British citizenship entitles a person to a British passport.  A British passport allows the holder to live in the UK without restrictions, and to enjoy free movement rights in Europe.  A British passport holder can travel to most countries in the world without the need to apply for a visa in advance.

Before 1983, however, British nationality could not be passed on through the maternal line.  People born outside the UK before 1983 whose mothers were British (but whose fathers were not) were placed at a disadvantage.

In 2010 a new route for claiming British citizenship was created.  To qualify you would need to be born before 1983, to a British mother.  It must be demonstrated that you would have become a British citizen if your mother had been able to pass on British nationality in the same way as a man.  You must also be of good character.

For example: If you were born outside the UK before 1983, and your mother was born in the UK, it is very likely our lawyers can secure you a British passport.

The route can also sometimes be used if the mother had UK citizenship by another means, such as by marriage to a British man, by registration, by naturalisation, adoption or birth in a British territory, or in some cases by descent from a British father.  You can qualify for this route even if your parents were never married.

The route is significantly cheaper than applying for naturalisation, and there is no need to take a Life in the UK test or English language test or to have lived in the UK.

People who become British citizens under this route may be able to pass on British citizenship to their children if the children are still under 18.

For information on other paths to British citizenship through a parent or grandparent please refer to our Ancestry page.

I am very grateful for all your excellent work on my complicated case for British citizenship. My British passport arrived last week, and will make a huge difference to my life. I publicly recommend you to others. Thank you again.

F.J. - London, UK, 2015