United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - NEW - British Citizenship by Discretion (Marriage pre 1983 Wife)
The UK Government entered into a treaty with the United Nations some years ago to enshrine equal rights for women, and to treat men and women equally. While the UK has passed legislation to allow such claims, the Home Office has interpreted this legislation in relation to marriage as still being from a man to a woman and not the other way round. So the existing stance of the UK Government therefore did not fully address gender discrimination in relation to citizenship applications.
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.
Philip Gamble, founder and our Senior Partner and widely regarded as the world's leading British nationality expert on the subject, made representations to the Parliamentary sub-committee that looked into this issue. The new legislation 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 - a wife would (or could) have British nationality in the modern day. Based on your family tree, it appears that such an application would be successful based on her marriage to a British man. While the theory is complex, this solution broadly requires the following:
- Date of marriage before 1983; AND
- Husband's mother (i.e. the wife's mother-in-law) born in the UK, or the husband´s grandparent (either of his grandmothers or the maternal grandfather) born in the UK. If the husband was not, or could not have been, a British citizen on 1 January 1983, then this would not meet the requirement of this solution.
PLEASE NOTE (1): If such an applicant has any children under the age of 18, then these children could be registered as British citizens.
PLEASE NOTE (2): WHILE WE THINK THAT THE NEW LEGISLATION PASSED IN APRIL 2022 TO REMEDY GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN THE OLD LAW APPLIES IN YOUR SITUATION, THE HOME OFFICE HAVE ADVISED US THAT THEY DISAGREE. WE ARE ENGAGING WITH THE HOME OFFICE AND HOPE TO GET A CHANGE IN THEIR DECISION. AS A RESULT, AND IN LIGHT OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, AN APPLICATION TO THE HOME OFFICE WILL PROBABLY FAIL. WE THEREFORE ADVISE YOU NOT TO MAKE AN APPLICATION AND TO WAIT UNTIL A FINAL DECISION HAS BEEN TAKEN. WE WILL ALERT YOU (BY EMAIL AND TEXT) WHEN FURTHER INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.