In this article Ruby Anugwom, an immigration expert from Stephens Scown, looks at the options for children of unmarried British fathers who were born before the rule change on 1 July 2006.
Since 1 January 1983, unmarried mothers have been able to pass on their British nationality to children born in the UK. Unmarried fathers were not able to do so until a change in the law came into force from 1 July 2006. This change did not apply retrospectively and as such children born to an unmarried British father before July 2006 did not automatically benefit.
However, separate provisions have enabled children born before July 2006 to an unmarried British father to be registered as a British citizen if certain requirements are met; these include proof of paternity and the consent of those with parental responsibility being obtained.
Now Section 65 of the new Immigration Act 2014 will insert new registration provisions (sections 4E to 4J) into the British Nationality Act 1981 for persons born before 1 July 2006. The new provisions will create a registration route for those born before 1 July 2006 who would have become British citizens had their parents been married. The provisions will apply as follows:
• Those who could qualify for registration under section 1(3), 3(2), 3(5) or paragraph 4 or 5 of Schedule 2, had their parents been married. (Section 4F)
• Those born after 1 January 1983 who would have become a British citizen automatically had their parents been married (section 4G)
• Those born before 1 January 1983 who were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies on that date and would have become British citizens if their parents were married (section 4H)
• Those born before 1 January 1983 who would have acquired the status of British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and would have gone on to become a British citizen if their parents were married (section 4I).
This section has not yet been commenced as the Immigration Act is still being implemented in phases.
Ruby Anugwom is an associate in the immigration team at Stephens Scown LLP in Exeter. Ruby has been recommended by the independent guide to the legal profession, Legal 500. To contact Ruby, please call 01392 210700, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stephens-scown.co.uk