birth and before attaining the age of 18 years

One of his parents acquired British citizenship or settled status in the UK

OR

Such child remains in the UK for first 10 years of his life and he/she is not absent for more than 90 days in each year during these 10 years, however, certain exceptions do apply to this general rule please consult legalally’s experience lawyers for further advice

Naturalisation

  • Naturalisation is a process which allows a foreign national adult who has a settled status to acquire British citizenship.
  • The Home Secretary has the discretion to grant a certificate to a person who is not a British National
  • The grant of British Citizenship is not fundamental Human right; however, every applicant has a right to have an application considered fairly
  • The requirements to obtain a British Citizenship are slightly different for a foreign national who is married to a British citizen or settled

Requirements for naturalisation (Married)

if married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen

  1. The applicant must be settled at the time of application
  2. Must have been living in the UK for 3 years continuously before applying for naturalisation
  3. Must also be physically present in the UK on the date three years before the application is made
  4. Must not be absent for more than 270 days in total during these qualifying three years and the applicant should also not have spent more than 90 days outside from the UK in the year immediately before the application
  5. Home office may disregard 30 extra days when counting 270 days and 10 extra days when counting for 90 days in the preceding year
  6. The applicant must also have sufficient knowledge of the English language and knowledge of life in the UK
  7. The applicant must also be of a good character. The applicant must disclose all criminal convictions both inside and outside the United Kingdom including Motoring or Road Traffic Offences

English Language Requirement

An applicant can demonstrate the English language requirements by

  • Possessing a Home Office approved qualification or by passing a specific language test from a Home Office approved test centre/college
  • Possessing a Degree which is in line with the guidance of Home office
  • Or by satisfying that the applicant belonged to a majority English speaking country
  • Or the applicant has already met the requirement when he/she has made an earlier, successful application for indefinite leave to remain

Life in the UK

An applicant can prove knowledge about life in the UK by passing the test commonly referred and known as Life in UK Test.

Criminality Requirement

Sentence

Impact on Application

4 or more years imprisonment

Application will be refused irrespective of when the conviction occurred

Imprisonment of more than 12 months and less than 4 Years

Application will be refused unless 15 years have been passed since the end of the sentence

Up to 12 months’ Imprisonment

Application will be refused unless 7 years have been passed since the end of the sentence

Non- Custodial Sentence

The application will be refused if the conviction occurred in the last 3 years. An applicant has to wait for at least three years from the date of conviction

Requirements for naturalisation (non-married)

Where the applicant is neither married to nor in a civil partnership with a British citizen for such applicant the requirements are following

  • The applicant must have settled in the UK for at least one year before applying for naturalisation
  • Must have been living in the UK legally for 5 continuous years before applying for naturalisation.
  • Must also be physically present in the UK on the date 5 years before the application is received by Home office
  • Must not be absent for more than 450 days in total during these qualifying 5 years and applicant should also not have spent more than 90 days in the year immediately before the application
  • The applicant must also have sufficient knowledge of the English language and knowledge of life in the UK
  • The applicant must also be of a good character. The applicant must disclose all criminal convictions both inside and outside the United Kingdom including Motoring or Road Traffic Offences
  • Must also have an intention to live in the United Kingdom

Cancellation/Termination of Citizenship

Home Secretary has the power to cancel or terminate the citizenship of a person who has acquired British Citizenship through naturalisation or by registration, if such a person is involved in the prohibited activities. These include cases which involve National Security, Terrorism, Serious Organised Crime, War Crimes, etc.

Important

Citizenship is a complex area of immigration law. For further information and advice, you can ask the legalally’s experienced Immigration lawyer.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.