British Citizenship by Descent
We cover five scenarios:
- A parent born in the UK before 1 Jan 1983*
- A parent born in the UK after 1 Jan 1983
- A British parent born outside of the UK
- A parent naturalised in the UK before your birth
- Children under 18 with a British parent
A parent born in the UK before 1 Jan 1983*
You are eligible for British Citizenship by Descent (and what we would term a STANDARD route to British Citizenship) if you were born to a parent* (a father or mother) who was born in the UK before 1 Jan 1983. In such situations, the relevant parent is considered as being British Other than by Descent, and can pass British Citizenship to their children. Read More
A parent born in the UK after 1 Jan 1983*
An analysis of the circumstances of your parent's birth must be undertaken, along with the status of their parents (i.e. your grandparents at the time of birth. Read More
A British parent born outside of the UK*
An analysis of HOW your parent became British must be done. There are several circumstances where this parent could have been classified as British Otherwise Than By Descent, with the ability to pass British Citizenship to their children. We suggest you try our online Nationality Assessment.
A parent naturalised in the UK before your birth*
You are eligible for British Citizenship by Descent (and what we would term a STANDARD route to British Citizenship) if you were born to a parent* (a father or mother) who was naturalised in the UK before your birth. In such situations, the relevant parent is considered as being British Other than by Descent, and can pass British Citizenship to their children. Apply Now
Children under 18 with a British parent*
Other than the Standard routes to British Citizenship set out above, there are other provisions allowing children under the age of 18 of a British parent to claim British Citizenship. These are generally covered by the following situations:
- A British parent has spent at least 3 years in the UK in the past - read more
- A British parent spends at least 3 years in the UK in the future, as long as the child is still under 18 at the time of application - read more
- A British parent gives birth to a child who is "Stateless" at the time of birth (in other words, the child does not automatically take on the citizenship of their country of birth or a parents' nationality) - read more
- A British parent is in long-term employment with a UK-domiciled company, but working outside of the UK - read more
- A discretionary registration in exceptional cases (sporting excellence, for example).
Again, there are many MORE SOLUTIONS where children under 18 could qualify, and these require a case-by-case analysis of the circumstances.
* Exceptions to the rules above
It gets more complicated if:
Given the complexities of British nationality legislation, and because we handle hundreds of complex enquiries every day, we have developed a simple 4 STEP PROCESS as the most effective way of giving you the answer you’re looking for.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 1: Standard vs Non-Standard. Determine whether you have a Standard claim to British Citizenship. You have a Standard claim if you were born in the UK before 1983, a parent was Naturalised before your birth, or you have a parent born in the UK before 1983 (provided that your parents were married at the time of your birth). All other claims are considered Non-Standard.
- Step 2: Nationality Assessment: If you do NOT have a Standard Route (as determined in Step 1 above), complete our FREE on-line Nationality Assessment. Your input is filtered against the criteria of hundreds of Non-Standard British Citizenship solutions that we know of. Your Results Page - the final page on the assessment - will set out all your possible solutions.
- Step 3: British Passport Review. From your Results Page (reached in Step 2), you can instruct Philip Gamble (our founder and senior partner, and widely regarded as the world's leading expert on the subject) to review your family tree that you create in Step 2. By ordering this FREE review, you are asking Philip for his opinion on your chances of claiming UK Citizenship. Philip will respond by email with a Definite, Likely, Possible, Unlikely or Remote answer.
- Step 4: Status Trace. You instruct Philip Gamble and his team of specialists in London to review copies of your family documents and research your rights to British Citizenship. After searching for any possible way in which you can qualify, they will write a detailed Nationality Report, giving you a Yes/No answer. A fee of £350 applies.
What should I do NOW?
To avoid incurring unnecessary research or application fees at this point, we ask you to complete Steps 2 and 3 by:
- Completing our FREE online Nationality Assessment
- Ordering our FREE British Passport Review
You will receive a series of emails, setting out clearly the solutions that you appear to qualify for, as well as Philip’s response to your British Passport Review. Once you have completed these two steps, we will contact you by phone or email to discuss your nationality situation and talk through what should happen next. This may involve advising you to instruct our team of British Citizenship specialists to look into your case further to provide a definitive answer (Step 4).
We set out below the criteria and requirements to qualify for British Citizenship by Descent and to hold a British Passport by Descent - that is, qualifying through a British parent.
British Citizenship by Descent is based on birth outside of the United Kingdom to a parent (mother or father) who is British or was born in the UK. Your date of Birth and the status of your parent is crucial in determining whether that parent can pass British Citizenship to you. As a general rule, you qualify for British Citizenship if a parent was British Other Than by Descent at the time of your birth.
British Citizens (i.e. those who hold full British Citizenship and the right to carry a British Passport) can be divided into two categories:
- British by Descent
- British Other Than by Descent
For more information on how British Citizenship could be acquired by Descent from a British Parent, then watch this short video by Philip Gamble:
Click here for more general rules on:
British Citizenship by Descent
UK Citizenship by Descent
Descent British Citizenship