British Citizenship Application: checking for automatic claims!

Checking if Certificate of Naturalisation is Necessary?During 2017 nearly 600 applications for British naturalisation either withdrew or refused as the applicant was deemed to be “British already”. Perhaps, this is a recurring patron and every year quite a few naturalisation applications are withdrawn or refused for the same reason. Therefore, this post explains consideration processing to check for automatic claims and entitlements under Section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981. Moreover, the second section of the post explains the details of the available routes for getting British Citizenship automatically.

Checking for automatic claims and entitlements under Section 6

During the consideration process, the Home Office checks whether or not an applicant is already a British Citizen. Moreover, the Home Office evaluates the applications for automatic claims and entitlements, whereby the grant of Certificate of Naturalisation is not necessary

When a certificate of naturalisation is not necessary?

A certificate of naturalisation is not granted to a person who is either already a British Citizen or who has an entitlement to British citizenship under another provision of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Checking a British Citizenship Application for an automatic claim

If there is nothing in the papers to suggest that the applicant is already a British citizen the application is not further investigated by the assessing officer.

If during the assessment process, it transpires that an applicant has an automatic claim to British citizenship, then the Home Office writes to the applicant and apprise/inform the applicant accordingly, usually by explaining that naturalisation is not necessary. According, the Home Office also makes necessary arrangements for the refund of the application fee.

Checking Citizenship Application for Automatic Entitlements

If the applicant is not already a British citizen, then he/she may still have an entitlement to be registered as a British citizen under:

  • section 1(4), if born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983;
  • section 4, if a British overseas territories citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under the act or a British protected person;
  • section 4B, if a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under the act or a British protected person;
  • section 4C if born before 1983 to a Citizen of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) mother;
  • section 5, if a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Gibraltar;
  • section 10, if the applicant was a CUKC who renounced that status before 1 January 1983;
  • section 13, if the applicant was a British citizen who renounced that status;
  • paragraph 3 of schedule 2, if born stateless in the UK or a British overseas territory on or after 1 January 1983;
  • paragraph 4 of schedule 2, if born stateless outside the UK and the British overseas territories on or after 1 January 1983;
  • paragraph 5 of schedule 2, if born stateless before 1 January 1983

If the applicant is entitled to registration as a British citizen, the Home Office writes to the applicant and explains/informs accordingly. Moreover, if the Home Office deems appropriate, refunds the excess fee.

Available Routes for Getting British Citizenship Automatically

One may automatically qualify as a British citizen, depending on where he/she was born, when he/she was born and circumstances of the individual parents.

Person Born before Jan 1, 1983

If a person is born before 1 January 1983, in qualifying British overseas territories, except the sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri (in Cyprus) then in most of the cases the person is a British citizen. However, there are a couple of limitations that the may not be British citizen:

  • if the individual’s father was a diplomat working for a non-UK country
  • if the individual’s father was ‘an enemy alien in occupation’ – this only applies to people born in the Channel Islands during World War II

Citizen of UK and Colonies on 31 December 1982 with the right of abode in the UK

A person may have been a UK and Colonies citizen if he/she were born before 1983 in a country that was a UK colony at the time, or if the person had a connection with a colony through his/her father. The person may have lost that status if the country later became independent.

Right of abode means you have the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. If this information is shown in the passport then in most cases the person is a British citizen. The only exception is if the person’s mother didn’t become a British citizen on 1 January 1983 and the person had the right of abode because he/she was registered under the British Nationality (No 2) Act 1964. If the information is not shown in the passport then the person is not a British Citizen and might be able to become a British citizen through naturalisation.

Person Born on or after Jan 1, 1983

If a person is born on or after 1 January 1983, in qualifying British overseas territories, except the sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri (in Cyprus) and when the person was born, one of his/her parents a British citizen or legally settled in the UK than in most of the cases, the person might be a British citizen and there is no need to register or naturalise, and the person can live in the UK and get a British passport.  ‘Legally settled’ means the parents had the right to live permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’).

However, such a person won’t be a British citizen through his/her father if all the following apply:

  1. the person was born before 1 July 2006
  2. the person’s parents weren’t married when he/she was born and haven’t married since
  3. the country of person’s father considered his permanent home when the person was born distinguished between children of married and unmarried parents – if the person is not sure then is required to check with the country in which he/she was born

British Citizenship by Descent

If a person is not born in qualifying British overseas territories on or after 1 January 1983,  and when the person was born, either one or both parents a British citizen ‘not by descent‘ then in most cases the person is a British citizen ‘by descent’.  The person does not need to register or naturalise and can live in the UK and get a British passport. ‘Not by descent’ means that:

  • the parent’s gained British citizenship in their own right (and not through their parents or grandparents)
  • they were able to pass their British citizenship on to their children

A person is a citizen ‘by descent’ if all the following apply:

  1. the person was born outside of the UK
  2. one or both of the parents were British citizens at the time of the birth

However, the person’s children will not automatically become British citizens.

A Person Wil Not be a British Citizen ‘by descent’

A person won’t be a British citizen ‘by descent’ through his/her father if all the following apply:

  1. the person was born before 1 July 2006
  2. the parents weren’t married when the person was born and haven’t married since
  3. the country of the person’s father considered his permanent home when the person was born distinguished between children of married and unmarried parents

In this case, you might still be able to register as a British citizen.

Moreover, a person will not be a British citizen ‘not by descent’ if, when he/she was born, one of the parents was a British citizen in Crown service, designated service or service of a European Community (EC) institution.

This means the person can pass on his/her British citizenship to his/her children.

The person’s parent must have been recruited to their service in the UK or EC (if they were serving with an EC institution).

Children born on or after 21 May 2002 also qualify if their parent was recruited in British overseas territories, except the sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (in Cyprus).

Neither Parents a British Citizen ‘not by descent’

If a person is not born in qualifying British overseas territories on or after 1 January 1983,  and when the person was born, neither of the parents a British citizen ‘not by descent then the person is probably not a British citizen. 

In some cases, such an individual might be able to register as a British citizen if he/she is under 18 years of age. If the person is 18 or over then the person can only become a British citizen through naturalisation.

Such person can only be a British citizen if, when the person was born, one of the parents was a British citizen in Crown service, designated service or service of a European Community (EC) institution.

In this case, the person will be a British citizen ‘not by descent’ and can pass British citizenship on to his/her children.

The person’s parent must have been recruited to their service in the UK or EC (if they were serving with an EC institution).

Children born on or after 21 May 2002 also qualify if their parent was recruited in British overseas territories, except the sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (in Cyprus).

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Related: Requirements to Naturalise as a British Citizen u/s 6 of 1981 ActTypes of British Citizenship, Naturalisation and Registration Grants, and British Nationality Act 1981