Personal Immigration

BRITISH CITIZENSHIP BY AUTOMATIC ACQUISITION

BRITISH CITIZENSHIP BY AUTOMATIC ACQUISITION

British nationality law provides that many people automatically acquire British citizenship by law without having to make any form of application. If you have British citizenship by Automatic Acquisition then you will have the right to enter and reside in the United Kingdom free of immigration restrictions.

What are the main eligibility requirements for British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition?

In order to qualify for British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition you will need to show that you are a British citizen by operation of law.

The most common ways to automatically acquire British citizenship by law are:

  • To have been born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth either your mother or your father was a British citizen or settled in the UK;
  • To have been born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth either your mother or your father was a British citizen otherwise than by descent; or
  • To have been born before 1 January 1983 and immediately before that date to have been a Citizen of the UK and Colonies with a right of abode in the United Kingdom.

What else do I need to know about British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition?

British nationality law can be complex. Your precise circumstances are different to those of every other person. This means, for example, that you may have a claim to British citizenship by Automatic Acquisition even if one or more of your siblings has not.

You will need to show that you were:

  • Born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and your mother or your father was settled in the UK at the time of your birth; or
  • Adopted in the UK as a child on or after 1 January 1983 and one of your adopters was a British citizen at the time of your adoption; or
  • Found abandoned as a new-born infant in the UK on or after 1 January 1983; or
  • Born in the UK on or after 13 January 2010 and your mother or father was a member of the armed forces; or
  • Born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and your mother or your father was a British citizen otherwise than by descent at the time of your birth; or
  • Born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth your mother or father was a British citizen serving outside the UK in a qualifying service having been recruited for that service in the UK; or
  • Adopted outside the UK as a child under a Convention adoption on or after 1 January 1983 and one of your adopters was a British citizen at the time of your adoption and the adopters were habitually resident in the UK at the time of your adoption; or
  • Born in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • Adopted in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • Naturalised as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • Registered as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • A Citizen of the UK and Colonies immediately before 1 January 1983 and were born to or adopted by a parent who at the time of your birth or adoption was a Citizen of the UK and Colonies by birth, adoption, naturalisation or registration in the UK; or
  • A Citizen of the UK and Colonies immediately before 1 January 1983 and at any time before then had been settled in the UK and at that time had been ordinarily resident in the UK for five years while a Citizen of the UK and Colonies; or
  • A Commonwealth citizen immediately before 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth or adoption your mother or father (or adoptive parent) was a Citizen of the UK and Colonies by birth in the UK.

The term ‘father’ has a specific definition in British nationality law and this definition has varied over time. It is therefore essential to confirm your precise circumstances as the person you consider to be your father may or may not be recognised as your father for the purposes of British nationality law.

British citizenship by descent is also defined in British nationality law. If you were born outside the UK it is essential to confirm the basis on which your parents acquired their British citizenship.

In relation to the above summary, the UK includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and from specific dates certain qualifying territories.

How our immigration barristers can help

Our immigration barristers have experience assisting with all types of nationality matters. Whether you are looking to apply for a first British passport for you or your child, or have recently been refused a British passport having held one throughout your life, our barristers will guide you through the complexities of British nationality law.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration and nationality advice to as part of a professional and friendly service.

WE CAN ALSO ASSIST WITH

  • Identifying alternative routes to British citizenship

    If you or your family members have not automatically acquired British citizenship, our immigration and nationality barristers can help identify alternative routes to citizenship, including Citizenship by Registration and Citizenship by Naturalisation.

  • Fresh applications and Judicial reviews in relation to applications for British passports

    If your application for a British passport has been refused, or your British passport has been cancelled, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of making a fresh application or challenging the decision.

    If the decision is unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can apply for Judicial Review and provide representation at Judicial Review hearings.

  • Passport-related criminal proceedings

    Making a false statement in order to obtain a British passport may be a criminal offence. If it transpires that you are not a British citizen, any passport issued may be cancelled or otherwise withdrawn. We can provide expert advice on your entitlement to British citizenship.

WHAT CAN WE HELP YOU WITH?

To arrange an initial consultation meeting with one of our specialist nationality barristers, contact our British citizenship team on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form.

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