British Citizenship Rights Protected for Generation of Children
The Home Office has confirmed that people born in the UK to EU citizens between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 have British citizenship rights.
Prior to 1983, every child born in the UK was automatically British. The British Nationality Act 1981 changed this, such that any child born in the UK from 1 January 1983 would only be born British if at least one of their parents was British or had settled status at the time of the child’s birth.
Prior to Brexit, EU citizens had a right to remain in the UK for an unlimited time, meaning that there was no qualifying minimum period of time before an EU citizen became “settled” in the UK. For the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981, the Home Office therefore considered that all EU citizens were “settled”, meaning that children born in the UK to EU citizens between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 were British citizens.
On 2 October 2000, the Home Office’s official stance changed regarding whether an EU citizen parent was “settled” for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981. Now, an EU citizen would only be considered settled once they had indefinite leave to remain – meaning that a child born in the UK to EU citizen parents would not be a British citizen, unless one or both of their parents had indefinite leave to remain. In 2006, this changed again, such that the EU citizen parent had to have acquired permanent residence to be considered “settled”.
These changes in policy made it unclear whether the British citizenship rights of people born in the UK to EU citizen parents between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 were protected – or whether, instead, these people would have their applications for citizenship denied, or even have their British citizenship withdrawn.
However, the Home Office has now issued an update, confirming that the British citizenship rights of people born in the UK to EU citizens between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 are protected. It remains to be seen whether the Home Office will go any further than this, to expand British citizenship to the children of EU citizens born in the UK after 2 October 2000.
If you require immigration advice or assistance with your visa or indefinite leave to remain application, please get in touch at [email protected]