Personal Immigration

New nationality provisions in the Immigration Act 2014

Although much of the Immigration Act 2014 (‘the 2014 Act’) deliberately makes the lives of people in the UK much more difficult (including those of British citizens, not “just” migrants and their families) there are some helpful provisions – in particular, new provisions enabling people born to unmarried British citizen fathers before 1 July 2006 to register as British citizens.

Background

As indicated in previous articles, British nationality is based on a combination of two factors: birth in a relevant territory (jus soli) and birth to a relevant parent (jus sanguinis). The precise combination of these factors has altered over time, from pure jus soli (anyone born in the UK was British by birth and no one born outside the UK could be British by birth, irrespective of their parents’ status) to a mix of jus soli and jus sanguinis. Historically, only a married father could be a relevant parent; from 1 January 1983 both mothers and fathers could be relevant parents – however until 1 July 2006 the father still had to be married. From that date unmarried fathers could pass on their British citizenship too – subject to other relevant requirements being met. As a result many people are not currently British even though they have a British father. Whilst those people are still not British many of them now have a right to be registered as British.

The 2014 Act amends the British Nationality Act 1981 (“the 1981 Act”), which is the primary legislation governing British nationality.

The new provisions

In order to benefit from the new provisions you will first have to meet the following “general conditions”:

  1. You were born before 1 July 2006; and
  2. At the time of your birth your mother was not married (or was married to someone other than your father); and
  3. No person is treated as your father under section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (regarding IVF treatment); and
  4. You have never been a British citizen.

If you do meet all of these conditions (and you may not satisfy them if, for example, your parents subsequently married) then the new Act may assist you if you also meet any of the following criteria:

  1. You were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and would have been entitled to be registered as a British citizen at a later date as one of your parents became a British citizen or settled in the UKhad your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth; or
  2. You were born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and would have been entitled to be registered as a British citizen on the basis that one of your parents was a British citizen by descent and had been in the UK for a period of three years before your birth, had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth; or
  3. You were born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and would have been entitled to be registered as a British citizen on the basis that one of your parents was a British citizen by descent and you, your mother and father had all been in the UK together for a period of three years after your birth, had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth; or
  4. You would have been entitled to be registered as a British citizen under certain provisions relating to the prevention of statelessness, had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth; or
  5. At any time on or after 1 January 1983 you would have automatically become a British citizen at birth, e.g. through birth in the United Kingdom or Falkland Islands, had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth (please note: this specifically excludes everyone born before 1 January 1983); or
  6. You were a citizen of the UK and Colonies immediately before 1 January 1983 and you would have automatically become a British citizen when the 1981 Act came into force had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth; or
  7. You ceased to be a British subject or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies as a result of independence legislation but would not have ceased to be such a subject or citizen had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth (this potentially assists nationals of Commonwealth countries born before independence of the relevant country); or
  8. You were a British subject who did not automatically become a citizen of the UK and Colonies at the commencement of the British Nationality Act 1948 but would have done so had your mother been married to your father at the time of your birth (this potentially assists anyone born in the British dominions before 1 January 1949; or
  9. Never having been a British subject or citizen of the UK and Colonies, you would have automatically become such a person, had your mother been married to your father, either at birth or on your father becoming a British subject or citizen of the UK and Colonies (this potentially assists anyone born anywhere in the rest of the world before 1 January 1983).

If you do meet the general conditions and one of the above supplementary provisions it will then be necessary for the Secretary of State to be satisfied that you are of good character unless you are under the age of 10 at the date of application.

Whether these provisions are of any assistance in a particular case will need careful analysis – and as ever will be subject to relevant evidence to demonstrate the relevant facts. The independence legislation regarding previous UK colonies can be complex and differs from colony to colony. Given the potential for erroneous claims to be made (whether by way of claiming a false factual basis or by way of error regarding the relevant nationality law) the Home Office can be expected to scrutinise any application (which would have to be supported by credible evidence of any relevant facts) very closely before registering anyone under these provisions.

Contact Us

If you would like advice regarding a potential application for registration as a British citizen please contact our nationality immigration barristers in London.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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