United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Descent (British Parents)
You are eligible for British Citizenship by Descent (and what we would term a STANDARD route to British Citizenship) if you were born legitimately* to a parent who:
- was born in the UK before 1 Jan 1983;
- was born in the UK after 31 Dec 1982 and was British at the time of your birth; OR
- naturalised as a British citizen before your birth.
In such situations, the parent is considered as being British Other than by Descent, and passes British Citizenship to their children.
* The issue of birth out of wedlock only arises if the parent in question is the father. See "Birth out of Wedlock" below.
NON STANDARD ROUTE
If either parent does not fall fall within the definitions above, your position becomes more complex. If either parent was British at the time of your birth and they were not born in the UK, then:
- If their father (your grandfather) was born in the UK (and your parent was born in wedlock), then your parent was (almost certainly) British by Descent at the time of your birth. It is unlikely (though there are exceptions) that they could pass on British nationality rights to their children.
- If their father (your grandfather) was a) born in the UK (and your parent was born out of wedlock) or b) born outside of the UK, then the position is much more complex. An anlysis of your parent's British nationality status must be undertaken in order to determine whether British nationality rights passed down to their children.
BIRTH OUT OF WEDLOCK
If your parents weren't married at the time of your birth, or only married after your birth, the situation is more complicated. As a general rule:
- if you were born AFTER 1 July 2006 to a British parent (defined above), then you would have been born a British citizen by law through both parents and can apply for your British passport;
- if you were born AFTER 31 December 1982 but before 1 July 2006 to a British parent (defined above), then you would have been born a British citizen by law through your mother (not your father) and can apply for your British passport;
- if you were born before 1 January 1983 to a British parent (defined above), then an application to register as a British could be made through your mother.
RENUNCIATION AND RESUMPTION
If you have renounced your British nationality, it is possible to resume it again (but you can only do so once). Your right to resumption will depend on the right that you have to British nationality had you never renounced in the first place, as well as the circumstances of the renunciation.
This is often a complex situation, and we strongly advise that you seek specialist advice.
If you have spent (or can spend in the future) at least 3 consecutive years in the UK (this can be reduced to nearer 2 years and 3 months in some cases), then a child born to you can be registered as a British citizen, as long as:
- you are British at the time of your child's registration; AND
- your child is under 18.