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Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Old Nov 22nd 2023, 4:48 pm
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Default Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Hi All,

I would be grateful for any comments or suggestions that might shed light on my possible claim for British Citizenship (and then Passport) given the following:
.
  1. I was born in Malaysia, 1960s to a British-born father and a Malaysian-born mother
  2. My birth certificate shows my Father's full name, his 'Race' as British, my Mother's maiden name, etc.
  3. Father (now deceased) was born in the UK (1920's) to British-born parents, i.e, my paternal grandparents (1800's).
  4. I've obtained official copies from GRO of my father's birth cert, both his parents' birth certs and his parents' marriage cert. Father's name on his birth cert exactly matches my name on my birth cert.
  5. I do NOT (the crux of my problem) have my parent's marriage certificate. They were married sometime in the 1950s in a rural area in Malaya, where there was presumable minimal administrative record keeping.
  6. Father was a British Army officer during WW2, mostly in Burma and then India. Sometime after the war during the early 1950s, he ended up in Malaysia ('Malaya' back then) and married my mother (no official records). I don’t know if he was in Malaysia still under Crown service (Army) then or simply as a civilian. I recall his stories of leading/assisting the local (inexperienced) authorities in their actions against the communist guerilla insurgency during that time, so he was possibly still under Crown service (I have no evidence of this yet). My parents remained married until they passed away from age.
  7. I have old expired Malaysian passports with British certificates (vignettes):
    1. Certificate of Patriality with a May1981 date, referencing 2(1)(b)(i). Father was responsible for obtaining that. I don't know what he had to provide to the British High Commission.
    2. Certificate of Entitlement to Right of Abode, (CoE) with Apr 2001 date, referencing 2(1)(b) - no (i)
    3. Sometime around 2006(?), the certs were no longer automatically transferable upon passport renewals and required full application for Cert of Entitlement. Since I did not have their marriage cert, I did not bother with it anymore.
Fast forward to today: I naturalized as a US citizen a few months ago. Since CoE is not possible for non-Commonwealth (US) passports, I'm looking to obtain British citizenship (and passport). I'm confused as to whether I might be considered British already and hence should apply for a passport directly or whether I should apply using form UKF.

My amateur reading of the laws (see below), seems to imply that the previous 'Right of Abode' implies citizenship(?).


BNA 1981: (Latest available, (Revised)): (sorry I can't post a link - the forum does not allow new users to post links until after 5 posts!)

Meaning of British citizen (by descent). (bold/emphasis are mine and non-relevant items truncated)

14 (1)
For the purposes of this Act, a British citizen is a British citizen “by descent” if and only if
(a)…or
(b) subject to subsection (2), he is a person born outside the United Kingdom before commencement who became a British citizen at commencement and immediately before commencement—
(My note: I'm confused here. The above item says 'before commencement', but refers to subsection (2) which only covers 'after' commencement. A contradictory reference?
(i) …or…
(ii)…or…
(iii) had the right of abode in the United Kingdom by virtue only of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 as then in force (connection with United Kingdom through parent or grandparent), or …
…the above section 14(1)(b)(iii) references 1971 Act below:

Immigration Act 1971: (Latest available, (Revised)):

2
. Statement of the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
(1) A person is under this Act to have the right of abode in the United Kingdom if—
(a)…or…
(b) he is a Commonwealth citizen who—
(i) Immediately before the commencement of the British Nationality Act 1981 was a Commonwealth citizen having the right of abode in the United Kingdom by virtue of section 2(1)(d) or section 2(2) of this Act as then in force; and
(ii)has not ceased to be a Commonwealth citizen in the meanwhile.
(2) In relation to Commonwealth citizens who have the right of abode in the United Kingdom by virtue of subsection (1)(b) above, this Act, except this section, shall apply as if they were British citizens; and in this Act (except as aforesaid) “British citizen” shall be construed accordingly.
Many thanks.

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Old Nov 23rd 2023, 8:07 am
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Default Re: Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

You are automatically British by descent but your issue, as you have correctly identified, is evidencing your parents’ marriage. Does your birth certificate indicate they were married at the time of your birth?
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Old Nov 24th 2023, 5:58 pm
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Default Re: Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Thanks for reading my lengthy message and for your subsequent question.

I looked at my Malaysia birth certificate in detail and unfortunately, there were no fields pertaining to my parents' marriage status. The field related to mother's name was specifically titled 'Mother's Maiden Name,' hence no association with a father's last name.

Since my original message post. I've spoken to staff at the UK Passport Office, who after several escalations to higher levels of expertise, told me I had a potential claim (which I already know), but they could not say whether it was an automatic claim or if I have to go through the registration process. They referred me to the UK Visa & Immigration office for further assistance and gave me their phone number. I then called UKVI and the agent tried her best to find an answer, but after suggesting several scenarios and putting me on hold a few times, said she didn't have an answer and advised I send an email to their citizenship support group and gave me an email address. When I asked if it would be simpler for me to just submit form UKF since I couldn't provide any historical proof of my parent's marriage, she was quite adamant in saying 'no' and again suggested I email UKVI. At this point, I'm quite certain whatever response I receive from UKVI will reiterate the usual 'check the Nationality Checker tool.' I'm curious if others in this forum who have emailed UKVI with questions have ever received case-specific responses for their inquiries instead of standard templated language to check 'online tools'.

In summary, both the Passport Office and UKVI phone staff have not in my opinion, made the deeper effort to determine whether my prior 'Patrial' and CoE certs are sufficient substitutes for missing/non existant(?) parents' marriage certificate or whether a British High Commission may have as part of standard practice, 'registered' me when my late father handled the paperwork for my Patrial certificate in 1981.

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Old Nov 29th 2023, 11:31 am
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Default Re: Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

If you are unable to prove that your parents were married, you can make make the application.
Provide proof of paternity and your father British citizenship and grand parents.
It is an online application and being that you seem to have all the relevant documents, it would be the best option.

Last edited by Akias1; Nov 29th 2023 at 11:34 am. Reason: added more info.
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Old Nov 29th 2023, 11:07 pm
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Default Re: Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Are you aware of whether your father registered your birth with the British High Commission? An application to search for a consular birth certificate at the GRO might strike gold.

https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/
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Old Dec 1st 2023, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Thanks everyone, for your replies. I certainly appreciate your suggestions and references.

I received an email response yesterday from UKVI and as expected, and no fault of theirs, they could not provide an actionable suggestion as to whether it would be appropriate for me to submit a passport application directly or if I ought to proceed with registration first, given the set of supporting documents available to me

So, an alternative question I would like to ask here is whether there are any negative repercussions for submitting a form, say UKF, only for it to be rejected because my documents may indicate I am already automatically a citizen, or vice versa, apply for a passport directly and get rejected and then apply /w form UKF? I seem to recall reading somewhere that if an application is rejected, there will be an explanation provided.

Ironically, it would be less costly for me to file UKF, and if denied due to already being British, then file directly for passport then it would be with any other option including filing form NS (confirmation of British citizenship).or engaging legal expertise. I'm just not sure what complications might arise from having an application rejected. Thoughts?





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Old Dec 1st 2023, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: Automaticaly British or need to register by filing form UKF?

Originally Posted by CoverDrive6
Thanks everyone, for your replies. I certainly appreciate your suggestions and references.

I received an email response yesterday from UKVI and as expected, and no fault of theirs, they could not provide an actionable suggestion as to whether it would be appropriate for me to submit a passport application directly or if I ought to proceed with registration first, given the set of supporting documents available to me

So, an alternative question I would like to ask here is whether there are any negative repercussions for submitting a form, say UKF, only for it to be rejected because my documents may indicate I am already automatically a citizen, or vice versa, apply for a passport directly and get rejected and then apply /w form UKF? I seem to recall reading somewhere that if an application is rejected, there will be an explanation provided.

Ironically, it would be less costly for me to file UKF, and if denied due to already being British, then file directly for passport then it would be with any other option including filing form NS (confirmation of British citizenship).or engaging legal expertise. I'm just not sure what complications might arise from having an application rejected. Thoughts?
There will be no complications nor with it negatively affect the other.
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