Friday, August 15, 2008

Children of British mothers: proposed changes to citizenship law!

My mother is British but I haven't been able to claim British citizenship because the law as it stands, discriminates based on gender and age. The 2002 Nationality and Immigration Act allows the foreign-born children of British women born after 7 Feb 1961 to register as citizens. I was born before that date so I am being discriminated against due to my age, and my mother is being discriminated against because of her gender since British men can pass on their citizenship no matter when their child was born. Last year, an American lady who lives in England (and has a British mother like I do), started a petition - which I signed of course - to try and get the 2002 NIA changed to remove the gender and age discrimination - but sadly her attempt didn't succeed. Since then, I have been putting off applying for British citizenship because I was considering doing my own political/legal battle about this blatant age and gender discrimination when lo and behold, I found (fantastic!) news on the Home Office (The UK Border Agency) website Children of British mothers - proposed changes : The government plans to introduce an amendment to allow people born before the 1961 date to register under this section. The proposals will be introduced in the Citizenship, Immigration and Borders Bill in December 2008. The Bill will be debated in Parliament from December and so, if this proposal becomes law, it is unlikely to come into effect until late 2009. Okay, it will take a while to go through Parliament but still, I am thrilled! The fees* to apply for British citizenship are quite expensive (and I resent the idea since my mother is English) so I will wait for this law to be changed and then I will acquire British citizenship by descent. I'm entitled to it! *The required Life in the UK Test costs £34 , and the application for Naturalisation as a British citizen costs £655. Related post from my blog: Borders, Immigration & Citizenship Bill: Children of British mothers Changes to the law on citizenship: Children of British mothers

18 comments:

  1. That's good news for you! Do you know why that cut-off date was chosen?
    Have a good weekend! xx

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  2. Hi flighty - Thanks. I don't know but it's about time that it is changed. I can't believe such blatant discrimination is allowed. You have a good weekend too.

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  3. British Citizenship testSaturday, August 16, 2008

    Wow, This is just unbelievable ! This is similar to the age discrimination with HSMP or the new points based Tier 1 visa (You get more points if you are younger !).
    If you decide to do the Life in the UK test, these are the questions I used.
    www.lifeuk.info/blog/life-in-the-uk-sample-test-1/

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  4. Thanks for the link to the Life in the UK sample test. I'm hoping the law will be changed and I won't have to take the test though!

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  5. Thanks for the long awaited good news. I am an Iraqi American of British Mother. It is about time the law changed which never made sense. My brothers have been denied visas for years to visit England no matter they had English blood running in their viens, sadly mother did not see her sons because of visa restrictions to Iraqis and despite pleas to the Queen and Prime Minister and sadly she passed away. Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel for my brothers and for me to become a British Citizen. I love it being an American "naturalized American". This country has been good to us. I have a sister who lives in UK and she only got her citizenship through marriage. I and my brothers could not get it because of the Law. Thank you once again for the good and exciting news. I would appreciate it if you hear anything to update me. my e.mail is a_nirran@hotmail.com.
    Thanks and have a good day.

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  6. a_nirran, You are welcome. I sincerely hope the law will change after the debate in Parliament. It is very unfair the way it discriminates now.

    If I could afford the fees, I would consider getting British citizenship now by taking the 'Life in the UK' test and applying for citizenship but now I am going to wait for the law to be changed. I'm entitled to British citizenship.

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  7. From Nirran,
    Thank you for you quick response. Let us pray that the debate goes smoothly in the Parliment and we all get our natural right to become British Citizens. We have waited long enough and for me I have prayed for long for a miracle to happen one day. Yes you are right it is so expensive unbelievable! we have waited that long, we can wait a bit longer and pay nothing. One question...I was wondering if I get the citizenship can I give it to my husband and two kids. It would be nice. Thanks again and have a good day.

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  8. Nirran, British citizenship cannot be gained through marriage, and unfortunately, you can't pass British citizenship to your children.

    If the law is changed, it means that "All successful applicants will become British citizens by descent. As a British citizen by descent you will not normally be able to pass on British citizenship to any children born outside British territory."

    You can read more details by downloading Guide UKM via this link from the Home Office site:

    http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/nationality/guide_ukm.pdf

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  9. That link from the Home Office won't print in full in the comment box so I've divided it into two parts:

    http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/

    applicationforms/nationality/guide_ukm.pdf

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  10. Hi - found you via Kathy Flake's blog and wanted to chime in re: citizenship through your mom. My mom was British and they first started allowing children of British moms to 'register' as UK citizens in 2003, which is when I did (I was lucky to have been born after the 1961 cut-off). At the time even though I was thrilled, I was well aware of the persisting inequalities such as (as you have pointed out) the date cut-off which I'm glad to hear is being lifted. But also the fact that you are entitled to 'register' which is not the same as if your dad was British. Children of British dads are automatically British and can just apply for a passport. Children of British moms have to register (ie. jump through hoops and pay fees) to acquire British citizenship and only then can you apply for a passport. There are resulting implications also for passing your citizenship down to your children - restrictions that you would not have if your dad was British. I was in touch with Lord Avebury, who campaigns on immigration issues (and is a fantastic advocate) but he was unable to move them on this.

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  11. Thanks for shaing your story and the info about the inequalities. It makes me so angry that the UK government has been able to keep a discriminatory law on the books and still haven't amended the law to make it fair by removing the cut-off point for enabling children of British mothers born before 1961 to become British themselves.

    And to find out that they will *still* require more steps to become a British citizen even after the law is altered is very disappointing and disheartening.

    I can't believe it's legal for children of British dads to be automatically British and they can just apply for a passport but children of British moms have to register. It's a disgrace!

    I think I will be in touch with Lord Avebury too (thanks for providing the contact). Perhaps I will try a petition also. It seems to me that a lot of us need to be very vocal about this law that discriminates against us just because we happen to be born to British mothers instead of British fathers!

    Thanks again for your comment.

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  12. Hope this is of interest to everyone. I am 62 and been appealing for my rights to citizenship as my Mother is British and here is the website http://services.parliament.uk/bills/ for Parliament. Click on TYPE HOUSE BILL TITLE and select BORDERS, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION and you can follow the Bills progress. Click on the passed highlighted dates and you can read that days debate.

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  13. Tim, that's a very useful link. Thank you!

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  14. Hi Maureen
    I am a little confused with your blog (totally new to this media) as there is another heading with similar discussion where "Courtney" writes about the current state of the Bill. Over the past 40 years I have been writing to, and have been interviewed by, many Immigration Ministers, plus letters to The Queen, to nearly every Prime Minister and when I lived in Britain, my local cabinet members, all until last year with no luck. It has been very distressing at times. Recently though I have been in communication with the Prime Minister's office and related departments after hearing about the pending change and it sounds as though the amendments (regarding children born of British mothers), to Chapter 4 will pass. However, Courtney's comments have totally thrown me as I find them rather confusing. My Mother was born in Britain and I was the last (and only) child born overseas. I was born in 1946 before the 1948 Act was promulgated which then required registration to qualify. I would like some clarity, if anyone can answer this as to what my chances are for aquiring my British citizenship. Thank you for your time. I repeat the Parliament website address as it might appear from the comment above "for Parliament" was part of the address: http://services.parliament.uk/bills

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  15. Hi Tim, I''m sorry about the confusion. I have two threads about this subject,this one dated August 15th, 2008 and another one dated December 5th, 2008 about the changes to citizenship rules. I get comments from people on both threads so there are two different discussions in place.

    It seems like once this bill becomes law that you would qualify for British citizenship but I don't really understand all the details about the citizenship bill. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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  16. Thank you. It is encouraging to find people in the same situation. I fought alone for so long. I enjoy watching the progress on the parliament website which makes me feel a little more confident that things are moving. Best wishes

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  17. Tim, there are a lot of us in the same situation, so please don't feel alone in your battle. I think the way the law has been allowed to discriminate is disgraceful and the sooner it is changed, the better.

    Kind regards.

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  18. Attention: COMMENTS CLOSED on this thread.

    If you wish to leave a comment about this topic (citizenship for children of British mothers), please go to the more recent post on my blog, dated Friday, December 5, 2008 and titled, "Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill: Children of British mothers"

    http://brilliantbritain.blogspot.com/2008/12/borders-immigration-and-citizenship.html

    Thank you!

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