In order to be eligible for a UK passport, you must have claim to UK nationality, which is usually automatically acquired at birth from one or both parents. In some cases, you may be deemed eligible to apply for a UK passport through a British mother, or spouse. Here’s how.
Claims Through a British Mother
According to Directgov, some legal changes were made that conferred UK nationality to children born abroad before February 1961 to those whose mothers were born in the UK. If you fall into this category, you must register with the UK Border Agency before you can apply for a UK passport. To learn more about how to register with the UK Border Agency, click here for more information.
Currently, children who were born on or after 1 January 1983 will only be recognised as British because of their mother’s birth in the UK. If your mother (and/or father) was not a UK citizen at the time of your birth after 1983, you do not have automatic rights to claim UK citizenship.
Citizenship Through Marriage
According to Directgov, women who have married a British-born husband after 1 January 1949 do not gain automatic UK citizenship through their husband. This law applies with equal force regardless of whether your husband was a UK citizen before 1 January 1983 or after 31 December 1982. However, if you married your husband before 1949, you will have gained his citizenship upon marriage.
Status of Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals or Commonwealth citizens who have the right of abode in the UK are not given automatic citizenship due to their residence in the UK. Those who have been granted ‘indefinite leave to remain’ by the Home Office or the ‘right of re-admission’ just refer to your current immigration status, not to your right or entitlement to UK citizenship or a UK passport.
How to Apply for UK Citizenship
If you feel you have a legal right to UK citizenship and all the rights that come with it, such as the acquisition of a UK passport, you should contact the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to apply for citizenship through the Home Office. The address is as follows:
General Enquiries Section
Home Office Nationality Group
PO Box 306
Or if you are still unsure about your immigration status, you should contact the UK Border Agency, where you will be able to find out whether you are entitled to UK citizenship. The address is:
UK Border Agency
Surrey CR9 1AT
If you wish to apply for a UK passport, you must ensure that you have a claim to UK citizenship and nationality. This right is no longer automatically conferred on children born in the UK after 1983. But you may have a right to UK citizenship through your mother or spouse. Contact the Home Office and UK Border Agency for more details.
Directgov, Eligibility for a British passport through your mother, partner or where you live.