United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Double Descent (1979 Home Secretary)
This anomaly is a rare example when British Nationality could be passed from a UK-born grandmother down two generations to her grandchildren. The solution requires the following set of circumstances:
- the applicant born after 01.01.1983
- the relevant parent (a mother or father) born outside of the UK between 07.02.1961 and 01.01.1983
- the relevant parent was registered as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) - what is now considered as a British Citizen - as a child (i.e. before they turned 18) in the period between 07.02.1979 and 31.12.1982;
- the MOTHER of the parent in question (i.e. the relevant Grandmother of the applicant) must have been born in the United Kingdom (which includes Northern Ireland); AND
- the FATHER of the parent in question (i.e. the relevant Grandfather of the applicant) must have been born outside of the United Kingdom.
This solution relies on the fact that Merlyn Rees, the British Home Secretary at the time, announced in Parliament on 7 February 1979 that children born to a UK-born mother could be registered at the discretion of the Home Secretary and in advance of the 1981 Nationality Act coming into force. An unintended consequence of such a registration was that the parent was classified as being British otherwise than by descent, with the ability to pass British nationality to their children.
So the key question is when the parent was registered as a British citizen. If it occurred after 31.12.1982, then the relevant parent became British by descent, without the ability to pass British nationality to their children (though there are other exceptions). However, if it took place before 01.01.1983, then there is a stong possibility that the parent became British otherwise than by descent, with the ability to pass British nationality to their children.