CONTENTS 1. General 4. British citizens otherwise than by descent and British citizens by descent 5. Children who are born in a British overseas territory 9. Children who are born outside the United Kingdom to British citizens otherwise than by descent 10. Children who are born outside the United Kingdom to British citizens by descent 11. Children who are born to parents in Crown and similar types of service 12. Adopted children 13. Registering your child as a British citizen 16. How to apply for registration 17. British passports 19. Address for enquiries, leaflets and application forms Notes GENERAL 1. The purpose of this leaflet is to explain how parents who are British citizens can pass their citizenship on to their children born outside the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983. In this leaflet: (a) The “United Kingdom” means England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (b) Reference to “qualifying territories” mean the British overseas territories (see Note A) other than the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (c) Unless otherwise indicated, any reference to “parent” means: Children born before 1 July 2006
• the mother (if the child was born on or after 1 January 1983) – before 1983, women were not able to pass on citizenship to their children • the father (but only if he was married to the mother) NB. If the parents were not married when the child was born, but then get married, the marriage might legitimate the child’s birth. If it does, the child would become a British citizen (and would be regarded as having been one from birth) if the father was a British citizen (or settled) when the child was born. Children of a void marriage may also, in some circumstances, be treated as legitimate. Children born on or after 1 July 2006 • the mother (i.e. the woman who gives birth to the child) • the father if: a. he is married to the mother at the time of the birth; or b. he is treated as the father under section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; or c. (if neither (a) nor (b) apply) he can satisfy certain requirements as regards proof of paternity – i.e. he is named as the father on a birth certificate issued within 1 year of the child’s birth or he can satisfy the Home Secretary that he is the father of the child (by means of DNA test results, court orders or other relevant evidence) 3
2. Before 1983, only men were able to pass on their citizenship to their children who were born outside the United Kingdom – and only if the children were legitimate (see Note B). Since 1 January 1983, women have also been able to pass on British citizenship to their children who were born outside the United Kingdom. On 1 July 2006, British men acquired the right to pass on citizenship to illegitimate children, provided they could be regarded as the child’s “father” (see paragraph 1(c) above). 3. Another important change was made on 21 May 2002 and affects children who are connected with the British overseas territories (see Note A). On that date, people who were British overseas territories citizens (formerly known as British Dependent Territories citizens) became British citizens automatically as long as they had that citizenship by connection with a qualifying territory (see paragraph 1(b) above). There are other circumstances in which children connected with a qualifying territory are British citizens from birth or can be registered as British citizens, and these are explained in paragraphs 6-14 below. BRITISH CITIZENS OTHERWISE THAN BY DESCENT AND BRITISH CITIZENS BY DESCENT 4. Every British citizen is either a British citizen otherwise than by descent or a British citizen by descent.
This difference is important because the type of citizenship people have determines the way in which they can pass British citizenship on to...