Tuesday, March 8, 2011

British mothers still not equal to British fathers!

So today is the 100th International Women's Day, and we still have an ongoing inequality in the UK regarding the right for British mothers to pass on their citizenship to their children.

The UK government has always given this right to the children of all (married) British fathers automatically but not always to the children of British mothers. My mother is English and therefore I should be eligible for British citizenship but up until recently this right was denied.

Last year (13 January 2010), the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 came into force which meant I was finally granted the right to claim British citzenship. Incredibly, it was only "a right to register as a British citizen" and I would also have to pay £540 to claim my British citizenship! This was absolutely outrageous since anyone born in the same circumstances after 1983, or at anytime to a (married) UK father, could simply complete a passport application without the need to register and without any fee.

I considered this path to citizenship to be unaccepable and I did not take up the offer to attain my British citizenship in this unfair way. There was a public outcry (quite rightly) from myself and many others about this blatant discrimination. Consequently, the law was amended in November 2010 and the application fee (which had actually gone up to £550 during the year!) was removed.

However, we still have to register and need to pay an administrative fee of £80 to cover the cost of a citizenship ceremony.*

As the law stands now the following two cases are exceptions to automatic British citizenship:

  • Children born abroad before 1983 to British female citizens
  • Children born before 2006 to unmarried British male citizens (and in fact they are even denied the right to register)
While it's true that the £550 application fee has been removed, it's completely unacceptable that we must provide two references and fill out a form intended for immigrants, not to mention pay £80 and attend a citizenship ceremony. I find these "conditions" before I can qualify for my claim to British citizenship, insulting to my mother as well as to myself.

We still don't have 100% parity with the children of British father's! If my father had been British, citizenship would be automatic - no registration required, no fee at all and no ceremony!

It's unjustified discrimination.

*Registration and the citizenship ceremony is meant for those without a British parent. In other words, for foreigners who wish to become UK citizens.


  1. I'm as sympathetic as ever! There really is no justification for this, and I can't understand why the stonewalling. Flighty xx

  2. Thank you very much Flighty! I appreciate your support, as always. xx

  3. This does make me genuinely embarrassed Maureen! And extremely mad - a ridiculous state of affairs. The corridors of Westminster are as archaic as ever. Lynne x

  4. Thank you Lynne, although it's the MPs who should be embarrassed and hanging their heads in shame! I find it unbelievable that Members of Parliament could pass a law that is so obviously discriminatory. The corridors of Westminster are very archaic indeed.

    I appreciate your continuing support, Lynne! x

  5. This path to citizenship is so loaded with conditions that it doesn't seem worth the bother. It's surprising that so many (over 20,000) have agreed to accept these intolerable conditions. Are children of British citizen fathers any more trustworthy than children of British citizen mothers that they should not have to undergo a humiliating background check before claiming citizenship?

  6. I agree. It's very surprising - and I find it quite discouraging to hear that so many have agreed to accept these insulting "conditions".

    I refuse to accept this unfair path to British citizenship! It's unjustified discrimination and I'm personally insulted and more than that, it's an insult to my British mother.

    Your question is excellent. Very well put.

  7. UGH. I came to this blog today hoping for GOOD NEWS, and it's so dissappointing to hear there's no change!

    I've run into a couple snags with trying to get my mom's UK passport. My grandparents moved the family to the US when she was 15 months old - she has no record of a UK passport.
    AND her UK passport application requires a "COUNTERSIGNATURE", which means she needs to find a 'professional' (according to a list from the UKBA) to sign off on her application that they've known her from the last two years, and she's an okay person.
    At this point, we're going to call their question hotline (which charges by the minute) and hope to get some answers!

    At this point, I'm thinking maybe I should just go for the spousal visa (even though it's crazy expensive, and probably just as difficult).

    Ugh, I'm exasperated.

  8. Hi Tey. Two things. Firstly, I think, unless you urgently need British citizenship, I'd wait until the law is changed again (and I'm sure it will be - we just don't know when) so that we have 100% parity with the children of British father's. As the law stands now, the registration and ceremony are insulting conditions, and unjustified discrimination!

    Secondly, regarding your mother's UK passport, I don't know if it's absolutely necessary. According to this comment left (anonymously, unfortunately) on a blog post ["Changes to the law on citizenship: Children of British mothers"] on Feb 14 2010:

    Anonymous said...
    "Birth certificates are available from the General Registrar's Office (gro.gov.uk). A mother's passport is not mandatory to make an application for citizenship on form UKM. A mother's full birth certificate (indicating father's profession) will do."

    It would be very interesting to know what you find out when you call the hotline.

  9. Tey, this link on the Home Office website gives a list of the info required:

    "The documents we require for registration as a British citizen if you were born before 1983 to a British mother":


    Hmm. I see that a passport is on the list so now I'm doubting the accuracy of the info provided by the anonymous commenter that I quoted in my previous reply to you.

    I think it's disgusting how this path to British citizenship has been made unnecessarily confusing and complicated!

  10. Hi Maureen,

    If I understand this correctly, even if we are accepted to Register as a British Citizen, the right to citizenship could be taken away at any time by the powers that be. That seems awfully harsh considering people who commit terrible crimes, etc. retain their citizenship.

    Regarding the Passport requirement: I have finally submitted my application without my Mother's passport, since no one can find it. It is still being requested of me although I explained that the passport is gone into the mist. What can a person do, years pass, paperwork disappears...

    I'm waiting to hear from DC, will they accept my ap w/out a passport or not. Will let you know on here in case this info helps someone else.

  11. Hello. I'm not absolutely sure but I think you might be right - that gaining citizenship this way (registration) can be taken away. I will need to look into that further.

    Yes, this business about requiring a British passport from our mothers is troubling. As you say, many years have gone by and paperwork disappears. The fact is that the UK denied our British mother's right to pass on citizenship and now that so many years have gone by, it's ridiculous to presume all British women would still have a British passport to hand.

    It will be interesting to hear what you hear from DC about the passport. Thanks.

  12. A previous commenter did say that the British Embassy in Washington DC will accept a mother's full birth certificate and her father's full birth certicate if a mother's passport is unavailable. A formatting fee applies-$140-before the application is shipped off to Liverpool.

    The comment about a mother's full birth certificate showing her father's profession being enough is from Michael Turberville's website.

  13. Thank you! I appreciate the clarification.

  14. Regarding registration, I can understand why some people think it's necessary to get their British citizenshp now but I don't understand the reason for so many others to do so.

    We've put up with discrimination for years and these unfair "conditions" means that the discrimination continues! Why are so many of you willing to accept discrimination now? I'm not. I am waiting until the law is changed so that we have 100% parity with the children of British father's!

  15. Maureen, I understand why you are waiting for full parity, I was going to wait, also. But wait for how long? I want to relocate and without the citizenship, it will cost me much more in dollars and then years of time to naturalize, take a test of life in the UK, etc. Plus, they could deny me the visa if they chose to, and there is little recourse.

    Is there something in the pipeline about full parity? Please tell.

    I wish the 20,000 plus people who received their citizenship via UKM would inundate the powers that be- now they are citizens and can be heard loud and clear and might be able to push things towards equality with a fervor...though I don't expect that will happen.

  16. Hi Maureen. I'm back reading your latest news. Very glad you are there and fighting on. Thank you. My life is still impacted by discriminatory laws but we are back in the US for six months!

    I wish I could be of more help regarding Tey's mother's passport, but this is what I recall. I have the copy of my application with me which I submitted to Washington DC. I don't recall having to submit my Mother's passport at all. She is still alive at 90 and resides in SA. I certainly did not have her passport but unfortunately don't recall that I had to submit a copy of it either. I only submitted a copy of her full birth certificate which I obtained from London. The other point I should mention for any one hestitating about calling the help line, is once I had completed my application I did not want to face a rejection at any cost and called the service. The person was fabulous and it cost me about three pounds something. It was well worth every penny to have the application perfect. I unfortuntaley paid the five hundred and forty pounds and it doesn't looks as though I am getting it back??

    And just a little comment on why I did apply. I fully agree with all your sentiments and would have preferred to have hung on until we were given our full recognition, but I am sixty five and have waged my battle with the British Government since I was twenty. I am married to a US citizen, but as I cannot get residence in the US (discrimination), I can only stay for six months in any one year. We then have to travel for six months wherever we can find a place that we can afford to stay. It has to be near the US because of my spouse's health requirements. Before I received my British citizenship, I was required to have a visa not only for virtually every country I visited , but in recent years also for transiting at an airport. Not only is the planning well ahead of our exile period very trying but allowing sufficient time for the applying of every visa was time consuming and the cost of each visa was becoming prohibitive. For example, just for a three-day stop over in London, the visa involved an eleven-page online application, certificates, courier fees, surrendering my passport while in a foreign country and seventy pounds. Have a good week everyone and keep on the fight.

  17. It's understandable that some people such as yourself can't wait any longer.

    However, I really don't understand how so many others can be so willing to accept these unfair conditions and are rushing to apply for British citizenship.

    No there isn't anything in the pipeline (as far as I know) about full parity. I wish there was. It's something I'm working on though.

  18. Hi Tim, thank you for all the information about your experience regarding submitting your application.

    I understand your reasons for not wishing to wait any longer to attain your British citizenship, and it makes sense in your case.

    I find it hard to understand though, why so many others are unwilling to wait and fight for their right to citizenship without these unfair conditions.

  19. Hi Maureen, I truly find you extremely gallant and admire your tenacity to push on. You are amazing. What I think from reading all the repsonses and from my own experience, is that one of the reasons (and this is a basic reason), as was my case, depending on which country one comes from, was the cost of having to have visas wherever one goes. It becomes prohibitive. I know that a friend of mine in South Africa could not initially apply at all because the 540 pounds in SA Rands was way beyond her reach. At the lowest rate these days that is over R5000.00 which is a great deal of money. Another reason which has played a role in my decision was the time factor. How long can someone wait? But do not despair. I understand your disappointment, but what it is also revealing is the enormous number of people out there that have been affected over the decades. I thought for so long that I was all alone until I "met" you and your blog. Thank you.

  20. Thank you Tim. I appreciate your kind words.

    The fact is that this ongoing citizenship discrimination is very wrong.

    The "conditions" we are expected to meet before we can claim our citizenship, are an insult to our mothers as well to us.

    I'm unwilling to accept this inequality. It's unjustified discrimination.

  21. Hi Maureen, Yes, I totally agree with you and that is why I am doubly upset about having to face discrimination here in the USA as well. I thought the battle with Britain was bad enough but now we continue with our battle here. We paid a visit to Washington DC and "The Hill" a few weeks ago to lobby our congressmen and women to repeal those discriminatory laws that prevent us from living together. Every effort helps as you well understand but sometimes it just takes many decades for the powers that be to respond. What comes out so clearly from all these issues is the fear politicians have to change! Its more about their careers than what is right.

  22. Hi Tim. It's terrible that you have to face discrimination in the USA. I hope things will change soon. Don't give up your fight! Wishing you all the best.

  23. Hi - I have a slightly different query and wondered if you could help me. My grandmother was born in Scotland, however she married a South African and moved to South Africa where my mother was born. My mother then married a South African and I was born.

    My understanding is that my mother would have been entitled to receive UK citizenship if the laws regarding mothers was the same as that regarding fathers with British nationality. If those laws had been the same then my mother would have received British citizenship as a right and would have been able to register her children (ie me) as a British citizen when I was born.

    However, she did not have those rights at that stage and consequently was not able to register me.

    SHe is now about to apply for British citizenship under the amended Act, and my question is: Will I be able to receive British citizenship too thereafter?

    I have read something about needing to be registered before one turns 18 however I am older than 18 now, but that option was never open to my mother when I was younger.

    Any ideas or comments please ... I have heard something about citizenship being granted under a s6(1) or 6(2) or 3(1) allowing this ... but not if it is granted under a s4(c) - but I don't know the differences.

    Please help...

    Thank you very much.


  24. Hello Dax, you are right about your mother having the right to claim British citizenship via her mother (your grandmother) if she was born in the UK.

    As I understand it though, I believe British citizenship by descent extends down only one generation.

    I suggest you investigate further yourself for more inforamtion. Here's the Home Office link:


  25. Dax doesn't qualify for registration as a British Citizen. She does qualify for a UK Ancestry Visa. She then may apply for citizenship after meeting the residency requirement (5 years).

  26. Thank you for providing the information for Dax. Do you have a link to confirm this info?

  27. Information about the UK Ancestry visa is available at:


  28. Hello, i came across this blog and found it very interesting as i'm kind of in a similar situation.
    My situation is that i was born abroad in 1990 to a british born father and a non british mother. Apparantly i don't have an automatic claim to british citizenship based on my fathers status only because i was born illegitimatly before 1 July 2006, and illigitimate children of british fathers born before then don't have an automatic claim.......someone did point out though, that if my parents subsequently marry then that legetimizes my birth and i would then be considered to be a british citizen. I don't no if that information is correct but i would greatly appriciate if someone could help me out. Thanks

  29. I'm aware of the issue regarding illegitimate children of British fathers but I'm not able to offer any help apart from suggesting you contact the Home Office:


  30. I was born in Ireland to a British mother. My father was born in Ireland when the entire country was part of the United Kingdom. So, with both parents born in the U.K., a reasonable person would assume I would be a U.K. citizen from birth. Not so! Only with the changes to the "British mothers" law did I recently become eligible to claim my ancestry in a meaningful way. For whatever reason, people like my sister and I who were born before Feb. 7th, 1961, were not eligible to receive this recognition, whereas my brother, who was born after that arbitrary date, was eligible. Now, as I collect all the birth certificates and marriage certificates I can trace, I realize that I don't have my mother's old British passport. It's nowhere to be found. Maybe they will just accept her birth certificate? She was born in England, served in the UK forces in WWII, her brother was even an MP. How much more needs to be proven?

    For me, being someone who grew up in an environment that was not gushing over the British, I feel that claiming my ancestry should not be this complicated. I don't even have plans to move to Britain. I just want to acknowledge who I am, where my people came from, and feel that I am not a foreigner in my mother's home country.

  31. Your story illustrates just how complicated the whole issue regarding British nationality is.

    As far as I know, you don't need your mother's British passport. You can find out more about how to claim your British citizenship from the Home Office website:


    However, as the law stands now, we are still being discriminated against because we are expected to register (provide two references) and attend a citizenship ceremony. I reject this unfair path to British citizenship, and I'm campaigning for citizenship equality. Perhaps you can wait a bit longer for this unjustified discrimination to be addressed.

  32. Maureen, yes I can wait, but I'm over 50 years of age already. I don't want this to be a posthumous recognition! Is there any activity among political circles that would suggest that this discrimination may be finally put to rest?

    By the way, I want to clarify a remark I made in my post above. In all the years (over 45) my mother lived in Ireland, I don't think a single person made any negative comment to her about her nationality. She had many friends and was an active and respected part of the community.

  33. I'm over fifty too so I know what you mean! I am working on getting this discriminatory law changed but unfortunately it takes time. I don't know when it will happen but I'm optimistic and I believe it will be changed.

  34. You don't need your mother's passport. The relevant info from the Border Agency website:
    ---- quote ----
    your passport; and
    your full birth certificate; and
    her certificate of naturalisation or registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (or, before 1 January 1949, as a British subject); or
    papers showing her legal adoption; or
    her expired citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies passport.
    ---- unquote ----

    Note the "or" before it mentions the passport.

    My mother died 40 years ago, and I don't think she even had a passport at the time.

  35. Why doesn't the list include the most obvious item, a British birth certificate for our mothers?

  36. I don't know. I wondered the same thing.

  37. The list on the website doesn't mention the birth certificate, but the list in the Guide UKM, which you can download from the Border Agency site says:
    --- quote ---
    Your passport; and
    Your full birth certificate; and
    Your mother’s full birth certificate; and either
    Her certificate of naturalisation or registration as a citizen of the UnitedKingdom and Colonies (or, before 1 January 1949, as a British subject); or
    Papers showing her legal adoption; or
    Her expired citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies passport
    ---- unquote ----

    which is a bit more detailed. I know it says "and either" but I think they mean "or either" and if you emailed them they'd probably clarify that. The Guide is a must-read if you're considering registering as a citizen. I've had a Right of Abode certificate in my Canadian passport since the early 70s (when it was called "paternity" or something), and that requires the same documents.

  38. I'm not considering registering as a citizen (I'm campaigning for citizenship equality) but I appreciate the info. Thanks.

  39. Hi Maureen!

    This is part of my comment, from above on
    March 12:

    "Regarding the Passport requirement: I have finally submitted my application without my Mother's passport, since no one can find it. It is still being requested of me although I explained that the passport is gone into the mist. What can a person do, years pass, paperwork disappears..."

    I received the letter of approval/acceptance to register as a British citizen today, dated July 12! In a plain brown envelope, with a return address sticker, handwritten address, mailed for 84 cents! Where's the special delivery and the union jack?

    Wow, after a long path and an expensive one the end is in sight. It's going to be a big financial expense to travel several states from home and all the costs involved with that. My happiness is marred by the experience of all the paperwork, references, and waiting and now the added expense and later, the passport application.

    This is the timeline:

    Application received in DC on March 10. Even though I explained on the ap I did not have my Mother's passport, I was asked through email for it. I was asked twice.

    In place of her passport, they wanted her death certificate which I had to order as I didn't have one. They also wanted my parents marriage certificate, which I also had to order. I was able to scan and email these additional documents, did not have to mail them to DC.

    Next, I was sent a letter via email that my application was forwarded to Liverpool on April 6. Original documents and my US passport were returned to me.

    When the person handling my ap went to Japan to assist after the earthquake, the aps just sit waiting.

    May 23 I received another email as I had confused Liverpool with wanting to hyphenate my last name. Deed poll talk was advised to me and then everything was settled.

    So, March 10 to July 15, just over 4 months.
    In the meantime, my husband sent in his ap for his British passport (through his N.I. father) and received the passport almost lickety split, in about 3 months, no hassles, no death certificate necessary and he didn't have his father's passport to submit, although he had everything else requested.

    He wants me to rock the boat and try to not have to go through with the ceremony since he didn't have to, being a child of a British father. It's getting to him that he could get his citizenship through the passport (even without the passport as that's just for travel ease) and I can't. He says to get Theresa May to abide by the laws already in place. I told him, once it's all over and done with, I'll try and help someone else, as I don't want this taken from me at this stage.

    Sorry for the really long comment, but I didn't want to omit something that another person might pick up on and get to their goal faster than I did. Although it's great that the 540 plus pounds fee was removed, it's still costing a bundle. When it's all over with including the passport, it'll be over $2,000 with the travel costs, which are going to be as cheap as I can find. I'm going to try to only stay one night in the hotel, but it's going to be expensive no matter what happens.

    Wish me luck for the ceremony on August 3, at 10am! Yikes, only about two weeks notice.

    Thanks and hope this helps someone.

  40. Thank you for sharing your experience. I can't believe all the rigmarole you have been put through. It's ridiculous that they make this so difficult. And it's very unfair that you have to register and attend a ceremony.

    Hope everything goes well for your day.

  41. You're right it is unfair, but they want to make it a happy occasion. If I lived closer to the consulate I'd be happier, especially in these poor economic times, it's a hardship for anyone without boatloads of cash to travel to attend a ceremony.

    Don't get me wrong, it'd be something to remember, the ceremony- just without spending so much to register.

    However people spin it, it's still blatant discrimination against British mothers, and a free ride for children of British fathers who don't have to jump through hoops and spend out of pocket. (I realize there's still bias against unmarried parents.)

    One day I'll look back on this and say, but after I "registered" they made the changes to be equal and fair!

    Thanks for the good wishes for the day!

  42. I hesitate to add my comments to this Maureen because my son has sort of betrayed the whole campaign by going through the registration process here in the UK. I think you know the reasoning behind it in that with his work he could possibly be sent anywhere in Europe for a length of time that would render the ILR stamp in his US passport null and void thereby incurring all sorts of problems with re-entry to the UK.

    So I'm afraid to say that he has gone through the very insulting citizenship ceremony here in Scotland which was an absolute farce but at least he's got his certificate and can now apply for the passport.

    However, I am still willing and very able to keep up the pressure whichever way is required to put a stop to the whole process because out of 9 people at the ceremony, my son was the only one registering and with a birthright. The other 8 were full immigrants.

    The fact that the official in charge of the ceremony kept asking why it had taken so long for Iain to become "LEGAL" just added fuel to the fire. Naturally she didn't know anything about our plight but it totally disgusted my daughter-in-law and I and it took a very great resolve not to jump on my soap box.

    That said I felt the whole ceremony was very patronising to those seeking naturalisation and I was very embarrassed throughout the whole thing.

    I am very sorry people overseas are having such a hard time with documentation. I sent in my birth certificate and my expired passport just to be on the safe side and I have to say that Iain's application took exactly six weeks without the need to contact any of the referees but then he has been resident in the UK for 35 years so I suppose that helped.

    Sorry for the ramble but just wanted to voice my support again to the campaign and to let you know that my son and I are still 100% behind those seeking to have the discrimination recognised and abolished.

    I was interested to read on Michael Turberville's website that Donald Trump is in exactly the same situation - his mother being from Scotland too. Pity we couldn't get him on board.


    1. Why not try to get Jay Leno on board instead? His mother was Scottish too and I remember a very funny story Leno wrote in his biography regarding this topic.
      When her mother applied for American citizenship she had to answer a number of questions asked by an immigration officer, the first of these being "What is the US constitution?". She answered "It's a ship" (getting confused with a local New England attraction...the USS Constitution) and until the day she died whenever someone knocked on the door she feared someone had finally decided to deport her back to Scotland!

  43. Elizabeth, I understand why some people such as your son, feel it's necessary to register rather than wait and see if the campaign for citizenship equality is successful. It's awful that this blatant discrimination is still ongoing and I greatly appreciate your offer to continue to suppport the campaign.

    I'm impressed with your ability to hold your tongue at the ceremony! It's bad enough that the ceremony is required but it must have been so much worse when the official kept asking such an insulting question!

    Yes, we could certainly use people such as Donald Trump on board the campaign. In the meantime, it's down to spreading the word as much as possible and putting pressure on MPs to correct this unjust law.

    Thanks for sharing the information about the documents you sent in and about your son's experience at the citizenship ceremony. And again, thanks for your offer to support the campaign. It's heartening to know I'm not alone.

  44. I can't believe that someone registering a claim to citizenship by birthright has to attend any ceremony at all. Birthright means birthright! Their "ceremony" was their own birth to a British mother, which we know they attended. And to single out those for this ceremony based on the gender of their British parent is even more absurd. It's so hard to believe that this sort of anachronism persists today.


  45. Hi Tony. It's unjustified discrimination, that's what it is. I refuse to accept this unfair route to citizenship. The "conditions" -registration and a ceremony - are intended for foreigners (those without a British parent!).

    It's disgraceful that all British parents don't have the same right to pass on "unconditional" citizenship to their chldren. Hence my campaign for citizenship equality.

  46. Isn't it also age discrimination because anyone born after 1982 acquires British citizenship regardless of the parent's gender? As far as I can see, the only group singled out for unfair treatment are people over the age of 29 who have a British mother (or am I wrong on this point?). To me, the age discrimination is as much an issue as the parental gender inequality when it comes to passing on citizenship.


  47. You're right Tony. It is age discrimination too. If my father had been British - or if I were younger - there would be no registration and no citizenship ceremony.

    There is one other group being discriminated against too: Children born before 2006 to unmarried British male citizens. In fact they are even denied the right to register.

    The right to claim British citizenship by descent (without conditions) should be for everyone, not just a select group.

  48. I agree entirely with your last point. Citizenship is the most basic right that a society can bestow. It should not be this arbitrary and discriminatory. When I looked into the Parliamentary discussions on the infamous Feb 7th 1961 date, no one seemed to know how that odd date was even chosen. Totally capricious it seems!

    Nobody who is a British citizen by birth should have to produce letters of "good" character, attend ceremonies, swear oaths etc. It's either a birthright or it's not, and if it's a birthright for some, then it should be for all.

    Is there anything that we in the now pre-1983 group (used to be the pre-8 Feb 1961 group!) can do to help you Maureen? Just maintaining this blog is such a valuable tool for these discussions, thank you so much. I've thought about writing to the MP for my mother's old constituency but I've know idea if that's a good idea. What do people think is the best approach? Wait until another citizenship/nationality bill comes up and hope to get this issue on the docket? I'm pretty clueless about British parliamentary lobbying.


  49. Laws regarding the transmission of citizenship (to children born abroad) are primarily designed to help minors and stateless adults. What the British Government has done by allowing adult children of British mothers to be registered as British Citizens (even if not stateless) is exceptional. Those seeking citizenship this way should be glad they have this opportunity, regardless of the difficulties involved.

  50. Maureen, there are very interesting documents from the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association which made numerous suggestions for reform prior to the 2009 Act. See for example

    At least one of their proposals that applies to us (doing away with the 7th Feb 1961 date) was accepted, but very interestingly, they question the very purpose of the Citizenship by Registration vs. Citizenship by "other than registration" distinction.

    Maybe this is the reform we should be pushing for (abolishing Citizenship by Registration) rather than piecemeal reforms of dates and gender-based rules that exist today. Anyone with a British-born parent should be simply British. If they want to limit the number of generations that a family living abroad can transmit citizenship, they could follow the American model.


  51. Wow. This comment by Anonymous is something else:

    Anonymous said...

    "Laws regarding the transmission of citizenship (to children born abroad) are primarily designed to help minors and stateless adults. What the British Government has done by allowing adult children of British mothers to be registered as British Citizens (even if not stateless) is exceptional. Those seeking citizenship this way should be glad they have this opportunity, regardless of the difficulties involved."

    Dear Anonymous, Your patronizing view about this issue only makes me all the more determined to fight for citizenship equality.

    This "opportunity" to be registered as British Citizens, certainly does not make me "glad". On the contrary, I'm disgusted with the way this important issue has been treated by MPs, and very angry that we are expected to accept unjustified discrimination. I for one, do not.

  52. Tony, thank you for your offer to help out. Writing to your MP would be helpful. Also, write to Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

  53. To the Anonymous above, what you write is quite wrong. The United States, for example, grants full citizenship from birth to children of any age of U.S. citizen parents, regardless of gender of the parent. Closer to home, the Irish government does the same thing, and that citizenship is transmissible for at least 2 generations.

    There is nothing exceptional about granting citizenship to foreign-born children of citizen parents, except for the gender and age discrimination, of course.


  54. Also, thank you for the other information Tony. I will look into that.

  55. Certificates of Entitlement to the Right of Abode were previously known as Certificates of Patriality, not Paternity, as a previous stated.

    The 1961 cutoff date was based upon a policy change announced by the Home Secretary in 1979. This is what was announced (written answer) in the House of Commons on 07 February 1979:

    MRS. JEGER asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he now proposes to take to help mothers born in the United Kingdom who cannot transmit citizenship to their children born overseas in the way that men can; and if he will make a statement.

    MR. MERLYN REES The Registration of minor children as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies under section 7(1) of the British Nationality Act 1948 is at my discretion. I have decided to make some alterations to the general policy in dealing with applications by women who were born in the United Kingdom and whose children born overseas are still minors. The practice hitherto has been to refuse registration if it appeared that the child was likely to live overseas or if, when the child was living in this country, the father had taken no steps to seek our citizenship for himself.

    In future, registration will not be refused on those grounds and a woman born in the United Kingdom will normally be able to have her child registered, subject to there being no well founded objection by the father--as there could be, for example, if registration would deprive the child of his or her existing citizenship. The notes for the guidance of intending applicants will be suitably amended.

    The whole question of transmisiion of citizenship in the female line will be a matter to be dealt with in future nationality legislation.

  56. I must comment to the "Anonymous" above who states that "I should be glad I have the opportunity" to gain my citizenship. I have a letter from the British Immigration Directorate, in response to an appeal I made to them, some fifteen years ago, to grant me the same rights as those of my three British-born siblings, so that I did not have to be separated from them on arriving in Britain, and be treated as an "ALIEN", which stated that if they grant the children of British mothers the same rights as British fathers, and I quote, "It would have gone against the theme of the 1981 Act and increased the number of citizens overseas.....". The Britsh Government then promptly passed legislation granting lifetime residence and working rights, to millions of European Union citizens. So please don't tell me that I should be "glad".

  57. I'm closing comments to this post now. I have created a website to focus on the citizenship issue and you are welcome to leave comments:


    1. my son was born in australia 1976 repatriated with me in that year and remained here until thyis day. he has now been told that because he was born before 1983 he is ineligible for his first british passport. and needs to jump through the very expensive hoop to get naturalised before he can do so we sre in aflat spin as you can imagine, so will definitely visit your site and anywhere elsefor help and support and to aid others, it seems very ageinst and sexist as well as draconian to me. bless your effoirts etc.x.

  58. I received my British citizenship (Certificate of Registration) under section 4c on 10th February 2011 as a result of recent changes to the British nationality act on 06th January 2010 (previously the British Nationality Act and citizenship law was amended to grant citizenship to those born after 07th February 1961. I have 2 children 10 and 12 and I would like to register them as British citizens. Since I have not lived in the past for 3 years continuous I cannot register them automatically they can only be registere at the discretion of the Home Office. They changed the law so late in our life that I never had the option to have them born in the UK - is that fair? How difficult is it to get a discretion to register them as british citizens?

  59. I received my British citizenship on October 4th through form UKM.

    For those who don't have their mother's passport, since my Mom passed away back in 1996, they accepted a photocopy of her death certificate. Hope this helps!

  60. is there any progress on this issue i just found out i currently have no citizenship and due to marry in 10 wks

  61. Hi everyone, Wow, reading some of the replies on here is amazing and answered a few of the questions i had so thank you! i just recently applied for my British Citizenship (UKM) and Passport that cost me R9278.00 but i have a while to go before i know the outcome. I was born in South Africa in 1975 and my mother was born in the UK but came over to SA with her family. My Grandfather was in the British Navy for over 30 years and my grandmother was an Usher for the queen but because of the Navy, he was shipped to South Africa in 1962. My Mom was 7 at the time and i actually have a newspaper clipping about the "big" event. They have lived here ever since. Now i want to immigrate to the UK with my children and i am stressing a little. My boss wants to know what the chances are that my application will be unsuccessful! How do i answer that? I don't want to think negative but is there a possibility it can be rejected? My eldest son applied for his Ancestral Visa and that cost me R31800.00 (i am still in shock) also still waiting for his outcome. My other kids have Portuguese passports so they are covered. Can anyone maybe help me get these negative thoughts out of my head?
    A fiancé just said something interesting to me now. "it is harder to prove that a man is the father without DNA testing and such, and it is easy to tell if a child is the mothers. So why not give the children equal rights to those who were born to British mothers? “
    Thank you all.

  62. Things are finally changing.


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