Can I apply for British nationality on the basis of being born to a British mother?

The British Nationality Act 1981 (“the 1981 Act”) was introduced to cater for applications for British nationality for those individuals who were not eligible to apply under the old legislation. Prior to the 1981 Act, there was a large class of people who did not have the right to apply for British nationality despite being born to a British parent. Prior to 1 January 1983 children born outside the United Kingdom to British mothers were not eligible to apply for British nationality.

Historic background to British nationality applications

Prior to 1 January 1983 British women were not able to pass on British citizenship to their children who were born outside the United Kingdom. However, the position of British fathers was very different as they were able to pass on British citizenship to their children regardless of where their children were born. This position under the law was incredibly discriminatory and was protested against by many social activists in the early 1980’s. In response to the criticism, a provision was introduced under the 1981 Act whereby children of British mothers could apply for British nationality under Section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981. Applications submitted under Section 4C will now be treated the same way as they would have if women had been able to pass on citizenship in the same way as men.

Who can apply for British nationality under Section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981?

Section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows children of British mothers to apply for British nationality if they were born before 1 January 1983. You may be eligible to submit a British nationality application if you can meet the following requirements:

  • You were born before 1 January 1983;
  • You would have become a British citizen under Section 5 or Schedule 3 of the British Nationality Act 1928 if those provisions allowed women to pass on nationality the same way as men; or
  • You would have become a British citizen under Section 12 of the British Nationality Act 1948 if those provisions allowed women to pass on nationality the same way as men;
  • You would have had the right of abode in the United Kingdom under section 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 (as per the two bullet points above); and
  • You can demonstrate good character.

It is important to note that in British nationality applications there is no statutory definition of good character. Therefore it is important sufficient evidence and documentation is provided to the Home Office to meet this requirement. Those wishing to apply for British Registration should consult with a member of our expert immigration team so we can consider the eligibility criteria and explore whether the requirements can be met.

Will my British nationality application be successful?

Our immigration team has a proven track record of submitting successful British nationality applications under Section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981. The key to submitting a successful application is understanding the wording of the 1981 Act and being familiar with the Home Office internal Policy Guidance. It may be the case where you are eligible for British nationality but your applications is refused on the basis of a lack of documentary evidence being submitted with the application. All our applications are prepared to the highest level ensuring that they are given the best chance of success and are processed without delays. Further, every application we submit is tailored to an individual’s circumstances and detailed legal representations accompany the application assisting the Home Office caseworker in making a decision. Whilst we cannot influence a decision we can assist a caseworker to understand the basis of an application and submit strong submissions in our legal representations to why an application should be granted.

We understand that in some circumstances obtaining the requisite evidence can become a major obstacle in submitting a strong application. Especially in circumstances where the British mother has passed or where the whereabouts of the mother are unknown. In these circumstances, our immigration team has the expertise to advise on how to overcome these barriers.

Using Legal Representation to submit a successful British nationality application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a British nationality application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject British nationality applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your British nationality application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully submit a British nationality application

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a British nationality application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a British nationality application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss your immigration matter or application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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