Our Immigration Team has already written about several provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 however there has been a positive change for British nationality law, in particular the rights of children born outside the United Kingdom to British citizen fathers to derive citizenship even when there was no marriage between the parents at the time of the child's birth.
Previously, children who had been born outside of the United Kingdom could only obtain British citizenship from their father provided that he was married to the child's mother at the time of birth. Changes were made to the law in January 1983 (to allow a mother to pass on her nationality to a child born outside the UK), and July 2006 (to allow a father of a child born after 1 July 2006 to pass on nationality irrespective of whether the parents were married as long as he could either (a) prove that he was the biological father; or (b) was named on a birth certificate which had been issued within one year of the child's birth).
Although these changes were all positive, we were still left with a situation which meant that those who were born outside the UK before 1st July 2006 to a British Citizen father could not derive citizenship unless their parents were or had become married.
Section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014 looks to fill this 'gap' and creates a registration route for:
- Those who would have become British citizens automatically under the 1981 Act provisions had their parents been married; and
- Those who would currently have an entitlement to registration under the 1981 Act provisions but for the fact that their parents are not married.
The Home Office has now issued guidance on how this section will be applied and includes the standard requirements for providing paternity - such as being named on a birth certificate issued within one year of the birth and 'other evidence' (e.g. DNA or court orders).
Please note, however, that section 65 has not yet been commenced. The reason given by the Home Office in their guidance is that: "The 2014 Act is being implemented in phases to ensure the provisions are brought into force in an orderly and effective manner. We have not yet set a commencement date for Section 65 but will do so as soon as possible."
If you wish to discuss whether you may soon be eligible to apply for British citizenship as a result of this new provision then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Immigration Team.