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UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Old Sep 12th 2022, 8:03 am
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Thumbs up UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

There appears to be a serious lack of public information about the options for Commonwealth and South African (and possibly other countries) Citizens to Register for British Citizenship by Double Descent via non-standard routes. Some published articles on the subject of double descent are very limited in scope, by covering just the main routes available under UKM via double descent - with no mention of non-standard routes. So readers googling can easily find these types of articles and so quickly come to the conclusion that their case has no hope. Some hopeful people do not stop there, but submit posts on various forums including immigration specific forums and often quickly receive negative responses from people who have read those articles and who reinforce their messages. This is what happened to me just a week or so ago. This is not a new problem. People have asked for guidance on various forums about this subject over several years and just one example is BrisbaneBrit back in 2019. Like me they have received negative answers because the responders are simply unaware that non-standard routes are available.

The problem is even deeper and wider than that. In recent days I have corresponded with immigration law firms that claim to specialise in Registration for British Citizenship by Double Descent and it is clear from their messages to me that they have zero experience and working knowledge of non-standard routes.

So it is likely more than a few hopeful people have given up on their aspirations to Register for British citizenship due to insufficient information being readily available.

This post is not meant to suggest that non-standard routes are for everyone or even for many people. The purpose of this post is simply to summarise my own experiences and to highlight why it is easy to be mislead on the subject of non-standard routes, I have learnt that there are non-standard routes available and therefore no enquiries should be drawn to a close until advice is also sought and obtained from people who are aware of non-standard routes and the requirements to satisfy non-standard routes. People from Commonwealth countries and from South Africa have used UKM via double descent quite easily to Register and obtain British Citizenship. I hope this encourages some people who otherwise might not have continued with their own enquiries.

Last edited by w0mbat; Sep 12th 2022 at 8:12 am.
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Old Sep 12th 2022, 8:46 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Hi, welcome to BE.

Luckily, we have some amazing people on this forum who are incredibly knowledgeable. I'm not one of them, but I do know from reading their excellent posts that the law has only very recently changed to make a lot of previously ineligible people eligible, so I suspect it'll take a while for info on the internet to catch up.
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Old Sep 12th 2022, 9:35 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Yes Christmasoompa, you are right! The non-standard routes that were already available for years when combined with the latest and more universal law changes will result in many happy applicants .
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Old Sep 14th 2022, 8:53 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

I continue to read posts making blanket statements saying that Romein does not apply to Commonwealth citizens. This is not entirely correct and therefore can be misleading .... because people born in for example Australia to Australian born parents have succeeded to use UKM to obtain BC based on Romein. So Commonwealth citizens should not automatically assume Romein has no value in their case. In some limited cases it certainly can and has been used prior to the very recent law changes which should potentially open up more pathways for Commonwealth born applicants. Here is an example from Australia:
1. The applicant was born before 1983 in Australia and is an Australian citizen.
2. The applicants mother was also born in Australia. Note: The Australian born mother had no right to British citizenship at birth by any route (birth or descent) since her parents and all grandparents (and even great grandparents) were born in Australia.
3. The applicants parents married before 1949 and this marriage was prior to the applicants own birth.
4. The applicants father was born in Australia to a UK born father. Therefore the applicants father was entitled to British citizenship by descent. The applicants father was also entitled to the right to abode in the UK.
5. (Perhaps it could also be argued using Romein and/or the most recent law changes that it is sufficient for the applicants father to be born to a UK born mother - and not necessarily a UK born father - because the UK born grandmother (the applicants fathers mother) was previously unable to pass citizenship or the right to abode by descent to the applicants father. I am not aware of anyone saying they have applied in these circumstances, relying only on a UK born paternal grandmother. )
6. The applicants mother obtains the right to British citizenship by marriage before 1949 to the applicants father - who as stated in point 4 has the right to British citizenship by descent from his own UK born father (the applicants paternal grandfather). Note the applicants mother has become entitled to British citizenship by right through marriage, not by descent.
7. The applicants mother - prior to Romein - was unable to pass the citizenship she obtained by marriage to her child/ren by descent - including to the applicant. .
8. So in summary and in these specific circumstances the applicant applies under UKM citing Romein and the Commonwealth born applicant is granted British citizenship by descent from their mother.

As you can see, this is a non-standard route but it certainly works... which means that blanket statements saying Romein does not apply to Commonwealth citizens is probably correct in most cases but definitely not in all cases.
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Old Sep 14th 2022, 10:38 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Originally Posted by w0mbat
I continue to read posts making blanket statements saying that Romein does not apply to Commonwealth citizens. This is not entirely correct and therefore can be misleading .... because people born in for example Australia to Australian born parents have succeeded to use UKM to obtain BC based on Romein. So Commonwealth citizens should not automatically assume Romein has no value in their case. In some limited cases it certainly can and has been used prior to the very recent law changes which should potentially open up more pathways for Commonwealth born applicants. Here is an example from Australia:
1. The applicant was born before 1983 in Australia and is an Australian citizen.
2. The applicants mother was also born in Australia. Note: The Australian born mother had no right to British citizenship at birth by any route (birth or descent) since her parents and all grandparents (and even great grandparents) were born in Australia.
3. The applicants parents married before 1949 and this marriage was prior to the applicants own birth.
4. The applicants father was born in Australia to a UK born father. Therefore the applicants father was entitled to British citizenship by descent. The applicants father was also entitled to the right to abode in the UK.
5. (Perhaps it could also be argued using Romein and/or the most recent law changes that it is sufficient for the applicants father to be born to a UK born mother - and not necessarily a UK born father - because the UK born grandmother (the applicants fathers mother) was previously unable to pass citizenship or the right to abode by descent to the applicants father. I am not aware of anyone saying they have applied in these circumstances, relying only on a UK born paternal grandmother. )
6. The applicants mother obtains the right to British citizenship by marriage before 1949 to the applicants father - who as stated in point 4 has the right to British citizenship by descent from his own UK born father (the applicants paternal grandfather). Note the applicants mother has become entitled to British citizenship by right through marriage, not by descent.
7. The applicants mother - prior to Romein - was unable to pass the citizenship she obtained by marriage to her child/ren by descent - including to the applicant. .
8. So in summary and in these specific circumstances the applicant applies under UKM citing Romein and the Commonwealth born applicant is granted British citizenship by descent from their mother.

As you can see, this is a non-standard route but it certainly works... which means that blanket statements saying Romein does not apply to Commonwealth citizens is probably correct in most cases but definitely not in all cases.
The case you describe doesn’t appear to be a Romein application. The Romein judgement applies to children born to British by descent mothers in non-Commonwealth countries who were unable to register their children born before 1983 as citizens which was an option for British fathers by descent at the time. If the mother in your example obtained her citizenship by marriage prior to 1949 then it’s a ‘standard’ 4C registration application as her children would’ve automatically become British citizens by descent if women were able to pass on their citizenship in the same way as men prior to 1983.
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Old Sep 16th 2022, 9:58 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Hi BritInParis . Thanks for yur comments. I am told mine is a 12(5) application:
Section 12(5) of the British Nationality Act confers Citizenship of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) to a woman married to a CUKC man before 01.01.1949 if the woman was a British Subject. Recent changes to remedy anti gender discrimination of woman in the older nationality legislation now means that such woman can pass their British nationality to children born after 01.01.1949. So an application for British nationality can be made in the modern day where:
  • the applicant was born after 01.01.1949;
  • the applicant's paternal grandfather (i.e. father's father) was born in the UK (including Scotland and Northern Ireland);
  • the marriage of the parents must have taken place before 01.01.1949; AND
  • The mother must have been a British Subject (this can happen in several ways, but the most common are by birth in a former British territory, or having a father born in a former British territory).
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Old Sep 16th 2022, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Originally Posted by w0mbat
Hi BritInParis . Thanks for yur comments. I am told mine is a 12(5) application:
Section 12(5) of the British Nationality Act confers Citizenship of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) to a woman married to a CUKC man before 01.01.1949 if the woman was a British Subject. Recent changes to remedy anti gender discrimination of woman in the older nationality legislation now means that such woman can pass their British nationality to children born after 01.01.1949. So an application for British nationality can be made in the modern day where:
  • the applicant was born after 01.01.1949;
  • the applicant's paternal grandfather (i.e. father's father) was born in the UK (including Scotland and Northern Ireland);
  • the marriage of the parents must have taken place before 01.01.1949; AND
  • The mother must have been a British Subject (this can happen in several ways, but the most common are by birth in a former British territory, or having a father born in a former British territory).
That's not a Romein application and as BritInParis mentions, Romein applies to children born in non-Commonwealth countries to mothers who were British citizens by descent. Sometimes people are confused with Romein because certain Commonwealth countries were not always 'in' the Commonwealth when the birth occurred (South Africa).

Instead, these new 'routes' have to do with this year's changes to the nationality laws that address historical legislative unfairness/gender discrimination. Many more people are now eligible to register, although depending on what year you were born, this is either a 4C or 4L registration.

It's not a 12(5) application as you are registering by either BNA 1981 4C or 4L. Your mother was a CUKC by BNA 1948 12(5).
12(5) "A woman who was a British subject immediately before the date of the commencement of this Act and has before that date been married to a person who becomes, or would but for his death have become, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of any of the foregoing provisions of this section shall on that date herself become such a citizen."

What your firm is doing is using this year's nationality law changes to say that if not for gender discrimination your mother could have registered you.

You make a good point about it being confusing to understand if you're eligible or not and if so, how you are eligible.

It would not be particularly difficult for the Home Office to create a tool that told you if you are eligible to register as a British Citizen (or are already one), how you are eligible, and then to generate a form with the applicable arguments and a document checklist. Instead, the tool they do offer (Am I a British citizen?) is for very standard cases. Not having such a tool is a deliberate choice since If they created a comprehensive tool, they would have more applicants. More applications would lead to more citizens. As a result, only the most determined applicants apply for the more complicated cases (and/or those who have money to engage firms to apply on their behalf).

There is a relatively comprehensive eligibility tool that has been created by a UK company. They are attempting to market it to immigration firms and some organizations that aid people inside the UK with applications. So while British nationality law is complex, it can be incorporated into a comprehensive tool. Such a tool should be widely and freely available.
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Old Sep 19th 2022, 9:08 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Hi Jmin,

Thank you for your post!

With regards to your comment:
"Instead, these new 'routes' have to do with this year's changes to the nationality laws that address historical legislative unfairness/gender discrimination. Many more people are now eligible to register, although depending on what year you were born, this is either a 4C or 4L registration."


Yes, I have also read there will be many more people now entitled to apply for Registration based on the recent law changes you refer to. However, some non-standard cases relying on the descent through the mother were succeeding some years ago after Romein even when the applicant was a Commonwealth Citizen. The affects of Romein were pretty wide apparently and not just limited to non-commonwealth applicants. Maybe I am comparing chalk and cheese by using the below example, but perhaps it is relevant. For anyone who is eligible using my particular details then they do not need to be concerned about how the recent law changes might be applied in their case. Below is an example of a successful application back in 2018 (from a different forum) after the Romein decision and using similar details as I provided in my earlier post in this thread:

"Eligibility: ... my case is non-standard. Both my parents were born in Australia and only my paternal grandfather was UK born. However, my parents married before 1.1.49, when my father became a CUKC by descent (under BNA 1948) and my mother, through marriage, became a CUKC other than by descent. I was born after 1949 (and before 1983), so acquired right of abode in the UK from my grandfather, and when section 4C of BNA 1981 was amended in 2010 to end gender discrimination, I could acquire British citizenship through my mother (section 4C(5) confirms her status as a citizen otherwise than by descent).”


It was that posted message about a successful application that started me on the search for a similar non-standard route. I am very grateful that person posted their story. I have seen others as well. Sometimes they specifically reference Romein as the decision that opened this particular non-standard pathway presumably in as much as it contributed to the 2010 amendment.

Here is another message I am simply copying from a successful 2018 (post Romein) applicant:
"For children born to British mothers by descent, outside of the UK, they could acquire citizenship if the birth was registered within 1 year. The Supreme Court ruled in February, 2018 (Romein case )basically, the standard for registering a birth within one year was not applicable to children born to British mothers by descent between 1949 and 1983. I don't know the intricacies of the ruling, but basically, the idea was that although the Nationality Act of 1981 changed the way women could pass on citizenship to their children, Those children born between 1949 and 1983, would not have been registered, as the laws in effect at that time did not allow women who were British by descent to pass that on to their children.

The UKM guidance for the home office was changed to reflect this.

"Persons born between 1 January 1949 – 1 January 1983
Where you are considering whether a person who was born outside the UK between 1 January 1949 – 31 December 1982 (inclusive) to a British mother you must disregard the requirement that their birth must have been registered with a UK consulate in the 12 month period after their birth."

So its on that basis including the Romein decision that non-standard applications similar to mine have been succeeding since later in 2018. I am not sure if this is helpful info or not but it certainly encouraged me.

Be that as it may, I did use the free online tool from a certain immigration law firm that claims to test against hundreds of different routes and that process also 'confirmed' eligibility via this non-standard route. I have read of applicants that tested their eligibility via that free online tool and who later submitted their (non-standard) applications without legal representation and had success. I agree the free availability of such an online tool should be advertised by the UK government as we are talking about eligibility by right and the absence of simple mechanisms to check eligibility must surely deter many applicants. It was for this reason I started this thread, as non-standard cases (from my own reading of press articles) do not get sufficient attention and clarification to meaningfully assist interested people who might have a right.
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Old Sep 19th 2022, 11:22 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Originally Posted by w0mbat
Hi Jmin,

Thank you for your post!

With regards to your comment:
"Instead, these new 'routes' have to do with this year's changes to the nationality laws that address historical legislative unfairness/gender discrimination. Many more people are now eligible to register, although depending on what year you were born, this is either a 4C or 4L registration."


Yes, I have also read there will be many more people now entitled to apply for Registration based on the recent law changes you refer to. However, some non-standard cases relying on the descent through the mother were succeeding some years ago after Romein even when the applicant was a Commonwealth Citizen. The affects of Romein were pretty wide apparently and not just limited to non-commonwealth applicants. Maybe I am comparing chalk and cheese by using the below example, but perhaps it is relevant. For anyone who is eligible using my particular details then they do not need to be concerned about how the recent law changes might be applied in their case. Below is an example of a successful application back in 2018 (from a different forum) after the Romein decision and using similar details as I provided in my earlier post in this thread:

"Eligibility: ... my case is non-standard. Both my parents were born in Australia and only my paternal grandfather was UK born. However, my parents married before 1.1.49, when my father became a CUKC by descent (under BNA 1948) and my mother, through marriage, became a CUKC other than by descent. I was born after 1949 (and before 1983), so acquired right of abode in the UK from my grandfather, and when section 4C of BNA 1981 was amended in 2010 to end gender discrimination, I could acquire British citizenship through my mother (section 4C(5) confirms her status as a citizen otherwise than by descent).”


It was that posted message about a successful application that started me on the search for a similar non-standard route. I am very grateful that person posted their story. I have seen others as well. Sometimes they specifically reference Romein as the decision that opened this particular non-standard pathway presumably in as much as it contributed to the 2010 amendment.

Here is another message I am simply copying from a successful 2018 (post Romein) applicant:
"For children born to British mothers by descent, outside of the UK, they could acquire citizenship if the birth was registered within 1 year. The Supreme Court ruled in February, 2018 (Romein case )basically, the standard for registering a birth within one year was not applicable to children born to British mothers by descent between 1949 and 1983. I don't know the intricacies of the ruling, but basically, the idea was that although the Nationality Act of 1981 changed the way women could pass on citizenship to their children, Those children born between 1949 and 1983, would not have been registered, as the laws in effect at that time did not allow women who were British by descent to pass that on to their children.

The UKM guidance for the home office was changed to reflect this.

"Persons born between 1 January 1949 – 1 January 1983
Where you are considering whether a person who was born outside the UK between 1 January 1949 – 31 December 1982 (inclusive) to a British mother you must disregard the requirement that their birth must have been registered with a UK consulate in the 12 month period after their birth."

So its on that basis including the Romein decision that non-standard applications similar to mine have been succeeding since later in 2018. I am not sure if this is helpful info or not but it certainly encouraged me.

Be that as it may, I did use the free online tool from a certain immigration law firm that claims to test against hundreds of different routes and that process also 'confirmed' eligibility via this non-standard route. I have read of applicants that tested their eligibility via that free online tool and who later submitted their (non-standard) applications without legal representation and had success. I agree the free availability of such an online tool should be advertised by the UK government as we are talking about eligibility by right and the absence of simple mechanisms to check eligibility must surely deter many applicants. It was for this reason I started this thread, as non-standard cases (from my own reading of press articles) do not get sufficient attention and clarification to meaningfully assist interested people who might have a right.

Thanks to decolonisation British nationality law is extremely complex, by far the most complex in the world, and so although there will always be exceptions I think we need to put to bed the notion that the Romein judgement applies to those born in Commonwealth countries or that persons able to register as British citizens under Section 4C are doing so under a ‘non standard’ route. This wasn’t the case for you nor have been able to provide any other successful examples.

In any case the recent addition of Section 4L to BNA 1981 essentially supersedes Romein as it attempts to provide a blanket approach to remedy historical gender discrimination and will open up a whole raft of novel routes for those not previously eligible for British citizenship.
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Old Sep 20th 2022, 2:00 am
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

12(5) "A woman who was a British subject immediately before the date of the commencement of this Act and has before that date been married to a person who becomes, or would but for his death have become, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of any of the foregoing provisions of this section shall on that date herself become such a citizen
This is where one of my questions comes up. Wasn't every woman who married a British subject before 1949 a British subject automatically because of the marriage? Why do they say "married before 1949" and also a British subject? Isn't that redundant?
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Old Sep 20th 2022, 12:24 pm
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Default Re: UKM Double Descent for Commonwealth and SA Citizens Is Possible

Originally Posted by LDL707
This is where one of my questions comes up. Wasn't every woman who married a British subject before 1949 a British subject automatically because of the marriage? Why do they say "married before 1949" and also a British subject? Isn't that redundant?
No, it's not redundant.

Consider the case of a woman who marries a man who is a British subject. She becomes a British subject due to the marriage by BNA 1914 10(1).
The woman could have ceased to be a British subject between the time of the marriage and when BNA 1948 came into effect. The man, on the other hand, did not cease to be a British subject. She would not become a CUKC by BNA 1948 12(5). This is more than theoretical as there are loss provisions in BNA 1914 (foreign naturalization, declaration of alienage).

Or consider the case of two aliens that are married. The man subsequently applies for a certificate of naturalization and becomes a British subject. If the naturalization certificate is granted after the end of 1933, the woman does not automatically become a British subject but has a period of 12 months to declare that she also wishes to acquire British nationality. If she does not make such a declaration, she is not a British subject by virtue of being married to a British subject. She then would not become a CUKC by BNA 1948 12(5), despite being married to a British subject.

Last edited by jmin; Sep 20th 2022 at 12:32 pm.
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