Can I pass on my British nationality to my existing or future spouse, partner, child or adopted child?

The child of a British citizen or British Overseas Territories citizen might automatically acquire that citizenship at birth. If your family member is not automatically a British national he or she may be entitled to register under one of many categories. The rules involved can be extremely complicated. Passportia’s systematic analysis should ensure that all these possibilities are explored. Many categories for registering a child require that the application should be submitted before the child is 18 years old. If the application is made after the child is 9 years old the child must be shown to be of good character for almost all categories. It is best to evaluate the position and, if necessary, apply for registration early on and preferably well before the child reaches the age of 16 years.

Since 2003 British citizenship can be acquired by registration through the mother. This potentially applies to a person born before 1983, whether or not their parents are alive. The rules involved are very complex. Registration is sometimes also possible where a parent had once been resident in the UK or a British Overseas Territory, or had been in government service of, and a grandparent was born in, the UK or British Overseas Territory.

If the child is not entitled to registration another possibility is registration on a discretionary basis or on the basis that the child is stateless. A discretionary application needs strong, well written supporting arguments demonstrating continuing links to the UK, plans of the child and/or human rights considerations. The husband or wife of a British citizen or British overseas territories citizen may acquire British citizenship or British overseas territories citizenship through a shorter than normal period of residence in the United Kingdom or a British overseas territory, or sometimes government service.

The child of a British national (British Overseas citizen, British subject, British National (Overseas), British protected person) may be granted that nationality by registration in exceptional circumstances, such as statelessness of the child.

How do I prove that I still have the nationality of an expired British passport? Can I get a new passport?

It depends on when the passport was last issued and what has happened since. Passportia can evaluate the situation, provide a report and where appropriate apply for official confirmation of your current status. You could potentially obtain a new British passport. 

My application for registration or naturalisation as a British citizen was refused. What can I do?

It is possible to have an application re-considered at any time (even an application for a minor child can be re-considered after the child is 18 years old). New supporting evidence or new well-written arguments are normally needed to increase the chance of success. Passportia can assess the prospects.

I may wish to get or use another nationality or passport: what are the risks to my existing British nationality?

The UK generally permits dual nationality. British citizens can be dual citizens. However, there are some exceptions.

A British subject or British protected person who acquires another nationality will lose British nationality. Any British national who has or acquires a second nationality or passport is susceptible to losing his or her British nationality by deprivation by the UK government. This is a complex area of evolving law.

Passportia can advise you. For an initial evaluation please complete the form below.

I lost British nationality. Can I re-acquire it easily?

You may be able to get British nationality back by registration. Depending on the circumstances under which your British nationality was lost there can be a number of possible routes to re-acquire this nationality. This is a complex area.

The main causes of loss of British nationality are renunciation, effects of a country having become independent of the UK or for certain British nationals in certain circumstances, acquisition of another nationality.

New legislation in 2003 created new possibilities for people to become a British citizen by registration, whether or not a British national before. Passportia can explore all the possibilities for re-acquiring British nationality.

How do I make sure I no longer have a British nationality that I used to have?

Passportia can evaluate the situation, provide an opinion and where appropriate obtain official confirmation of your current status. For an initial evaluation please complete the form below.

How do I renounce British nationality? Are there long term implications for renouncing?

To renounce British nationality you complete a form and make a declaration. No other process has effect in UK law. Renunciation of British citizenship may affect where you can live and where you can travel. There are long-term implications for you and your family which you must consider carefully. Passportia can advise on the effects of renunciation.

In general, renouncing your British nationality will end access to a British passport and consular protection from the UK government. Renunciation of British citizenship will in most cases end your right of abode in the UK. However, there are some exceptions for those born before 1983.

I want to understand more about British Nationality before 1983

You do not need to read or understand any of this for your prospects to be evaluated. For those who are seriously interested, listed below are the categories of people treated as British nationals before 1983. Throughout this website, nationals of the United Kingdom are referred to as “British nationals.” British nationals are eligible for a passport issued by the government of the United Kingdom (or a UK dependency) and consular protection from the government of the United Kingdom.

Before 1949, a person with a status listed below was treated as a British national:

  • a British subject,
  • a British protected person (then a status largely defined by policy) comprising mostly by the following:
    1. a national of a mandated territory (Iraq, Transjordan or Palestine)
    2. a national of a British protectorate or protected state with a local nationality law (Zanzibar, British North Borneo, Sarawak and most British protected states outside India
    3. a person born in or whose father was born in a British protectorate, protected state, mandated or trust territory,
    4. a person naturalised in a British colony, protectorate or Dominion under its local law,
    5. a person registered with a British consulate as locally resident “British protected person”: typically a long-standing employee of a British embassy, consulate or business, in a country in the Near East, Middle East or North Africa.

In the period from 1949 to 1982, a person with a status listed below was treated as a British national:

  • a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies,
  • a British subject other than by citizenship of an independent Commonwealth country, i.e.:
    1. a British subject without citizenship [1],
    2. a British subject who gave notice as a citizen of Eire/Ireland [2],
    3. a British subject by registration (woman only) [3],
    4. a citizen of Singapore, before 16 September 1963,
    5. a citizen of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Federation of), before 1 January 1964,
    6. a citizen of Southern Rhodesia, before 18 April 1980.
  • a British protected person, normally:
    1. a national of a Zanzibar or an enduring UK protected state with a local nationality law, most UK protected states, (see the list here only states with a “to date” after 1948),
    2. a person born in, or whose father was born in, a UK protectorate, or trust territory or an enduring post-1948 protected state (see the list here, only states with a “to date” after 1948).
  • a British Registered person or Royal Prerogative person (special cases of a pre-1949 British protected person who never had another nationality).

(There are a few other very obscure categories not mentioned in the lists above.)

[1] Such a person must have been a British subject before 1949 or deemed so.

[2] Such a person had to have been a British subject and citizen of Eire (Ireland) before 1949. The notice could be given to the government of the United Kingdom, a UK colony or protectorate, Australia, Southern Rhodesia (before March 1958) or the Federation of Rhodesia or Nyasaland (before 1964).

[3] Only the wife of a man in category 2. a) or b) could be so registered. under s. 1 of the British Nationality Act 1965 of the UK or s. 26A of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 of Australia.



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