United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Descent (Consular Registration)

An overriding principle in the way that the Home Office must calculate claims to British Nationality is that the best status possible must be given to applicants. The way in which British Citizenship is acquired will determine whether the next generation born overseas will also qualify for citizenship and so the method of acquisition is key.

Where an applicant has acquired British Citizenship using one method which, over the passage of time, has resulted in the next generation missing out on Citizenship and an alternative, superior method was available at the time, there is an argument that the Home Office should have altered the application to give the superior result.

It is not impossible that Consular birth registration was not the best option for those seeking British Nationality in the latter half of the 1970’s and early 1980’s and therefore the children of such persons, if presently under the age of 18, could potentially seek a remedy from the Home Office now in terms of being granted British Citizenship.

This provision affects the children (under the age of 18) of a parent whose birth was registered at the British Consulate in South Africa in the lead up years to the British Nationality Act 1981 taking effect. For some time, it has been thought that persons whose births were registered at the British Consulates would be unable to pass their British Nationality to their children.

A key requirement for a successful application is that the parent's consular registration must have taken place between 7 February 1979 and 31 December 1982.

A person registered in this way would have had a father who was a British by Descent, as British Nationality could only pass from father to child in the years before 1983. However, because of the changes to the anti-discrimination legislation that were proposed in the years before 1 January 1983, those with a UK-born mother could have, in certain circumstances, registered their children.

This opinion relies on construance and the view that the incorrect advice was given by the Consulate, so is considered a Non-Standard route to British Nationality. Such concepts require a detailed working knowledge of the rules issued to Home Office staff at the time and are only considered by our team when instructions are given for a status trace.


Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth.

WhatPassport.com is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.