Visas update: Children of unmarried British fathers born before 2006 can now claim British citizenship

As of 6 April 2015, section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014 came into force making provisions within the British Nationality Act 1981 to allow anyone who was born before 1 July 2006, regardless of age, to apply for British citizenship through a UK-born father. We look at what this change means for you.

British passport map

Before 1 July 2006, those born to British fathers could only claim British citizenship if their parents were married.

If a child was born to unmarried parents, an application to register a child under 18 would have been possible but these were considered at the discretion of the Home Secretary and citizenship could not be guaranteed.

Now, thanks to the recent enactment of the Immigration Act 2014, those who were previously disadvantaged by the earlier law can obtain citizenship through their UK-born father, irrespective of whether their parents were married.

Proof of eligibility

To qualify for citizenship under the new conditions, amongst other things, the applicant  will need to be able to prove that they would have been eligible for UK citizenship if their parents had been married at the time of their  birth.  Evidence of paternity will be required.

Fees

If you qualify for British citizenship with these recent changes, you may need to pay a registration fee. Where applicable, a child registration application will be subject to an application fee of £749.  In all other cases, the applicant will only be subject to an £80 charge to attend a citizenship ceremony.

If you think you qualify under these new regulations, contact us for more information on +44 (0) 2077597528 or email us at visas@1stcontact.com.

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  • Rhiannon Marsden

    Hello, thaks for share this with us! I born in 1981, my father is british and not married with my brazilian mother, can I be registered as a british citizen under this new law changes?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Rhiannon,

      On the face of your details yes.

      We would need to get more information and detail to assess completely. You can email us at visas@1stcontact.com if you’d like us to follow up further for you.

  • Carol Kay-Saccur

    Hello, I was born in 1974 (outside UK) , my father is British , mother malawian they were not married time i was born and are not married to each other – thus legitimate child. do I qualify to apply?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Carol,

      How is your father British, birth, naturalisation etc?

      • Carol Kay-Saccur

        British by birth

  • Alan

    Hi,

    I have a son who was born in 1997. He will be 18 very soon. I was wondering if it easier for him to apply now, as a 17 year old child, or when he turns 18. Basically does it matter, what age it is when he applies.

    Also I was married to someone else at the time of his birth, therefore meaning his mother and I wouldn’t be able to get married at the time of his birth. I was wondering, in this case, would he still be eligible to apply.

    Thanks

    • Tommy

      My son was born in Vietnam. I was nationalised and was already a British Citizen when he was born.

      • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

        Hi,

        Your son would be eligible for British Citizenship either through a direct Passport application or a registration process. You not being married to his mother would not have an effect on this. If your son was born after 2006 then it would be a direct Passport application, if not it would be through a registration process.

        His age wouldn’t be a factor in this application.

  • Cheryl Preston

    Hi 1st Contact,
    I was born in Zambia in 1970 is it true I could apply for a British Passport?
    Kind Regards
    Cheryl Preston

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Unfortunately Zambia had already acquired independence by that time. Our British nationality partner, Philip Gamble & Partners, provides a FREE British Passport Review service whereby the will assess your chances of having a claim to British nationality using the information you provide by completing their online assessment. For more information, please go to: https://philipgamble.co.uk/assessment

  • Cheryl Preston

    Hi 1st Contact,

    My husband’s father is born in Britian and his grandfather I have all the birth certificates is my husband entitled to a British Passport and our Children?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Based on the fact that your husband’s father was born in the UK, he would be eligible for citizenship.

      Please could you advise if your husband’s parents were married at the time of your birth or anytime thereafter?

      Furthermore please advise how old your children are?

  • Tishi Pass

    Hello I have recently emailed you regarding my case for applying for Citizenship, if you could get back to me I’d really much appreciate it.

    Thank You

  • Phililp

    Hello 1st contact, if I was born before July 1 2006. And my parents were unmarried at the time of my birth but they later got married. Can I claim British Nationality even though I am still currently under 16.

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Since you were born before July 1 2006 and your parents were unmarried at the time of your birth, the process is a little more complex. We’d suggest you speak to our nationality partners, Philip Gamble & Partners, as they’ll be best suited to assist you and they’ll also be able to tell you when you can apply. You can fill in their free assessment form here: https://www.philipgamble.co.uk/assessment

  • daliah

    Hi – unmarried parents – British born dad – 1 kid was born on 14th May 2006 and the 2nd kid was born on 15 april 2008 – who can apply for citizenship through the new law?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Daliah,

      Because your children were born after January 2006 this would allow them to apply directly for British Passports even though their parents were unmarried. Please email immigration@1stcontact.com for more information.

  • Donna-Louise Gwatkin

    My daughter was born in 1997 in SA, her father and I did not marry. He was born in Scotland, I am a British national born in SA. My parents were born in the UK.
    I am presuming the above law does not count as she was born outside of the UK. I say this as her passport was turned down by the consulate because we did not marry?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Donna-Louise,

      As you were not married at the time of your child’s birth, you will need to apply for an illegitimate birth registration. Please send your email address and I will have one of our consultants get in touch.

  • dulfay

    Hello, i have a child with a British Citizen, my son was born in Costa Rica, he is 6 years old, Can i get a British passport for him, Thank you

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Dulfay, Please can you forward your email address and one of our consultants will be in touch with you.

  • cobby jocc

    hello please what documents do i need when I’m applying for a stay as the father of the child born in the uk who has his red book?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Cobby, this type of visa would only be granted in exceptional circumstance and I would suggest that you contact a immigration solicitor for further advice with this application.

  • Tay_Tay

    Hi, I was born in the UK 1992, to nigerian mother and british Dad. (Unmarried). When I applied for a passport 4 years ago they told me I cant claim under my mum as she was on a student visa at the time and didn’t get indefinite till 1997 and I couldn’t claim on my dad’s british passport because they weren’t married, It is ridiculous, I didnt think it will be this hard, seeing as I was born here, lived here all my life and done all my education up to masters as a home student. The registration for an adult is a whopping £1126 since I am now 23…Do I qualify, and If so does it matter that my father passed away a few weeks ago? I’m not sure what evidence they need. Also I’m married to a british citizen could that help? I just want to travel without the stress of a visa office every year. :( Please advise

  • Ethan Samuels

    My parents were not married and my was father was not on my birth certificate till last year (born 1989) my mum was born in India to French (father) and british (mother) parent’s and my father is 100% British can i apply for this?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Ethan, in this case you would not be eligible for a direct British Passport but you may be eligible through registration, you can contact our partner company at Philip Gamble for further guidance with this. https://www.philipgamble.co.uk/

  • Ashley

    Hello. I just have one quick question. You stated the following under Fees:

    “If you qualify for British citizenship with these recent changes, you
    may need to pay a registration fee. Where applicable, a child
    registration application will be subject to an application fee of £749.
    In all other cases, the applicant will only be subject to an £80 charge
    to attend a citizenship ceremony.”

    What do you mean by “a child registration application?” I am 20 years old, born in the UK to an unmarried British Father and wanting to apply for citizenship based on this law. Will my application cost £749 or £80?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Ashley,
      A child is is someone who is under the age of 18 years.

      • Ashley

        So I would only pay £80 in total for my application? Can I apply from outside of the UK? And would this cost more?

        • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

          Since there are many types of applications, it would be best to email us at immigration@1stcontact.com in order to assist you correctly.

  • none none

    Hello, I was born in 1995, my father is british and married with my french mom just before I was born, can I be registered as a british citizen and if yes, where should I go ? Thanks

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi, if your father was born in the UK and your parents were married before the time of your birth then you would be eligible to apply directly for a British Passport.

      • none none

        Thank you for your answer. How can I apply ? And how much would it cost ?

        • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

          Hi, if you are wanting further assistance please contact one of our advisers on immigration@1stcontact.com

  • Imani

    Hi, I was born in South Africa in 1994, my parents weren’t married and my father is a British citizen (he was born there and lives there) and my mom is South African. Would I be eligible for a passport?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Imani,

      Due to the fact that your parents were not married, I will advise that you get in touch with our partner firm Philip Gamble and Partners, they will be able to advise further.
      Their web address is; https://www.philipgamble.co.uk/

      • Imani

        Thank you!

  • Angie Loveday

    Hi, I have a question. I was born outside of marriage to a British father. I qualify for the citizenship but part of the documents that need to be provided is an expired passport from my father which I have no way of obtaining. I can get his birth certificate but not the passport. Is it absolutely necessary and will my application be refused if I don’t provide it even if they have access to his information?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Angie, for more specific information on this application I would suggest that you contact our partner company at https://www.philipgamble.co.uk/.

  • Josh Marshall-Clarke

    Awesome! Thanks for the info. I applied in 2010 but was rejected. I don’t recall what happened with the fees but I assume I didn’t get a refund… Are refunds ever issued? If refunds aren’t issued, are there any discounts for previous applicants?

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Josh, refunds are not usually issued as when refused the UKBA would retain their fee should it be a legitimate refusal. It would also not allow for future discounts.

  • richard barclay

    I am a British citizen and my daughter was born in Grenada West Indies in September 2004. Me and her mother were not married. Does she qualify for British citizenship and what process do I need to follow

  • Nicolas

    Good evening. I was born in Argentina in 1989 to a british father and an argentinian mother, and they were not married. I understand that the law allows me now to applicate for citizenship, but Argentina does not appear in the lists of countries of the UK websites, that doesn’t make differences about legitimate or unlegitimate sons, even though the actually doesn’t make any difference. I’ interested in applying for the citizenship, i am trying to get all the information i can, but i still seem to need some legal advice to get through with it and apply without loosing the fee charges. I’d appreciate if you can be of any help to me with this.
    Thank you very much in advance.

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Nicolas,

      You will need to get in touch with our partner firm, Philip Gamble & Partners https://www.philipgamble.co.uk

      They will be able to advise further, with regards to your options.

      • Nicolas

        Ok, thanks. I’m gettig in touch with them.
        Best reggards.

        Nicolas Stacey

        El dic. 1, 2016 11:21, “Disqus” escribió: