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Changes to the law on citizenship

09 November 2009

The UK Border Agency recently announced that the British nationality law under the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 will be implemented on 13 January 2010.

The British Nationality Act 1981 will be amended to include the following changes:

· Children born in the United Kingdom to a parent in the armed forces will automatically acquire British citizenship;

· Children born overseas to those in the armed forces will be entitled to register as a British citizen if:

  • he or she was born to a Foreign and Commonwealth member of the United Kingdom armed forces; and
  • that parent was serving outside the United Kingdom at the time of birth; and
  • both parents consent to the registration.

· Children of British citizens by descent will now be able to register at any time before a child's reaches the age of 18;

· British Nationals (Overseas) will be allowed to register under section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 if they do not hold any other citizenship or nationality. A person will not qualify under this section if they have done anything after 19 March 2009 that resulted in the loss of another nationality.

· A person who has a British mother will now have the right to register as a British citizen under section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • he or she was born before 1 January 1983; and
  • he or she would have become a British citizen if women had been able to pass on citizenship in the same way as men at that time.

The changes to the requirements for naturalisation known as the 'earned citizenship' provisions will be implemented in the summer of 2011.

It is not possible to make an application on the basis of the above rules prior to 13 January 2010.

Until the changes are implemented the current application forms and guidance notes remain valid.

For further information regarding Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 and how it might affect your situation please contact one of our registered advisors on 020 3384 3075.


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.