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MarylandNed Apr 4th 2014 1:25 pm

Re: Documents needed to prove UK citizenship for US born child

Originally Posted by monfed (Post 11201558)
Hi, a rather convoluted query but I would appreciate advice.

Wife is a USC, I am a UKC with LPR status.
In applying for a UK passport for our new US-born child, there is some confusion.

Essentially I need to prove that I am a British citizen not by descent, correct?
I was born in London to a British citizen father and non-British mother in 1988.

The requirements specify a need for my dad's birth certificate (Table D in the overseas passport app guidance notes), in order that they can prove he is British, passed it on to me, and thus that I am entitled to pass it on to my child (who will become British by descent). They also require the marriage certificate between my parents. (I understand this is because the father had to be married to the mother to transmit citizenship).

However, my dad is a naturalized UK citizen (naturalized in 1984). Rather than provide his birth certificate, as they suggest (difficult to do because he came from a rather undeveloped country), wouldn't it be more useful to provide his naturalization certificate (certified copy) as well as marriage certificate to my mother (1985)? This way, we actually prove where British citizenship originated, and how it was transmitted to me. His overseas birth certificate wouldn't demonstrate anything.

If we can't find the marriage certificate (the marriage was also overseas and it may be hard to track records in this undeveloped country), will my birth certificate demonstrating that both parents have the same surname suffice? Or am I stuck without my parents marriage certificate?

Perhaps I'm freaking out unnecessarily- after all, I have a UK passport and was born in London, so clearly I'm British otherwise by descent and should be able to transmit citizenship to my child, and all this proof is unnecessary.

You make a good point about your father's naturalization certificate - it really should suffice in place of a birth cert but it looks like they didn't think of that scenario when creating their list of required supporting documents.

I think consular birth registration is a good idea for your daughter so that she doesn't have to face this issue again later in life. I suggest that you email the British Embassy and make sure that your documentation is enough to obtain a consular birth cert for your daughter. You should get a reply within a couple of business days. The email address is [email protected]

The consular birth cert is pricey but if you register this year (2014) you will be able to obtain a much cheaper birth cert from about April 2015 from the GRO in the UK. Some people do consular birth registration but don't obtain the consular birth cert - instead they wait until they can get the cheaper one from the GRO. However, if you want to get a British passport for your daughter any time soon, you'll probably want to pay for consular birth registration and get the consular birth cert at the same time.

Also, note that plans are afoot to create a central consular birth and death registration unit in the UK.

JAJ Apr 5th 2014 5:01 pm

Re: Documents needed to prove UK citizenship for US born child

Originally Posted by MarylandNed (Post 11204263)
Practically speaking, the OP's passport is stand-alone evidence of his British citizenship. It's not designed to be stand-alone evidence of how he obtained British citizenship - which is the issue in question here.

Of course, passports can be forged and have also been issued in error. But if you use that argument against passports being stand-alone evidence of citizenship, then you'd have to use it against every document. In which case there is no definitive stand-alone evidence of anything.

It's a valid point. A passport normally does act as evidence of citizenship on a day to day basis. The reasons why it's not the best evidence of citizenship are numerous: 1. It has an expiry date; 2. Risk of being issued to a non-citizen by mistake is higher than would be the case for citizenship certificates (but risk is still low), 3. much more likely to be lost or stolen, 4. passport services record keeping is usually not as good as, for example, birth registration agencies.

Is there any single stand-alone document that works? If citizenship has been acquired by administrative action (such as naturalisation) the resulting certificate is as close to conclusive evidence as it's possible to have. If citizenship is acquired by a process of law then any certificate is still contingent on that process of law having taken effect, and could in theory be deemed invalid - although this is very unlikely. Which is why it's usually best to have passport + citizenship document + (if citizenship depends on a process of law) documents evidencing that process. It's unlikely to be needed for most people but the consequences of being unable to prove citizenship can be serious. Someone else used the analogy of title insurance.

monfed Apr 6th 2014 7:19 pm

Re: Documents needed to prove UK citizenship for US born child
Interesting discussion, guys! Thanks for the input.

So, the marriage certificate has surfaced... but in its original language, and I am told by my parents that it was never officially translated. How on earth did they get me a passport, without fully proving their marriage?!!! (My first British passport was obtained in 1989, before my mother naturalised).

Guess I'll have to get it translated officially.

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