A recent decision by the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court is expected to greatly expand who is eligible for British citizenship under the country’s immigration laws.
According to a statement released by immigration consultants Breytenbachs, the changes will affect who is eligible for ‘citizenship by descent’ through the female line (a British-born mother).
“In the year 2003 the UK Parliament enacted legislation to remedy the gender discrimination in terms of which British citizenship could not be transferred through the female line, but only the male line,” Breytenbachs said.
“However, children born abroad between 1949 and 1983 to a parent who was a British citizen by descent were required to have had their birth registered at a British consulate, within one year of the birth.”
In effect, this discrimination on the basis of gender was removed in 2003, but they would not have been able to register the birth, Breytenbachs said.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court has since called this a ‘paradox’ and has now abolished the rule that requires a person’s birth to be registered at a British consulate within a year.
This means that in line with the 2003 ruling, children born outside the UK from a British-born mother between 1949 and 1983 are now eligible for British citizenship – regardless of whether or not they were registered after their birth, Breytenbachs said.