United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Double Descent (UKM Colony CBR pre 1983)

Legislation was passed in 2002 to address the unfairness that those born before 1 January 1983 to British mothers could not acquire British Nationality. However, elements of gender discrimination still existed. Those who were born to a British mother who was not born in the UK could not take advantage of the various double descent provisions of the earlier law that were available to those born to a British man. A recent Supreme Court Judgement in the UK has made it clear that it is unlawful for the UK Government to impose a requirement from the past on new applicants for citizenship where it was not lawfully possible for that requirement to be met at the time.

That's the theory, anyway. In practical terms (though there are circumstances where these won't apply), this should benefit those in the following situation:

 a) born in a foreign country (which includes South Africa from 31 May 1962, the United States and most European countries);

 b) born between 1 January 1949 and 31 December 1982;

 c) their maternal grandfather (i.e. their mother's father) was born in a former British Colony; AND

 d) has the Right of Abode through a UK-born grandparent (or a woman married to a British man before 1983).

The circumstances become more complicated if you or your mother were born out of wedlock. Also, if your circumstances fall outside of the context of the Court Judgement, then this may invalidate a potential claim. Finally, the applicant's mother must have not suffered from the Automatic Loss provisions enacted upon Independence or reclassification of the Colony.

The judgement has already attracted some criticism and no doubt the Home Office will look at how they respond to this development. It is possible that this particular route to British nationality could be legislated against. It is therefore our advice that, if you qualify for this route to British nationality, you action this as soon as possible.

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

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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.