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Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Old Oct 10th 2015, 8:22 pm
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Default Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Hello
Has anyone ever applied to change nationality from British by descent to British otherwise than by descent? My OH and I are both British and when my daughter was born we were living in in the EU - so she is British by descent. My concern is that she has no other nationality to pass onto her children if she moves abroad at a later date. We returned to the UK a couple of years ago and I think that I need to address this now whilst she is still a child. I can't get a definitive answer from the UK Border Agency. I have tried to explain the situation to a couple of citizenship solicitors and the fact that I have to explain the difference is not filling me with confidence. So I was wondering if anyone has dealt with this already and can tell me what they did.
Thanks
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Old Oct 11th 2015, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Originally Posted by LivingHere View Post
Hello
Has anyone ever applied to change nationality from British by descent to British otherwise than by descent? My OH and I are both British and when my daughter was born we were living in in the EU - so she is British by descent. My concern is that she has no other nationality to pass onto her children if she moves abroad at a later date. We returned to the UK a couple of years ago and I think that I need to address this now whilst she is still a child. I can't get a definitive answer from the UK Border Agency. I have tried to explain the situation to a couple of citizenship solicitors and the fact that I have to explain the difference is not filling me with confidence. So I was wondering if anyone has dealt with this already and can tell me what they did.
Thanks
No, her status is fixed. Unless you or your husband were working in Crown, community (EU) or designated service when your daughter was born then she is British by descent. You cannot change this by application.

If she has any children born overseas then they will inherit the citizenship of their father and/or the country in which they were born if that country permits citizenship by jus soli, i.e. the United States or Canada. Also as the law stands if your daughter spends three continuous years living in the UK before her children are born overseas then those children can be registered as British citizens by descent before they turn 18. If she lives with the children in the UK for three continous years before they turn 18 then they can be registered as British otherwise by descent.

This is assuming British nationality law doesn't substantially change in the next 30 years or so.

Last edited by BritInParis; Oct 11th 2015 at 12:18 am.
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Old Oct 11th 2015, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Thank you for a clear answer. Sending you karma
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Old Oct 12th 2015, 12:16 am
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

I should also mention that if either you, her father or any of her grandparents were born anywhere on the island of Ireland then your daughter would also be eligible for Irish citizenship which can be passed on ad infinitum providing each generation is registered before the next one is born. For all practical purposes holding Irish citizenship is as good as being a British citizen if someone wants to reside in the UK.
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Old Oct 12th 2015, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

I know that about Ireland, and it is a possibility. I actually get quite irate about the whole thing. OH was working as a crown servant but we aren't married and at the time she was born she had to take citizenship from me. Her brother who was born in the same room, in the same hospital two years later can take her Dad's nationality because the law changed to allow unmarried fathers to pass on their nationality. We moved back to the UK when she was six and have no plans to move away but she is 'different' to her siblings.

My biggest concern is one of two 'what if's'. What if she has children born outside of the UK and the father also is British by descent? I know that every child has the right to a nationality but after living in a country that has turned bureaucracy into an Olympic sport I want things to be as simple as possible for her. When she was born I couldn't register her with the equivalent of the NHS until she had a passport. Secondly, what if the law does change and she is further restricted?

Do you know what is classed as proof that she has lived in the UK for three years? Does it have to be three years after she has turned 18, or can I secure that proof for her now?

Thanks and sorry for all the questions.
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Old Oct 12th 2015, 8:27 pm
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Originally Posted by LivingHere View Post
I know that about Ireland, and it is a possibility. I actually get quite irate about the whole thing. OH was working as a crown servant but we aren't married and at the time she was born she had to take citizenship from me. Her brother who was born in the same room, in the same hospital two years later can take her Dad's nationality because the law changed to allow unmarried fathers to pass on their nationality. We moved back to the UK when she was six and have no plans to move away but she is 'different' to her siblings.
I suspect your problem would be solved if you simply married. S.47(1) BNA 1981 states:

A person born out of wedlock and legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents shall, as from the date of the marriage, be treated for the purposes of this Act as if he had been born legitimate.
Therefore if you were to marry then your daughter would be legitimated back to the time of her birth and your husband's Crown service would come into play meaning your daughter would go from being British by descent, S.2(1)(a) BNA 1981, to being British otherwise than by descent, S.2(1)(b) BNA 1981.

Did you ever have your daughter's birth registered with the FCO? If not then doing so after you married with evidence of your husband's Crown service should see her consular birth certificate returned stating her entitlement as S.2(1)(b) BNA 1981.

My biggest concern is one of two 'what if's'. What if she has children born outside of the UK and the father also is British by descent? I know that every child has the right to a nationality but after living in a country that has turned bureaucracy into an Olympic sport I want things to be as simple as possible for her. When she was born I couldn't register her with the equivalent of the NHS until she had a passport. Secondly, what if the law does change and she is further restricted?
The 'worst case scenario' of being born stateless would only occur if the child was born outside in the UK in a country which doesn't permit citizenship by jus soli to parents who were both British by descent, held no other citizenship and weren't in Crown or similar service. Even in that scenario the three continuous years residence requirement would be waived if necessary and the child could still be registered as a British citizen. The UK has signed and ratified the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness so it is highly unlikely that they would reverse the current legal situation and allow a child born overseas to a British parent to become stateless.

Do you know what is classed as proof that she has lived in the UK for three years? Does it have to be three years after she has turned 18, or can I secure that proof for her now?
Any continuous three year period would suffice so you could start collecting documentation now to save for the future if you decide not to marry. For adults it's usually tax documentation showing that you have been employed in the UK for the relevant period. For children things like school records are your next best bet.

Thanks and sorry for all the questions.
No worries.
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Old Oct 12th 2015, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

[QUOTE=BritInParis;11770365]I suspect your problem would be solved if you simply married

Are you my mum in disguise?

Thank you again, we have a lot to think about now.
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Old Oct 12th 2015, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Changing British by descent to british otherwise than by descent

Originally Posted by LivingHere View Post
Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
I suspect your problem would be solved if you simply married


Are you my mum in disguise?

Thank you again, we have a lot to think about now.

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