Immigration Corner | Am I eligible for British citizenship?
Dear Mr Bassie,
I was born in the United Kingdom (UK) but I have not lived there. Is it true that I am eligible for British citizenship? I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could provide on this issue.
Persons may be eligible to apply to 'register' as a British citizen if they were born in the UK, but it will depend on when those persons were born and their parents' circumstances.
If persons were born on or after January 1, 1983, those persons may be eligible if either they are under 18 years of age and since their birth one of their parents had become a British citizen or obtained permission to stay in the UK permanently; or persons had lived in the United Kingdom until they were 10 years or older.
Persons do not need to apply as they would be automatically deemed a British citizen if they were born in the UK on or after January 1, 1983, and born when one of their parents was a British citizen or 'settled' over there.
A parent would consider to be settled in the UK if they had one of the following:
- Indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
- Indefinite leave to enter the UK.
- A permanent residence document, if they were an EU citizen.
In such cases, persons can apply for a UK passport instead, or ask for a letter confirming their citizenship.
However, they may not be automatically eligible for British citizenship if their father was a diplomat working for a non-UK country, or the father was 'an enemy alien in occupation' and that person was born in the Channel Islands during World War 2.
As previously stated, if persons are under 18 years of age, they can register to become a British citizen only on the condition that one of their parents did any of the following after they were born:
- Became a British citizen.
- Obtained indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
- Obtained indefinite leave to enter the UK.
- Obtained a permanent residence document, if they were an EU citizen.
Please note that persons must have been born in the UK and be under 18 years old when applying.
The application should be made by completing form MN1, and it is advisable to read the guidance pertaining to the form prior to completing it. It should be noted that if the correct documents are not provided with the application, the application could be delayed or refused without a refund.
ONLINE OR POST
The application can either be made online or by post. To make the application by post, persons should download and fill in application form MN1 and a payment slip. The form, payment slip and all documents should be sent to the correct address for the country that the applicant resides in.
If persons resided in the UK until they were 10 years of age, they are able to register to become a British citizen if all of the following are true:
- They were born in the UK on or after January 1, 1983.
- They lived in the UK until they were 10 years of age.
- When persons were born, neither of their parents was a British citizen, had indefinite leave to remain (or enter) or had a permanent residence document.
Persons must not have spent more than 90 days outside of the United Kingdom in each of the 10 years of their life. Persons should explain on the form, if there are special reasons, that they had spent more time outside of the UK. Persons should make the application using form T and should read the guidance prior to completing it. Also, if the correct documents are not provided, the application could be delayed or refused without a refund.
The application can either be made online or by post. To make the application by post, persons should download and fill in application form T and a payment slip. The form, payment slip and all documents should be sent to the correct address for the country that the applicant resides in.
The cost to apply for either application is £012, and if the applicant turns 18 years old during the application process, he/she will need to pay £80 for the citizenship ceremony. Also, if the wrong fee is sent with the application, it will not be processed and the application will have to be made again.
For both applications, persons must also pay £19.20 to have their biometric information, that is fingerprints and a photo, taken. The applicant will be advised how to do this after the application has been made.
Completed applications should be sent to:
UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office)
UK Visas and Immigration
The Capital Building
New Hall Place
I hope this helps.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org