United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Discretion (Birth in the UK)
The UK Government entered into a treaty with the United Nations some years ago to enshrine equal rights for women. Included in the Treaty is the right for their children (and potentially, their grandchildren) to acquire her citizenship on the same terms as if such a right had come down the paternal side of the family.
It was only in 1983 that the issue of gender discrimination in British nationality law was addressed for the first time. However, there remained many areas in the law that were not taken into account, and several further changes have been made in the years since 1983 to remedy these. But the complexities of the old laws, and the legacy of the British colonial empire, meant that instances of unfairness still remain today. While the UK has passed legislation to allow such claims, the Home Office has interpreted this legislation in relation to making claims to British Nationality by descent to be effective only for those born in the first generation. The existing stance of the UK Government therefore did not fully address gender discrimination in relation to citizenship applications.
Philip Gamble, founder and our Senior Partner and widely regarded as the world's leading British nationality expert on the subject, has made representations to the Parliamentary sub-committee that is looking into this issue. The draft legislation that he has seen appears to properly address the unfairness of the older law. Accordingly, it should be possible to lodge an application if one can demonstrate that - had it not been for gender discrimination in the old law - an applicant would (or could) have British nationality in the modern day. Based on your family tree, it appears that such an application would be successful. While the theory is complex, this solution broadly requires one of the following two scenarios:
- Applicant born in the UK
- Applicant born after 1982
- Applicant's parent born before 1983
- The mother (but not the father) of the applicant's parent born in the UK
- Applicant's parent born in a qualifying country
- Applicant's parent born between 1 January 1949 and 31 December 1987
- One of the parent's maternal grandparents (or the parent's paternal grandmother - but not the paternal grandfather) born in the UK
PLEASE NOTE: We expect this change to only become law in the latter part of 2021 or early 2022. However, we will be taking on cases now on a strictly first-come, first-serve basis in anticipation of the change in law. This is because we will include a formal assessment of the applicant's nationality status and an opinion on the likely success of the application, as well as setting out the documents that the home Office will require.