There are different ways to acquire British citizenship. Naturalisation is one way of ‘becoming’ British, some people may ‘register’ as a British citizen.We recently wrote about two specific methods in registering as a British citizen by descent, where you may acquire British citizenship by virtue of one or both of your parents being a British national. In this article, we outline other eligible scenarios where you may register as a British citizen and subsequently acquiring British nationality.Seek legal advice about registering as a British citizen from LEXVISA London Immigration Lawyers
British Citizenship by Descent vs British Citizenship Otherwise by Descent
These two terms often appear in nationality matters; they denote different routes in acquiring British citizenship. The important distinction to note is that if you acquired British citizenship by descent, you will not normally be able to automatically pass onto the citizenship to your next generation born outside of the UK. In contrast, if you acquired British citizenship otherwise by descent, you will normally be able to automatically pass onto the citizenship to your next generation born outside of the UK.
You will normally have acquired British citizenship by descent if you acquired British citizenship by virtue of one or both parents being a British citizen. You will normally have acquired British citizenship otherwise by descent if you acquired citizenship by birth in the UK or registered as a child or naturalised as an adult.
Register as a British Citizen: Other Forms of British Nationality
There are different forms of British nationality. Some of the nationality rights have arisen from the fact that some countries used to be a British colony and others due to historical and political development. For instance, all citizens of Commonwealth countries were British subjects until January 1983. If you fall under the following forms of British nationality and you are able to demonstrate that you have no other citizenship or nationalities, you may be eligible to register as a British citizen:
If you fall under the above categories, you will normally be able to register as a British citizen. However, you may not be eligible if you have renounced a nationality before prior to your registration. British citizenship acquired under this route will be citizenship by descent.You may contact us if you are unsure whether you will be eligible to register as a British citizen.
Register as a British Citizen: Born in the UK after 1 January 1983
If you were born in the UK after 1 January 1983 and your parents were not British citizens at the time of your birth, you may still be eligible if you satisfy one of the below scenarios:
- You are applying when you are under 18 and either one of your parents have acquired British citizenship since you were born; or
- You are applying when you are 10 years old or older and you have lived in the UK until you were 10 years old or older.
This is a complex route as many different scenarios have been written into the law to accommodate different changes in historical development. For instance, different rules may apply if you are an adopted child or if your biological parents were not married at the time of your birth or if your parents/grandparents were in the armed forces. Your eligibility may also depend on how your parents acquired their British citizenship and whether they have renounced any nationalities in the past. In order to fully assess whether you are eligible to register as a British citizen, please always contact our experienced solicitors for assistance.
Register as a British Citizen: Connections with Gibraltar and Hong Kong
As Gibraltar is currently still a British Overseas Territory, if you were born there, you may already have been registered as a British overseas territories citizen. If that is the case, you will have became a British citizen automatically. However, if you were not registered as a British overseas territories citizen, you may still be eligible if you fall under these categories:
- You naturalised in Gibraltar as a British overseas territories citizen after 21 May 2002; or
- You registered in Gibraltar as a minor after 21 May 2002.
As Hong Kong used to be a British colony, many people may have acquired a British national (overseas) passport. If that is the case, you will normally be eligible to register as a British citizen. However, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- You are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong at the time of the application; and
- You were a resident there on 3 February 1997; and
- You must have been a British national on 3 February 1997; and
- You mustn’t have held another citizenship or nationality at the time or since then.
The British citizenship you acquire may be by descent or otherwise by descent, hugely dependent on your personal circumstances. For a full assessment, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration solicitors.
Register as a British Citizen: Other Requirements for British Citizenship by Descent
As similar to naturalisation, the Secretary of State must be satisfy that you are you are of ‘good character’. Normally, this will mean that you have a clean criminal record in the UK and in any other country. Furthermore, you are expected not to have acted dishonestly in their dealings with the UK government. However, if you do have previous criminal convictions, this does not necessarily mean that you will not succeed in your citizenship application. Each case will be unique and will be dependent on other wider personal circumstances.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible for British citizenship, our experienced immigration solicitors will be able to discuss and assess your situation with you.
Successful British Citizenship Applications
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers. If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.
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.
If you need professional legal advice about applying for British citizenship please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.