How Do I Know If I’m a UK citizen?

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You are a British citizen if

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  • you were born in the UK prior to January 1, 1983 to married parents;
  • you were born in the UK on or after January 1, 1983 to married parents and at least one of your parents was a British citizen at the time of your birth
  • you were born in the UK on or after July 1, 2006 and at least one of your parents was a British citizen
  • you were born in the UK on or after July 1, 2006 and at least one of your parents was an Irish citizen living in the UK
  • you were born in the UK on or after July 1, 2006 and one of your was a citizen of an EU or EEA country and they had one of the following: indefinite leave to remain (ILR), settled status, permanent resident status, right of abode, or right to re-admission. However, after January 1, 2021 the parent or parents should have applied for settled status.
    • As of July 1, 2021 the parents or parent cannot have permanent resident status and must have instead applied for settled status through June 30, 2021. However if they applied after July 1, 2021 with reasonable grounds for missing that deadline, then you automatically become a UK citizen when the parents or parent acquires settled status.
  • you were born in the UK on or after July 1, 2006 and even though neither parent was British, Irish, nor from an EU or EEA country, you will automatically be a UK citizen as long as at least one parent had one of the following: indefinite leave to remain, right to re-admission, or right to abode.
  • you were born in the UK after January 12, 2010 and at least one parent was in the UK armed forces
  • you were born abroad to a UK citizen who was born in the UK and you meet the other requirements.

British nationality law is exceedingly complex. The first thing you need to know is that a British National is not the same as a British Citizen.

And though you might be entitled to one of the two current forms of British Nationality, that nationality may not actually entitle you to British Citizenship. (There are four other categories of British nationality that are being retired and are, normally, not inheritable.)

British Citizenship Vs Nationality

There are six types of British Nationality, only one of which is British Citizenship.

British Citizenship entitles you to all rights of a British National plus the right of abode.

The right of abode is the right to live and work in the UK and is what most people who are claiming British citizenship are really interested in.

The only other form of British nationality that is currently inheritable is British Overseas Territories Citizenship (BOTC). If your British parent only has British Overseas Territory Citizenship (BOTC), you will have to take extra steps to become a British Citizen, steps which the child of a British citizen would not have to take to claim their citizenship.

If your parent has a different form of British Nationality then either of the above nationalities, that nationality is not inheritable and you are not a British National nor a British citizen.

How do I know whether my British parent is a Citizen or not?

You need to look at your parent’s passport to see what it says on it. Check whether or not the passport says “citizen” and, if it doesn’t, note the code that is listed on the passport. That code will tell you the type of nationality.

Passport CodeType of British NationalityPathway to Citizenship/Right of AbodeStatus inheritable from a parent?
GBDBritish Overseas Territories CitizensMost BOTCs are also British Citizens as of 2002 (excepting BOTCs of Akrotiri and Dhekelia)Yes, provided your parent was born in the UK or naturalized before your birth
GBNBritish Nationals (Overseas)Apply after living in the UKNo
GBOBritish Overseas CitizensApply after living in the UKNo
GBPBritish Protected PersonsApply after living in the UKNo
GBRBritish CitizensN/A (already have full citizenship)Yes, provided your parent was born in the UK or naturalized before your birth
GBSBritish subjectsApply after living in the UKNo

Am I British?

You are British if you were born in the UK, provided at least one of your parents was a  United Kingdom citizen or “settled” in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands at the time of your birth.

If you were not born in the UK, you are a British citizen if one of your parents was born or naturalized in the UK, you are likely British. There are some qualifying factors:

  • If both parents are British citizens by birth or naturalization, you are British and can apply for a passport now.
  • If your father is the British citizen, you are British, provided your parents were married at the time of your birth. However, if your parents were not married at the time of your birth, you are not a citizen unless
    • you were born after June 30, 2006
    • your parents married after your birth and you were “legitimated” at that time
    • you were born in Canada after February 14, 1977
    • you were born in a country that recognized births out of wedlock as legitimate at the time you were born.

    If you fall into any of these above categories, additional steps apply.

  • If your mother is the British citizen, you are British. However, if you were born before January 1, 1983, additional steps apply. You cannot just apply for your passport.

If you do not fall into any of these categories, but believe you are a British citizen, contact us for a consultation. Immigroup are the British Passport and Citizenship Experts in Canada.

Related Questions

Do I have to Register for British Citizenship before I get a Passport?

If you were born outside of the UK to a British mother prior to January 1, 1983 then you do have to Register. If you were born out of wedlock to a British father prior to July 1, 2006, you also have to Register first.

Otherwise, you can apply for a UK passport straight away.

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