British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Old Jan 11th 2023, 5:01 pm
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Default British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Hi All

I’m looking for some advice on the following application for registration as a British citizen,
which forms would I need to use?
I have paid for advice from an immigration specialist and was told that this is a possible route but that an application like this has yet to be approved.
Am I correct in assuming that the relevant section of the British nationality act for my paragraph is section 4C (registration through mother) and not section 4L (acquisition through registration)
if anyone could comment on improvements or changes to my reason/arguments it would be much appreciated.

My paternal grandmother,
Born in the United Kingdom,
August 1920

Married my paternal grandfather in 1945 (born in Namibia)

My father
born in South Africa, 1951
Would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies by descent through his mother had it not been for gender discrimination.
British nationality act 1981, section 4C

My Mother
born Southern Rhodesia,1953
Married my father, 1975,
and would have been a British citizen of the United Kindom and Colonies by registration, marriage to a British Citizen, had it not been for gender discrimination,
British nationality act 1981, section 4L (28 June 2022) (2) acquisition by registration.

I was born in Zimbabwe in 1979 and would have been registered as a British Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent through my mother had it not been for gender discrimination, British nationality act 1981, section 4C,
due to her potential status as a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies by registration had it not been for gender discrimination.
British nationality Act 1981, section 4L acquisition by registration.

Last edited by Mat79; Jan 11th 2023 at 6:52 pm.
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Old Jan 13th 2023, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by Mat79 View Post
Hi All

I’m looking for some advice on the following application for registration as a British citizen,
which forms would I need to use?
I have paid for advice from an immigration specialist and was told that this is a possible route but that an application like this has yet to be approved.
Am I correct in assuming that the relevant section of the British nationality act for my paragraph is section 4C (registration through mother) and not section 4L (acquisition through registration)
if anyone could comment on improvements or changes to my reason/arguments it would be much appreciated.

My paternal grandmother,
Born in the United Kingdom,
August 1920

Married my paternal grandfather in 1945 (born in Namibia)

My father
born in South Africa, 1951
Would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies by descent through his mother had it not been for gender discrimination.
British nationality act 1981, section 4C

My Mother
born Southern Rhodesia,1953
Married my father, 1975,
and would have been a British citizen of the United Kindom and Colonies by registration, marriage to a British Citizen, had it not been for gender discrimination,
British nationality act 1981, section 4L (28 June 2022) (2) acquisition by registration.

I was born in Zimbabwe in 1979 and would have been registered as a British Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent through my mother had it not been for gender discrimination, British nationality act 1981, section 4C,
due to her potential status as a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies by registration had it not been for gender discrimination.
British nationality Act 1981, section 4L acquisition by registration.
Where and when were your maternal grandparents born? Where were your great grandparents born? Is your father alive and also wants to claim off marriage or are you only interested for yourself?

For your father, I have read that the Home Office has not agreed with some of the claims made under the new legislation by spouses (your father) that rely on a gender discrimination claim (but not others, depends on how exactly its claimed).


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Old Jan 14th 2023, 9:15 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Thanks for the response.
My Maternal grandparents were both born in South Africa unfortunately, so no help there.
great grandparents on maternal and paternal sides are British.
Both of my parents are alive, my fathers claim is a standard claim under section 4C, British mother.
My mothers claim has to be under section 4L, acquisition by registration, according to advice received.
my claim is ‘non standard’ and I was wondering if my reasoning is sound or if I would be wasting time with an application like this?
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Old Jan 16th 2023, 9:55 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

I would focus on your claim rather potential routes for your parents unless they are also making applications to register as British citizens.

Your best route to citizenship is likely to be applying to be registered under Section 4L using Form ARD.

When completing the box regarding historical unfairness you should lay out that, had the law at the time treated men and women equally, then your father would’ve automatically become a CUKC by descent under S.5(1) BNA 1948 and that being so he would’ve been able to register your birth with a British consulate within one year of your birth thus making you a CUKC under S.5(1)(b) BNA 1948.

Subsequently as a CUKC with right of abode in the UK under S.2(1)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act 1971 (UK-born grandparent) you would’ve automatically become a British citizen on 1 January 1983 under S.11(1) BNA 1981.
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Old Jan 16th 2023, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
I would focus on your claim rather potential routes for your parents unless they are also making applications to register as British citizens.

Your best route to citizenship is likely to be applying to be registered under Section 4L using Form ARD.

When completing the box regarding historical unfairness you should lay out that, had the law at the time treated men and women equally, then your father would’ve automatically become a CUKC by descent under S.5(1) BNA 1948 and that being so he would’ve been able to register your birth with a British consulate within one year of your birth thus making you a CUKC under S.5(1)(b) BNA 1948.

Subsequently as a CUKC with right of abode in the UK under S.2(1)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act 1971 (UK-born grandparent) you would’ve automatically become a British citizen on 1 January 1983 under S.11(1) BNA 1981.
Was Zim a foreign country under 5(1)(b)? Zim is confusing, which is why I ask.
I think it was an independent Commonwealth country still listed in BNA 1948 1(3) and not removed from 1(3) until Independence Day, which was after his birth. So then 5(1)(d) is the route for 1(3) applicants and he would not have been able to register since he was a Southern Rhodesian citizen by birth? Even if that's the case, it seems there is a potential unfairness claim in the transitional registration arrangements in the Independence Acts.
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Old Jan 23rd 2023, 11:47 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by jmin View Post
Was Zim a foreign country under 5(1)(b)? Zim is confusing, which is why I ask.
I think it was an independent Commonwealth country still listed in BNA 1948 1(3) and not removed from 1(3) until Independence Day, which was after his birth. So then 5(1)(d) is the route for 1(3) applicants and he would not have been able to register since he was a Southern Rhodesian citizen by birth? Even if that's the case, it seems there is a potential unfairness claim in the transitional registration arrangements in the Independence Acts.
Good catch. I wonder however that as the OP was born in Southern Rhodesia and his father was born in South Africa then he may well have been a CUKC by descent automatically under S.5(1)(a) as a result of UDI and therefore can still apply for registration using Form ARD.
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Old Jan 23rd 2023, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by Mat79 View Post
Thanks for the response.
My Maternal grandparents were both born in South Africa unfortunately, so no help there.
great grandparents on maternal and paternal sides are British.
Both of my parents are alive, my fathers claim is a standard claim under section 4C, British mother.
My mothers claim has to be under section 4L, acquisition by registration, according to advice received.
my claim is ‘non standard’ and I was wondering if my reasoning is sound or if I would be wasting time with an application like this?
When you say your great-grandparents on your maternal and paternal side are British, does that mean that they were all born in the UK?

What year was your paternal grandfather born in Namibia?

If your paternal grandfather was born in Namibia after 17/12/1920 and your paternal great-grandfather was born in the UK, then your own father is already a British citizen.

Back to your own case, being born in Zim complicates matters because it was not a foreign country. As BritInParis mentions, we have to see how UDI would have applied to you.


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Old Jan 27th 2023, 8:32 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Hi, please could I get some advise also pre 1983.
My sister was born in SA in 1982.
My Mother was born in Zim in 1960 (she recently got citizen through her UK born mother).
My father was born in Northern Rhodesia in 1954.
Parents were married in 1979.
maternal grandmother born in UK (1931)
maternal grandfather born in Zim (1924)
both paternal grandparents were born in SA.

How would my sister argue that had it not been for gender unfairness, that she would be British today?
And would my father be able to claim citizenship through my mother (married pre1983)?

Thank you

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Old Jan 27th 2023, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by Mrheeder View Post
Hi, please could I get some advise also pre 1983.
My sister was born in SA in 1982.
My Mother was born in Zim in 1960 (she recently got citizen through her UK born mother).
My father was born in Northern Rhodesia in 1954.
Parents were married in 1979.
maternal grandmother born in UK (1931)
maternal grandfather born in Zim (1924)
both paternal grandparents were born in SA.

How would my sister argue that had it not been for gender unfairness, that she would be British today?
And would my father be able to claim citizenship through my mother (married pre1983)?

Thank you
British citizenship by marriage ended in 1949 so I don’t think your father would have a claim on that basis but your sister could claim on the basis that had her mother been a British citizen by descent when she was born then she could’ve been registered at a British consulate within a year of her birth.
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Old Feb 1st 2023, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
British citizenship by marriage ended in 1949 so I don’t think your father would have a claim on that basis but your sister could claim on the basis that had her mother been a British citizen by descent when she was born then she could’ve been registered at a British consulate within a year of her birth.
Sable has submitted applications arguing that under the new nationality act (certain) spouses are eligible to make claims through a pre-1983 marriage to a British citizen (or someone who could have been British) and a paternal grandmother or maternal grandparents born in the UK. I believe this is where this question and several others posted over the last month are coming from. The spouse making the claim generally has to have been born in a foreign country. They claim this also means children under 18 can register as citizens. It appears that the Home Office is not accepting (most) of these types of claims, but Sable is attempting to reverse this.

Other variants of the claim:
Parents married before 1983, wife was born in the UK (or one or both of her parents) -> husband has a claim (This route appears not to have been challenged by the Home Office).
Parents married before 1983, husband's father born in the UK, husband not British at time of marriage -> wife has a claim as do any children under 18
Parents married before 1983, husband's mother born in the UK (or his maternal grandfather or a grandmother), husband was or could have been British - >wife has a claim + any children under 18
Marriage before 1983, husband's father born in the UK, husband not British at time of marriage -> wife + children under 18 have a claim.

Edit: I believe I know the basis for Sable's claims, at least as far as those that apply to husbands. They must be arguing that due to gender discrimination the spouse was not able to register under BNA 1981 8(1-3). There was a five year transitional registration period so it is possible that the Home Office's initial position will be reversed.

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Old Mar 24th 2023, 7:30 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

A friend’s mother received the message below yesterday. A couple of days before the six month deadline. Strikes me as somewhat peculiar since her grandmother was British - straightforward Section 4L application. Any other similar experiences or perhaps just reflective on the Home Office’s backlog? Thanks!

We aim to process all applications within 6 months from the date submitted. However, in certain circumstances this target is not possible. Following our assessment of your case, unfortunately it appears your application will not be processed within the 6 month target.

This is because your application raises exceptionally complex issues and we require further time to consider your case thoroughly and reach a decision.
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Old Mar 24th 2023, 9:27 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Originally Posted by carl_robson View Post
A friend’s mother received the message below yesterday. A couple of days before the six month deadline. Strikes me as somewhat peculiar since her grandmother was British - straightforward Section 4L application. Any other similar experiences or perhaps just reflective on the Home Office’s backlog? Thanks!

We aim to process all applications within 6 months from the date submitted. However, in certain circumstances this target is not possible. Following our assessment of your case, unfortunately it appears your application will not be processed within the 6 month target.

This is because your application raises exceptionally complex issues and we require further time to consider your case thoroughly and reach a decision.
The ‘complex case’ excuse more often than not is used as an excuse when the Home Office fails to meet its SLA due to backlogs rather than as a result of actual complexities. That being said we have been seeing nationality applications processed very quickly of late and without knowing the details of the application then it’s possible it could be genuine in this case.
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Old Mar 24th 2023, 10:45 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

Thank you! Will keep you posted!
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 9:20 am
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Default Re: British Citizenship by discretion (pre 1983)

BritInParis Out of curiosity, are you aware of any adults who have been able to register as British citizens, after their parent was granted citizenship under Section 4L, due to them having a British-born grandparent (i.e. the applicant’s great-grandparent)?

I understand that it’s now possible for children of such individuals to register but it seems somewhat ironic (given the purpose of Section 4L) that age alone would prevent adults from the same treatment?

I imagine the Home Office would argue that it’s ‘a proportionate means to achieving a legitimate aim’, but I struggle to see what that legitimate aim would be in this context. Children born outside of the UK would be granted citizenship by descent, just as any adults would be, so it’s effectively ‘righting to wrongs of the past’ on an even level as I see it.

I’m sure there must be cases where individuals who have recently received citizenship have children who are say 17 and 19 and only one of them can benefit from the change. Seems rather unfair for the 19 year old!
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