Lawrencia on Immigration Law
Prior to the commencement of the British Nationality Act 1981children born in the UK acquired British Citizenship at birth. This changed on the 1st of January 1983 when the British Nationality Act 1981 commenced.
Currently, there are different routes by which a person born in UK can attain British Citizenship Status. This article will focus on registration as a British citizen of a migrant who was born here on or after 1st of January 1983 and has resided here for 10 years or more.
Section 1(4) of British Nationality Act 1981 as amended states that “A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement who is not a British Citizen by virtue of subsection (1),(1A) or (2) shall be entitled, on an application for his registration as a British citizen made at any time after he has attained the age of ten years, to be registered as such a citizen if, as regards each of the first ten years of that person’s life, the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in that year does not exceed 90.”
Subsection (1) refers to children born in the UK to a British Citizen or settled parent at the time of their birth. Subsection (1A) refers to children born to a parent who is a member of the armed forces and subsection (2) refers to abandoned children in the UK.
Invariably, if an individual does not acquire British citizenship at birth under Section 1(1), (1A), or (2) that person is entitled to be registered as a British if he can show that;
• he was born in the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983;
• He is at least 10 years old on the date of application ;
• He has lived in the UK for the first 10 years of his life;
• He has spent no more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom in each of the first 10 years of their life; and
• The Secretary of state is satisfied that they are of good character.
It is important to note that under Section 1(7) of the British Nationality Act 1981 discretion may be exercised by the Home office (UKBA), if an absence from the UK in any given year exceeds the 90 days.
Araba was born in UK in 1999 to Ghanaian parents who do not have leave to remain in the UK. She has lived in UK since she was born. She is now 12 years old. In 2001, she travelled to Ghana for 100 days.
Araba can apply to be registered as a British citizen. She satisfies all the requirements apart from the residency criterion. In her application, she will have to explain any special circumstances why she spent more than 100 days in Ghana in 2001. Discretion under Section 1(7) may be exercised to disregard the extra days she spent in Ghana. The fact that her parents have no leave to remain should not affect her application.
It should be noted that registration under Section 1(4) gives British citizenship otherwise by descent. This basically means that if Araba’s application is successful, she can automatically pass on her citizenship to her children born outside UK.
The application should be made on a specified application form supported with relevant documents. Specified application fees must also be paid to the Home Office.
An oath of allegiance and pledge may have to be taken at a citizenship ceremony if the applicant made the application as an adult and the application is successful. In addition, if the applicant make the application as a minor but becomes an adult at the time of decision, an oath of allegiance and pledge may have to be taken at a citizenship ceremony.
It is important to ensure that you satisfy the requirements before an application is made.
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on UK immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information.
Lawrencia Afful is a solicitor. She is a member of the Law Society Immigration and Asylum accreditation scheme. She is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (UK). She can be contacted by email or phone. email; firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: +44 (0)7983972538, +44 (0)7508 106 568.