Could You Be British and Not Know it?

A recent study revealed that almost 15% of people who qualify for and hold a UK Ancestry Visa are already British Citizens but don’t  know it!

Because of anomalies in UK Nationality laws dating between 1914 and 1983, many people mistakenly think they do not qualify for UK citizenship and then go through arduous visa application processes unnecessarily.

The reason for the anomalies relate amongst many other things, to two different factors. Firstly, recent gender anti-discrimination legislation has been introduced that retrospectively allows British women to pass on their nationality to their children (subject to certain conditions). And secondly, instances where a Commonwealth citizen has a UK-born grandparent can often lead to British Nationality claims through Double Descent legislation. Applicants who were disadvantaged by the gender discrimination of the previous laws can bring claims forward for their own children, provided that certain other criterion is met. Such applications fall to Home Office discretion and have to be lodged before the 18th birthday of the child concerned.

The UK Ancestry Visa is, strictly speaking, an employment visa. It is available to any Commonwealth citizen (which includes South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) who has a grandparent born in the UK (including Ireland before 1922). A successful applicant must be over the age of 17, and while there is no stipulated upper age limit, any applicants over 60 will have to demonstrate further abilities to generate income and to be economically active whilst in the UK. Age should in theory be no bar to the acquisition of this status. And although an applicant past retirement age can expect to encounter difficulties, cases have been won on anti-age discrimination precedents.

1st Contact Visas offer a free online assessment of your nationality status. Alternatively, speak to an experienced and knowledgeable 1st Contact Visas consultant, who will be able to advise you and assist with any British nationality applications.

Visit or call 0808 141 1664 (in the UK) 0800 003 163 (in South Africa) and 1800 039 300 (in Australia).

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  • http://1stContact Ingrid Pretorius

    Dear 1St Contact Consultant

    My name is Ingrid Pretorius and I am a South African citizen by birth. However my dad’s mother, in other words, my paternal grand mother is from Scottish descent. My father has tried to establish if we are elligible for British citizenship, as South Africa is a commonwealth country. He attended a seminar relating to ancestral issues last year in October, but afterwards he was left with more questions than he originally started off with.

    Could I ask if there is someone in South Africa, preferably from 1St Contact that we can personally talk to, as my grand mother has passed away and it pose quite a difficulty to ask questions to people residing overseas.

    I have previously made use of your services and I must admit, I find the service of 1St Contact to be very clear, straight forward and of the Best, professional service around. Thank You for the informative email regarding UK Ancestory. If it wasn’t for the article I would probably just left the question regarding eligibility for UK Ancestory, but I would like to try and see if we are eligible to qualify for our own family’s children.

    I would appreciate it if you could come back to me.

    Kind Regards
    Ingrid Pretorius