Children of British Mothers Eligible for UK Passports

There is good news on the horizon for children born and raised outside the UK who are direct descendants of British mothers. Amendments to the British Nationality Act 1981, recently introduced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will have a considerable impact for newly eligible individuals across the globe.

Until now the status quo has meant children of British citizens by descent born abroad can only be registered under section(3)2 of the Act if an application is made within 12 months of the child’s birth. Occasionally it has been allowed within the first six years, in cases where the Home Secretary provides permission. The new amendments, not yet signed into law, will now allow an application to be made at any time before a child reaches the age of 18, allowing the child the right to British nationality and a UK passport.

“Visa and Immigration service advisory group 1st Contact has noted that the newly eligible can not make an application on the basis of the aforementioned changes until they have officially become law by January 2010”

An additional condition also provides a path citizenship. The UK Border Agency has announced that a person who has a British mother currently has a right to register as a British citizen under section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 if he or she was born between 7 February 1961 and 1 January 1983. In a final crucial move to make British nationality by registration an option to those who previously could not apply due to maternal lineage, citizenship can be obtained by applicants who would have become British citizens if women had been able to pass on citizenship in the same way as men between the aforementioned dates. This is now extended to those born prior to 7 February 1961.

Visa and Immigration service advisory group 1st Contact has noted that the newly eligible can not make an application on the basis of the aforementioned changes until they have officially become law by January 2010.

“When the changes have become law, we will make application forms and guidance notes available for all those eligible”

“When the changes have become law, we will make application forms and guidance notes available for all those eligible,” confirmed Stephen Atkinson, 1st Contact’s expert immigration consultant at the company’s UK office.

“The amendment to the Act now extends the provisions of the British Nationality Act to those born before 1961,” Atkinson added. “This has considerable impact especially in Southern Africa, where there previously was no option to migrate to the UK.”

When the amendments come into force, those born to a UK citizen mother outside the UK prior to 1961 may also register as a British citizen, thus entitling them to a UK passport and access to the EU.

For extra information and advice, please contact 1st Contact Visas.

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  • Dahnae Bethell

    My son was born In south africa in 2007 so is therefore south african. I(his mother) is a british citizen, Can I apply for his british pasport?
    Thx alot for your assiatance

  • Robyn

    Hi Dahnae,

    The laws regarding eligibility for a British Passport based on birth to a British Citizen (based on a foreign national having a British mother) vary depending on how the British Citizenship was originally obtained, either by birth or naturalisation etc.
    It would be best to contact us on or call us toll free on 0800 003 163 for to provide you with the correct advice.


  • John William Elliott

    I am 64 years of age and was born (1946) in South Africa and have lived here all my life. My mother and her parents were born in the UK.
    My mother was a WREN serving in Egypt during the war where she married my father who is South African.
    Do I have the right on the basis of her being born in the UK to claim British citizenship?
    I look forward to your reply.

    John Elliott

  • Chareen Rae

    As my parents and myself have used 1st Contact to gain entry to the UK, I am hoping for assistance with our query.
    My South African born mother was legally adopted in South Africa at age 3 in 1953 by a British mother. They lived in the UK between 1955 and 1957 and then returned to South Africa. My mothers adopted father would have been British by descent as his parents moved to South Africa from the UK 1 year before his birth. Would my mother be eligible for British Citizenship as an adopted child of a British mother and if so, which form of British Citizenship would it be. Also, what would the process be to gain this. My mother currently lives in the UK and is here on an Ancestry Visa, however, she seems to be registered on the various government systems here and qualifies for benefits that only British Citizens are entitled to i.e. winter fuel allowance for persons over 60. We don’t know where to go to find out how she has ended up on the system but have been advised that she must have been registered shortly after the adoption as she would not qualify for these benefits on a visa. Any information will be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

    Kind regards

  • Ruffick

    I am 49 years of age and was born (1963) in India. My mother was registered as a british subject under British Nationality Act 1948 section 6(2). She also registered all her children at their time of birth in British High Commision in 1966. At the time of my birth both of my parents were Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. As my father was born in Mauritius and according to the law of Mauritius he took Mauritius Passport. But my mother was a British citizen till her last breathe.

    Do I have the right to apply for Registration as a British Citizen by a person born before 1983 to a British Mother (UKM).

    Waiting for your Advice.

    Many thanks.

    Kind Regards


  • Kelly

    Hi Ruffick

    Based on the information provided, there appears to be no standard route to british Nationality, In these cases, we prefer to perform a UK Status Trace. This involves researching your family situation and providing a written, multi-page report setting out our findings. This will give a final and definitive answer as to whether you and your direct family (parents, siblings, partner or children) have a valid claim or not.

    This research involves sighting the relevant family documents (like birth and marriage certificates) and then determining the Nationality status of each of your family members over the years.

    I hope that you can understand that we cannot give a more definitive answer to your question at this stage, particularly on such an important subject where the consequences can be so profound.

    If you are interested in pursuing this further, please let me know.

    Kind Regards

  • Nirvana Para

    I am helping my nephew (Born October 6th 1982 in India) apply for his
    British citizenship through descent/ UK-born mother. I will refer to him as ‘the applicant’. I am trying to find out what are the steps we need to take to accomplish this.

    -Applicant’s mother is UK-born (June 11 1961)

    -We are unclear on her father/applicant’s grandfather’s exact immigration status while in England at the time of her birth in June 1961 except that he held a British passport.

    We have unfortunately lost his British passport and other papers and also he has passed away.

    Applicant’s maternal Grandfather’s details are:
    – passed away now
    -Born on 4.1.1936 in Kenya Protectorate (in Kisumu; district of central Nyanza
    in the province of Nyanza )
    -Always held a British passport ONLY and never applied for another citizenship
    and/or passport
    -Entered Kenya in August 1960 and soon after went to England to live for a
    few years at which time he apparently applied for something – either
    naturalization or citizenship (his wife is unsure).

    Applican’t maternal grandmother’s details:
    -Date of birth 1.12.1939/India
    We do have the Indian passport from that time i.e. 1960, which she
    traveled on to UK.

    UK-born applican’t mother’s details are:
    -Born in England/UK June 11 1961
    We do have her UK birth certificate copy and the original has been lost.

    Applicant’s maternal grandmother’s 3 other siblings also were in
    UK in or around that time and their related documents can be located.

    Soon after the applicant’s mother’s birth in the UK, the family returned to
    India and remained there.

    Could you please advise as to:
    -what paperwork is required for us to apply for the applicant’s
    -since we do not have any paperwork pertaining to British connection besides a
    copy of the mother’s birth certificate, how we would go about requesting this
    paperwork from the British govt.
    -what help can your organization provide? And are results guaranteed not as far as the final goal but for atleast acquiring the relevant documents?

    I very much appreciate your time and any assistance in this matter ! Thank you.

  • Ruth

    I am a UK citizen. I left the UK when I was 29 years old and worked abroad. I now reside in the USA, married to a USA citizen. Our twins were born in 2005 in the USA and are USA citizens. Can I obtain UK passports for my children?

    • 1st Contact

      Hi Ruth,

      If you were born in the UK and your children were born after 1983 then we can assist you with British Passport applications for your children.

  • Nadim


    My wife she is now 29 years old, her mother has BRITISH passport, my wife she born in INDIA, is there a way to get BRITISH passport for my wife based on a mothers passport.


    • 1st Contact

      Hi Nadim,

      Was your wife’s mother born in the UK?

  • Rik Johnson

    Hi 1st Contact.

    I will try to simplify this as much as possible.

    Mother..Born In Wales

    Father ( I never knew him as he left when I was very young) Believe he was Dutch

    Myself, Born in Australia in 1960

    Can I get British Citizenship?

    (I have limited info on my parents other than what is on my Australian Birth Certificate(

    Thank you

    • 1st Contact

      Hi Rik,

      Based on the fact that your mum was born in the UK, you will be able to register as a British citizen. Once you have gained citizenship, you may then apply for a British passport.

      • Rik Johnson

        Awesome, Thank you very much. Is there someone I can contact to work out how to go about this? I have just located my Mothers Welsh Birth Certificate also.