Sunday, August 1, 2010

British Citizenship - discrimination

The UK government continues to discriminate against children born abroad to British female citizens and children of unmarried British male citizens.

Why isn't a legitimate claim to British citizenship by descent, automatic for all children of a British parent?

I was born abroad to an English mother but to be eligible for British citizenship, the law states that I will have to register and pay a fee of £540 to claim my British citizenship by descent.  However, if I had been born abroad to a British father (or if I was younger) my entitlement to citizenship would have been automatic!

There has been an ongoing campaign over the years to get this inequality corrected but despite a succession of petitions and promises made by various politicians, very little has changed.

Since the change in Government following the General Election, I have written to the new Home Secretary, Theresa May about this unjustified discrimination regarding British citizenship by descent. I asked her if the new Government will follow up on this issue and put an end to this blatant discrimination. I have not had a reply. It's worth noting that Theresa May is also the Minister for Women and Equality!

I also wrote to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) about the blatant age and sex discrimination and I was informed by EHRC that;

"Acts of Parliament are included in the Table of Exceptions from the Sex Discrimination Act"
"Age discrimination would also not apply as this only currently applies to employment and education."

So much for the Equality and Human Rights Commission! They don't help at all even though this is blatant discrimination! What about equality and what about our human rights?!

I am asking for my readers to help.

'Your Freedom' is a new website from the Coalition Government where you are invited to submit your "ideas" for laws that should be scrapped or amended.

I have submitted my idea regarding Nationality via British mother and tsprague submitted this idea: Allow Illegitimate Children Citizenship Through Their British Fathers

Please leave a comment to support the ideas via the above links. The Coalition Government needs to know that the British public will not accept this blatant discrimination!

I would also be very grateful if you would sign the latest petition:

British Citizenship for persons born abroad to British Mothers and Fathers
Children of British Citizens Who are females and Children of Unmarried British Males should be given their equal rights to automatic nationality rather then have to pay fees, undergo good character tests, and ceremonies on the same basis as others born later who are automatically citizens.

It is time for the law to be amended so that the right to nationality via British mothers or British fathers is exactly the same.

Related posts:

Changes to the law on citizenship: Children of British mothers
Guardian's Liberty Clinic - query about British citizenship
People born before 1983 to British mothers


  1. I've left a suitable comment and signed the petition! Flighty xx

  2. Thank you so much Flighty! I appreciate your support. You are a star! Thanks again. xx

  3. The current registration fee is £550, not £540.

    It's true that this issue is an old one--as long ago as 1957 the government was asked if it would allow women to transmit their citizenship to children born abroad. Of course the answer was, "No".

  4. Wow - that's outrageous if the fee has already increased! The law just went into effect on 13 Jan 2010.

  5. I find it hard to see nice information on the internet. Even so, your post is of great value. Congratulation for it. I've bookmarked your blog, and I'm looking forward to read more of your articles.

  6. Hello Shawna. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it.

  7. The Adult Nationality Registration fee is to be increased to £580 in November 2010, not October as I posted earlier.

  8. Thank you for the info about the increase in the registration fee. (I deleted your earlier comment with the incorrect date).

    It's incredible that the Home Office is planning to increase the fee yet again. And I reiterate my position - I refuse to consider this unfair path to citizenship. As it stands, the law contains conditions (registration, a fee and a ceremony) that blatantly discriminates against chidren of British mothers.

    It is time for this unjustified discrimination to be stopped!

  9. Michael Turberville reiterates some of these same sentiments in his latest update on his website,

  10. Hi Maureen: Not sure if you have seen the letter from the UKBA indicating that fees for registration under sec 4C will be scrapped at "the earliest opportunity"? This doesn't go all the way, but certainly indicates that we have been heard! The new fees leaflet, still doesn't reflect any change though - in fact it reflects an increase to 550 pounds.

  11. Hi Greg, Thanks - yes I have seen a copy of the letter sent to Michael Turbeville. It is very encouraging news indeed! I do wonder though when "the earliest possible date" will be since all of us have already been waiting years for this great injustice to be corrected.

    Also, the letter only mentions removing the requirement to pay a fee which of course is a big part of the injustice but it doesn't actually indicate if we will be granted the same right as children of British fathers have always had. We are entitiled to automatic citizenship and I'm not prepared to accept anything less than that.

    I've also noticed there isn't any notice about this news on the UKBA website and indeed, as you point out, it only shows the increase in fees.

    It would appear though that we are finally getting somewhere in this important campaign. The credit really should go to M. Tuberville as he has been campaigning on this issue for a very long time, much longer than I have. Kudos to Michael Turberville! Well done!

  12. Hi Maureen

    Good to catch up with you again. I am heading off on another "journey" to South Africa to visit Mama. I am persently in Canada. I dicovered your discussion with Greg over fees and at your suggestion went to Michael Turberville's blog and read his reports. I find it mind-boggling that there is no mention of refunding us early birds (Michael does imply there will be none). If you recall I wrote along with many others to Lord Avebury reagrding teh fees and he seemed helpless to convince anyone in the House of Lords or Commons to reduce or abolish them. As I mentioned to you last year that I needed my British Passport urgently because of all the travelling I do to be able to live with my spouse. I will join Michael's Campaign and work with that as well. We might get some snow tonight which I would love before heading to the southern hemisphere and more heat!!

  13. Hi Tim, Yes, the news on Michael Turberville's blog is exciting but it's shocking that there don't appear to be any plans to refund those who have already paid the fees, such as yourself. I think it's disgraceful how the British government (Labout & Conservative) have treated us over the years. In my opinion, we (and especially our British mothers) deserve an apology and we deserve automatic citizenship (with no conditions attached!).

    I hope you get snow there tonight. I can see how that would be a nice treat before you head to South Africa. Have a good journey and enjoy your visit.

  14. Hi Maureen: Just back from more travels, and the British passport works wonders! However, reading recent news reports about the powers of government to strip people who became British by a "registration" process of their nationality, is yet another sinister consequence of the registration process we are subject to. It also serves to reinforce our second-class citizenship - based purely on the gender of our parents! I really don't know how to take this forward, because deaf ears are all we seem to get from the seemingly caring politicians and "champions" of human rights, such as Liberty!

  15. Hi Greg - yes, you're right. I read those news reports too, and I agree with you. It shows how gaining citizenship via registration is a different kind of citizenship (second-class as you say). It underlines just how unfairly we are being treated.

  16. On 17 February 2010 Baroness Neville-Jones, in the House of Lords, motioned, "The House will, I hope, be pleased to hear that these proposals also introduce a fee exemption where a person makes an application for a nationality registration relying on Section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981. This will align better the position of those applicants born to British mothers with that of applicants born to British fathers. This a a long-standing grievance, which I have shared, and was a matter of great interest to this House. I hope that fulfilment of that commitment made by the previous Government gives satisfaction today."

    The motion was approved and the fee will be eliminated as of 22 November 2010.

  17. Dear Anonymous - Thank you for sharing the (very good) news! I don't see any official notice about it on the Home Office website yet but hopefully it is indeed true.

  18. The fee has been eliminated but the citizenship ceremony fee remains (£80).


  19. Well now, that's very interesting. So the discrimination continues! That's just not good enough.

  20. This is what is says on the UK Border Agency website regarding this change:

    "From Monday 22 November 2010 those applying under this section will not be required to pay an application fee for registration. Those who are applying in the UK will still need to pay an administrative fee of £80, as this is forwarded to the local authority to cover the adminstrative cost of a citizenship ceremony. The £80 administrative fee should be paid when making the application, but will be refunded if the application is unsuccessful. Those applying overseas will be required to pay a consular fee."

  21. Thank you for providing the link and the additional information. This is very annoying news as it shows that we are indeed *still* being discriminated against. This condition (registration and ceremony)should not be required. We still are not being offered full citizenship equality, which we are entitled to via our British mothers!

  22. I agree this is still blatant discrimination. Registration involving a good character test and/or fees, and/or bureaucratic hurdles is not registration by entitlement at all.

    We are still not being treated equally and it is a sop telling us that the rules have been brought into with children of British fathers!

    The imposition of a ceremony fee is also an insult as we already hold a form of British Nationality on the basis of our right of abode so why again are we being treated as a distinctively different group.

    At every step of the way the rules have only been bent but not equalised showing a despicable small mindedness towards the children of British mothers.


  23. I have posted the following article here

  24. Hi Jim, thank you for your comment and the link to your blog post about how we are still being discriminated against.

    I feel heartened to know there are others who won't give up the fight for citizenship equality.

  25. The government unexpectedly closed down the Your Freedom website, meaning the links in your post no longer work, and that all the great ideas and discussion that did go on has been seemingly lost.

    We don't want the government to forget about these ideas, so we have launched a new copy of the Your Freedom website called Gov You which mirrors all the original ideas.

    Your ideas can now be found & discussed here:

  26. Thank you but the link you so kindly provide shows a page with "not found".

    I know the Your Freedom website closed down all too quickly and I was very annoyed that my "idea" wasn't accessible anymore for people to view, and comment on.

    May I ask who "we" are? I think your site, Gov You, sounds wonderful. I will do a search and see if my idea is there somewhere. It would be great if it was!

  27. I found it! Here's my "idea" which I had originally posted on the Your Freedom website:

    Nationality via British mother

    Of course, the fee has been eliminated but the citizenship ceremony fee remains (£80), not to mention the registration requirement!

    I'm not prepared to accept this unfair route to citizenship. We are entitled to citizenship via our British mothers in the same way that children of British fathers are - without these insulting "conditions"! This blatant discrimination must stop!

  28. I would give ANYTHING to be allowed my father's nationality by the mere payment of a fee and/or attendance of a ceremony. Sadly I don't have that choice, because my parents' church marriage was not recognised and therefore I am classified as 'illegitimate' - in other words denied my own birthright, identity and heritage because I am branded a 'bastard' (yes, everyone has the legal right to call me that) when the UK had supposedly retroactively abolished the concept of illegitimacy (a hateful word, as if we were utterly 'invalid' and 'unjustifiable') in the 1980s. I and people in my position have ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to gain our fathers' nationality - even by paying a fee. However, the government keeps fixing other forms of discrimination while totally ignoring us, leaving this gaping hole in their laws while fine-tuning everything else. Being singled out as inherently inferior to my own siblings has been a source of pain and fundamental self-hatred for me for all my worthless illegitimate life, and if only they allowed me to rehabilitate myself with a fee, I would jump at the opportunity immediately - not that they ever will, of course. Nobody seems to care about our tiny cause, though it would be so easy for them to rehabilitate us and it would give them a chance to get MONEY. If they don't understand justice and the removal of immense pain, don't they understand money? In any case, I appreciate your mention of our cause in your site - however I must say that phrases like 'citizenship through mothers must be placed on an equal footing as that through fathers' are not entirely accurate because some (inherently worthless) children of British fathers are in fact suffering the ultimate, intranscendible obstacle to citizenship and can NEVER have it. EVER.

  29. I sympathize with your plight. Really I do. This discrimination regarding our right to citizenship by a British mother or unmarried British father, is unjustified and must be addressed once and for all.

    However, I must add that even though I can now claim my right to British citizenship that I'm not prepared to accept the unfair "conditions" which are attached. Discrimination is wrong!

    Don't give up fighting for your right to claim citizenship. It may take time but I'm sure we will all eventually get this discrimination stopped.

  30. I'll keep trying (as will my father, who was denied the right to register me as a baby) until the last breath is out of my despicable illegitimate body - but it can be so hard to trust that they'll change their minds, as they can be incredibly cold-hearted. It's absolutely mind-boggling how they can keep tolerating these glaring loopholes (incompatible with the UDHR, the ICCPR, the Covenant on the Rights of the Child and several of their own laws) when every 'civilian' that hears about this instantly and unreservedly recognises it as irrational and wrong. The government are the only surviving handful of people who don't seem to perceive this obvious wrongness - as if they were part of some weird isolated culture operating according to a different paradigm from the rest of humanity. Anyway, thanks for mentioning us too!

  31. I agree. It's disgusting how the UK Government continues to uphold discrimination. They have taken advantage of various loopholes to pass blatantly discriminatory laws regarding our right to citizenship. So much for equality in the UK!

    There is no doubt in my mind that this situation will change - it's just a matter of time. Hang in there!

  32. Becoming a British citizen is the final step in the immigration process. Through naturalization, immigrants give’s you same rights as those born in the UK. If you have been granted a settlement visa, or indefinite leave to remain, applying for citizenship is the final immigration service available

    British Citizenship by Descent' is the Category for the Children born Outside the UK to a British Citizen. Rules for Acquiring British Citizenship by Descent Depend on When the Person Was Born

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Just came across your blog andi i agree my partner is from the usa born to a British mother she married american who was in the air force. Hes lived in Britain since 2004 with no questions asked has an ni number. But since he got sacked frombhis work in September 2014 because he didnt have right to work douments hes now applyed to the home office for citizenship. We have 2 kids and the whole thing is a worry for us. Does any one know how long it should take. We paid 80 pound fee that was stated on a home office letter we got sent because the first application we filled in the wrong form and that was another 85 pound we lost in fees

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