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Registering child born in USA as UK Citizen from parent's UK citizenship via descent

Registering child born in USA as UK Citizen from parent's UK citizenship via descent

Old May 22nd 2013, 11:25 pm
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Lightbulb Registering child born in USA as UK Citizen from parent's UK citizenship via descent

The thread (http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=709371) I posted in, is now closed as it is quite old but I have further questions.

As you know, life gets the better of you, time rolls on...and you put off doing those important document things!

Only now am I renewing my two eldest kids' (both below 10 years old) passports. They were both born in UK and have full UK birth certificates and UK passports. (Paperwork done, get photos counter-signed and mail it off in the next day or two — yay!)

My youngest (not quite five yet) was born in the USA. We haven't done anything in regards to her British heritage yet.
I have UK Citizenship (Section 4C) through my mother who was born in UK. (The law changed in 2003 that you could now get citizenship through your mother if you were born between 1961 and 1983 ). I lived in UK from end of 2000 to around middle 2007. I am married to a USA citizen, who has no right of abode in UK anymore as her visa ended, and we have all been here in the USA since July 2007.

I realise that my child can be registered as a British citizen under section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act, as i have fulfilled the requirements to pass on citizenship to her, even though I got mine through descent.
Under section 3(5) of the British Nationality Act, she can get citizenship other than by descent (so, she can then pass UK citizenship to her children).
On page 10 of the MN1 Guide, it says that
To qualify under this section the child and their mother and father should have lived in the UK for a three year period ending with the date the application is received.
And the child and their parents should be physically present in the UK or a British overseas territory at the start of that period.
The child and their parents should not have been absent from the UK (or the British overseas territories if appropriate) for more than 270 days during the 3 year residential period.
There is no discretion to disregard absences greater than 270 days.
I lived in the UK for seven years and my wife lived in the UK for three years (maybe just shy of that, not sure). She actually came to the UK before we were married but I am guessing the three year requirement is either:
  • from our marriage date
  • applied to both of us separately from when we arrived in the UK at different dates
  • or, is it only applied to me as I am the British citizen...?
It says "mother and father should have lived in the UK for a three year period". Now I am confused

Does that mean we have to move back to the UK and reside there for at least another three years, and then apply under section 3(c) so my child can get her UK citizenship?
Is it worth it to wait and (hopefully) go back before she reaches 15 and get her citizenship that way or just go ahead now and get it done and dusted under section 3(2)?

At the moment we have no idea where life is leading us and we might never go back to UK...or...we might decide in a few years to get some "culture" and go back. So many unknowns...!

I've tried to be as detailed as possible so hope some folks on these forums can give their thoughts, recommendations, advice, pros/cons etc. Thanks!
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Old May 23rd 2013, 12:37 am
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Default Re: Registering child born in USA as UK Citizen from parent's UK citizenship via desc

Forget section 3(5) registration if the child hasn't lived in the United Kingdom/Territories for 3 years.

You've not told us the date you became a British citizen under section 4C. This is important information.

If you lived in the U.K. from 2000-07, did you not consider naturalisation rather than 4C registration? That would have given British citizenship otherwise than by descent. Or your wife could have naturalised before leaving ...
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Old May 23rd 2013, 12:58 am
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Default Re: Registering child born in USA as UK Citizen from parent's UK citizenship via desc

I became a UK Citizen in July of 2003.

I was in the UK on a student visa (2001) and was denied changing to a religious visa. Went home to South Africa and returned in 2002 on an Ancestry visa. Funnily enough, I could only get that through my (maternal) grandparents and not my mother. I was doing the four year Ancestry visa route and then the law changed in 2003 that enabled me to get citizenship through my mother. I got citizenship in 23 days from applying and 12 days after that got my precious red "gold" - the UK passport! 35 Days in total. Wow! Wow! Wow!

In hindsight, we regret leaving the UK when we did as my wife only had one year to go to have Indefinite Leave to Remain. Sadly, she changed from Religious visa to Spousal visa and so she "lost" time from being in the UK. We should have applied for Spousal visa from the get-go. Anyway...there's nothing we can do about that.
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Old May 23rd 2013, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Registering child born in USA as UK Citizen from parent's UK citizenship via desc

So you've got a choice. Register her now as a British citizen by descent under section 3(2) of the Act, or if you return to the U.K. before she is 15, she may at a future date be registered under section 3(5). If the law is the same, etc.

To help you decide the options, perhaps consider the following:

1. If her future is in the United States, does it really matter if the next generation isn't British? (because they will be American?)

2. If her future is in the United Kingdom, then shouldn't her children should also be British. Or able to become British fairly easily. Even if she is a British citizen by descent. For example, if she settles in Britain, won't her children probably be born there?
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