Becoming British

Nationality by automatic aquisition and Right of Abode

British nationality law provides that many people automatically acquire British citizenship by law without having to make any form of application. If you have British citizenship by Automatic Acquisition then you will have the right to enter and reside in the United Kingdom free of immigration restrictions.

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Requirements

What are the main eligibility requirements for British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition?

In order to qualify for British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition you will need to show that you are a British citizen by operation of law.

The most common ways to automatically acquire British citizenship by law are:

  • To have been born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth either your mother or your father was a British citizen or settled in the UK;
  • To have been born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth either your mother or your father was a British citizen otherwise than by descent; or
  • To have been born before 1 January 1983 and immediately before that date to have been a Citizen of the UK and Colonies with a right of abode in the United Kingdom.

What else do you need to know

What else do I need to know about British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition?

British nationality law can be complex. Your precise circumstances are different to those of every other person. This means, for example, that you may have a claim to British citizenship by Automatic Acquisition even if one or more of your siblings has not.

You will need to show that you were:

  • Born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and your mother or your father was settled in the UK at the time of your birth; or
  • Adopted in the UK as a child on or after 1 January 1983 and one of your adopters was a British citizen at the time of your adoption; or
  • Found abandoned as a new-born infant in the UK on or after 1 January 1983; or
  • Born in the UK on or after 13 January 2010 and your mother or father was a member of the armed forces; or
  • Born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and your mother or your father was a British citizen otherwise than by descent at the time of your birth; or
  • Born outside the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth your mother or father was a British citizen serving outside the UK in a qualifying service having been recruited for that service in the UK; or
  • Adopted outside the UK as a child under a Convention adoption on or after 1 January 1983 and one of your adopters was a British citizen at the time of your adoption and the adopters were habitually resident in the UK at the time of your adoption; or
  • Born in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • Adopted in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • Naturalised as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • Registered as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies in the UK before 1 January 1983; or
  • A Citizen of the UK and Colonies immediately before 1 January 1983 and were born to or adopted by a parent who at the time of your birth or adoption was a Citizen of the UK and Colonies by birth, adoption, naturalisation or registration in the UK; or
  • A Citizen of the UK and Colonies immediately before 1 January 1983 and at any time before then had been settled in the UK and at that time had been ordinarily resident in the UK for five years while a Citizen of the UK and Colonies; or
  • A Commonwealth citizen immediately before 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth or adoption your mother or father (or adoptive parent) was a Citizen of the UK and Colonies by birth in the UK.

The term ‘father’ has a specific definition in British nationality law and this definition has varied over time. It is therefore essential to confirm your precise circumstances as the person you consider to be your father may or may not be recognised as your father for the purposes of British nationality law.

British citizenship by descent is also defined in British nationality law. If you were born outside the UK it is essential to confirm the basis on which your parents acquired their British citizenship.

In relation to the above summary, the UK includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and from specific dates certain qualifying territories.

How our immigration lawyers can help

Photo of Sarah Rogers, founder of Immigration Advice Centre

Sarah Rogers

Founder of IAC

Our immigration lawyers have experience assisting with all types of nationality matters. Whether you are looking to apply for a first British passport for you or your child, or have recently been refused a British passport having held one throughout your life, our lawyers will guide you through the complexities of British nationality law.

We can help you with as much or as little advice and assistance as you need with tailored packages or individual services giving you flexibility to chose all the assistance you need when you need it. You’ll also have the benefit of access to our innovative client portal, giving everything you need at your fingertips.

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I have been using Immigration Advice Centre ... I have been using Immigration Advice Centre in Middlesbrough since I moved to England five years ago. The staff very friendly, helpful and provided fantastic service. I would highly recommend them to anyone who struggles to get their head around a visa application. Special thanks to Jan, Liam and colleagues for helping me to get my indefinite to remain visa. Ainur Sabirova
I have received an excellent service… I have received an excellent service from you guys. Thanks a lot Jan and colleagues. Well done Marian Udegbune
Top quality service time and again It has been my pleasure to have known and used this service on four occasions now. The fact that I keep coming back tells a story. My wife and son now live with me here in England and it could never have happened were it not for the quality of service we received from Jan at the Immigration Advice Centre in Middlesbrough. They have never failed to meet my expectation, well done. Andrew Somerville
Brilliant Service Brilliant service, really helpful and friendly staff. Would recommend to anyone Struggling to get their head around a visa application Stu
I cannot praise this company enough I cannot praise this company enough, my husband and I had great service. All staff were professional, friendly, helpful and always kept us timeously informed of the progress of the application for citizenship from start to finish. Thank you so much again to the centre. Also last thought very reasonable. Kathleen Dumont

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