Changes made to British citizenship case law now allows more South Africans to claim British nationality based on having a grandparent born in the United Kingdom. In rare cases, having a great-grandparent may also grant a South African British nationality.
A recent Supreme Court Judgement in the UK has made it abundantly clear that it is unlawful of the UK Government to impose a requirement from the past on new applicants for citizenship.
In South Africa, it was possible for the birth of a child to be registered at the British Consulate between 31 May 1962 and 1 January 1983 if the father of the child was British. This facility, however, was not possible if the mother of the child was British. As birth registration at the British Consulate was seen as a potential route for citizenship by double descent in the male line, South Africans born between the afore-mentioned dates are affected by this judgement.
Effectively, this means that if you were born in South Africa between 31 May 1962 and 1 January 1983, to a mother born of British descent (such as being born to a British father), you may now have a claim to British citizenship.
Certain requirements have to be met, such as being able to prove that there was a marriage between the South African grandparent and the British grandparent.
The full extent or limitations of the case law firm judgement will also not be known until a range of potential qualifiers have been examined by the Home Office in the UK.
Despite the recent Supreme Court Judgement, gender discrimination is still prevalent in the UK’s nationality laws and the Home Secretary is under pressure by the UK to make further changes.
Children born after 1 January 1983 and are presently under the age of 18 years can enjoy benefits such as:
– the UK citizenship of a British parent
It is important to take action before a child turns 18 years old, as several rights to British nationality fall away.
Applicants who are born after 1 January 1983 and are presently over the age of 18 years may claim British nationality if:
– You have a British grandfather who worked in UK Government Service at the time of birth of the descendant parent
– You have a parent born to a UK-born mother, and a father who was not UK-born, but the mother was registered a British citizen between 2 February 1979 and 31 December 1982
– You or a parent were born in a former British colony. This, however, is subject to criteria being met
Applicants who are born before 1 January 1983 are subject to:
– Only claiming British nationality under certain circumstances if they have a UK-born grandparent
This specific area of British nationality, where every case is assessed on an individual basis.