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Mother a British Citizen, can I get a UK passport?


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#1 lisaoutthere

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 02:46 PM

Born in Rhodesia in 1971, lived in South Africa most of my life, carry a South African passport. Currently in UK on ancestry visa, but am I eligible for a British passport?

Three out of four of my grandparents (both maternal grandparents) were born in England. My father was born 24 Oct 1944 in South Africa, and used a South African passport for the first 40 years of his life, got his UK passport in 1990 and has had dual passports since. My mother was born on 8 Jan 1949 in Rhodesia. She travelled on her mother's passport until she got her first British Passport at the age of 16 or 17. She's a British citizen and has never taken South African citizenship although we moved there in 1980.

My mother tried a few times to apply for British passports for my brother and I when we were kids (I was born in 1971, he in 1975, both in Rhodesia) but it was always turned down. Is it worth trying again?



#2 ppron747

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:26 PM

Born in Rhodesia in 1971, lived in South Africa most of my life, carry a South African passport. Currently in UK on ancestry visa, but am I eligible for a British passport?

Three out of four of my grandparents (both maternal grandparents) were born in England. My father was born 24 Oct 1944 in South Africa, and used a South African passport for the first 40 years of his life, got his UK passport in 1990 and has had dual passports since. My mother was born on 8 Jan 1949 in Rhodesia. She travelled on her mother's passport until she got her first British Passport at the age of 16 or 17. She's a British citizen and has never taken South African citizenship although we moved there in 1980.

My mother tried a few times to apply for British passports for my brother and I when we were kids (I was born in 1971, he in 1975, both in Rhodesia) but it was always turned down. Is it worth trying again?

I'm afraid not...
There are very few circumstances in which someone born in a Commonwealth country can claim British nationality when their link with UK is through a UK-born grandparent, and I think your best option is to wait until you qualify for naturalisation in a few years time. (Unless you're married or in a civil partnership with a Brit cit, you need to do five years residence in UK, and to have ILR for one year, so unless you've already got ILR, this means six years after your first arrival in UK, taking into account the recent rule change on ILR).
Sorry!

#3 lisaoutthere

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 04:49 PM

As I thought. Thanks anyway.

#4 JAJ

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:46 AM

Born in Rhodesia in 1971, lived in South Africa most of my life, carry a South African passport. Currently in UK on ancestry visa, but am I eligible for a British passport?

Three out of four of my grandparents (both maternal grandparents) were born in England. My father was born 24 Oct 1944 in South Africa, and used a South African passport for the first 40 years of his life, got his UK passport in 1990 and has had dual passports since. My mother was born on 8 Jan 1949 in Rhodesia. She travelled on her mother's passport until she got her first British Passport at the age of 16 or 17. She's a British citizen and has never taken South African citizenship although we moved there in 1980.

My mother tried a few times to apply for British passports for my brother and I when we were kids (I was born in 1971, he in 1975, both in Rhodesia) but it was always turned down. Is it worth trying again?


In general, a British born grandparent is not enough to be a British citizen. Although if you go to the Freedom of Information section on the Foreign Office website - http://www.fco.gov.uk - you'll find out how they "bent" the rules in the case of Zola Budd.

As Paul sayd, you should look at naturalisation as the way to get yourself British citizenship. It's not all bad news, as naturalisation will make you British otherwise than by descent and any future non-UK born children you have will be eligible for British citizenship.

Have you any UK-born children as things stand?

You should be aware that you will lose South African citizenship upon becoming a British citizen unless you get permission in advance. This may not be a problem for you, if it is then afaik it's not too much of an issue to get this permission provided you fill out the correct application and pay the fee, and wait for them to process it.

#5 lisaoutthere

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 06:50 AM

I'm a bit confused though because I have found following guide to British Citizenship through Mother on the UK Gov website and I seem to fit the requirements?

You will be entitled to registration if:
you were born after 7 February 1961 but before 1 January 1983 (YES)
and you were born to a mother who was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time (SHE HAD UK PASSPORT AND CITIZENSHIP) and you would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if it had been possible for women to pass on citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to their children in the same way as men could; and had you been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, you would have had the right of abode in the United Kingdom and would have become a British citizen on 1 January 1983.


A. You will meet the second requirement if at the time of your birth:

(a) your mother was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies either:

(i) by birth, legal adoption, naturalisation or registration in the United Kingdom and Colonies; (YES)

(ii) by birth, before 1 January 1949, in a British protectorate, protected state or United Kingdom trust territory; or (NO, SHE WAS BORN 8 JAN 1949 IN A BRITISH PROTECTORATE - RHODESIA)

(B) your mother was, at the time of your birth, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and: (YES)

(i) you were born, or your mother was born, in a British protectorate, protected state, mandated territory or trust territory or in any foreign place in which British subjects came under British extraterritorial jurisdiction; or (MOTHER BORN IN RHODESIA)

(ii) you were born in a non-Commonwealth country and your birth was registered, within one year of its occurrence, at a British consulate; or (NO)

(iii) your mother was in Crown service under the United Kingdom government at the time of your birth; or (NO)

(iv) you were born in a Commonwealth country whose citizenship law had been the subject of an order under section 32(8) of the British Nationality Act 1948, but did not become a citizen of that country at birth.

B. You will meet the third requirement if:

(i) your mother was, at the time of your birth, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth, legal adoption, naturalisation or registration (except registration on the basis of a marriage on or after 28 October 1971 to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies) in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or Isle of Man; or (YES, SHE GOT CITIZENSHIP THROUGH BIRTH - HER PARENTS, MY GRANDPARENTS WERE BRITISH CITIZENS)

(ii) one of your mother's parents (the definition of "parent" here excludes the father, but includes the mother, of an illegitimate child) was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies in the way mentioned in (i) above at the time of her birth; or (YES, BOTH)

(iii) you were settled in the United Kingdom before 1983 and had, at that time, been ordinarily resident there for the last 5 years or more; or (NO)

(iv) you are a woman who, before 1 January 1983, was or had been married to a man with the right of abode in the United Kingdom. (NO)

#6 ppron747

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 07:18 AM

But Southern Rhodesia was not part of the UK & Colonies. Neither was it a British Protectorate. At the time of your mother's birth it was, for British nationality purposes, an independent Commonwealth country, listed as such in the British Nationality Act 1948, along with Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, etc etc.

Your mother did not acquire British nationality by birth. She acquired it at birth, by descent from her father. She wasn't British by being born in Southern Rhodesia. She was British by being born anywhere to a father who was British by birth. So you don't qualify, I'm afraid.

Edited by ppron747, 28 March 2006 - 03:36 PM.


#7 lisaoutthere

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 05:32 PM

Thanks for making it clear. I guess it's back to biding my time and waiting for naturalisation. I'm now the only person in my family with a South African passport which may help you understand why it's important to me.

#8 ftgpmb

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 10:19 PM

I am in a similar situation to lisaoutthere but I think my situation is subtly different and therefore I qualify... am I right?

I was born 1973 in South Africa
Mother UK citizen born in Malacca in 1938 (which I think was a British Protectorate at the time)
Her parents were British by birth in Britain.

am I missing something - advice welcome?


ps. Have just learned of the ILR changes and my ancestry visa runs out 1 June :angry: , so would be a pleasant surprise to learn that I could have applied for British citizenship all along :thumbup: .

#9 ppron747

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 11:09 PM

I am in a similar situation to lisaoutthere but I think my situation is subtly different and therefore I qualify... am I right?

I was born 1973 in South Africa
Mother UK citizen born in Malacca in 1938 (which I think was a British Protectorate at the time)
Her parents were British by birth in Britain.

am I missing something - advice welcome?


ps. Have just learned of the ILR changes and my ancestry visa runs out 1 June :angry: , so would be a pleasant surprise to learn that I could have applied for British citizenship all along :thumbup: .

Malacca wasn't, in fact, a protectorate in 1938, when your mother was born - it was a colony, and remained one until it became independent in 1957 as part of Malaysia. But this doesn't make any practical difference to the outcome - you're not a British citizen at the moment, but it seems to me that you are entitled to be registered as one, under section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 (as amended by the Nationality Immigration & Asylum Act 2002).

The requirements of section 4C are that
you were born after 7 February 1961 but before 1 January 1983;
You were....

and
you were born to a mother who was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) at the time and you would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if it had been possible for women to pass on citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to their children in the same way as men could;

You were: your mother was a CUKC by birth in a colony, and remained one after independence because Malaysian independence arrangements failed to take CUKC away from those people who had it through their birth in the former colonies of Penang or Malacca. If she had been a man, there is no doubt that any children born to her outside the UK & Colonies before the end of 1982 would have been CUKCs by descent

and
had you been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, you would have had the right of abode in the United Kingdom and would have become a British citizen on 1 January 1983.

Again, the answer is yes; your grandparents would have had the right of abode (ROA) through their birth in the UK (section 2(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971), and your mother had it from them, under section 2(1)(b)(i) of the same Act. If you had been a CUKC, your mother could have passed ROA to you, under section 2(1)(b)(ii).

You might like to download Guide and Form UKM from the bottom of this page on the IND website.
:)

Incidentally, although this provision was introduced by an Act of 2002, it didn't come into force until April 2003, so don't feel aggrieved that the post that issued your Ancestry visa in 2002 didn't advise you about it at the time; they wouldn't have known about it until the following year... Certainly they wouldn't have known when it was coming into force...

Edited by ppron747, 30 April 2006 - 11:21 PM.


#10 ftgpmb

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 07:45 AM

Thank you. This is encouraging news.

I have a Canadian wife and a son born in Britain both of whom are dependents on my ancestry visa.

Basically, it seems I have two options for us to acquire citizenship:

Option 1:
Extend the Ancestry visas for me and my family
at the end of five years apply for ILR
at the same time apply for naturalisation for all of us based on 5 years of residency?

Option 2:
Extend the Ancestry visas for me and my family
Apply for British citizenship by virtue of my mother (as described above)
My son therefore becomes British by virtue of birth in Britain to a citizen?
Apply for naturalisation for my wife being the spouse of a British citizen living in Britain?

Have I got the options right?
Is there any particular advantage or disadvantage to either course of action?




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