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The Border, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009: what now?

31 May 2010

The Border, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 was devised by the previous government to amend the 1981 British Nationality Act with a clear intention to make it harder for migrants to qualify  for British nationality by  increasing the length of time  spent in the UK, reducing the allowed days of absences and  adding new requirements.  In a nutshell, the Act sees the qualifying period increasing to 8 years under section 6(1) and for those applying on the basis of their marriage/civil partnership  (and relevant relationship) to 5 years. It also introduces a new category of leave known as "probationary citizenship" whose length may be increased by civil or criminal  offences and reduced by voluntary community services.

However, the Act was accompanied by an undertaking not to implement the new legislation until July 2011 and for those applicants who are already in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain to have transitional arrangements in place until July 2013.

The new Government has so far not issued any clear guidance in connection with the future of UK immigration and the 2009  Act except the intention to place a cap on "economic migrants".  Thus, it is open to debate whether the Act will be scrapped or indeed amended to make it even more difficult to qualify in the interim months.

Meanwhile some part of the Act 2009 have entered into force such as the provisions relating to applicants born overseas to British mothers before 1983 who will now be able to register as British irrespective of when they were born (previously only those born after 1961 could register).  Section 3(2) has also been amended so  that children of British citizen by descent  can apply for registration  before their 18th birthdays (previously the deadline was 12 months  by  right and 6 years by discretion). Finally,  a child born in the UK to a parent who is serving in the British  armed forces will be able to register as British.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.