British Citizen by Descent

How to Get British Citizenship by Descent?

British law allows you to take several routes to British citizenship. If one or both of your parents have a British nationality, the easiest way for you to UK citizenship is to apply for citizenship by descent.
However, you must meet additional requirements in order to be eligible for this route. Here is a look at these requirements and other details.

What is British Citizenship by Descent?

British law broadly categorizes two ways of achieving British nationality – by descent, or otherwise than by descent.
Citizenship by descent is when you can seek UK nationality through the citizenship or settled status of one or both parents. It is also possible to seek nationality by descent through the status of your grandparents, although it is quite rare.
However, if you have become a UK citizen through descent, you can’t pass your nationality rights to a child who is not born in the UK. In other words, if a parent has become a UK citizenship by descent, his or her child can’t take the same route to British citizenship.
Citizenship by descent is automatically passed to the next generation in some cases. In other cases, you will have to apply for this route to citizenship if you meet the requirements and are eligible.
The qualified immigration lawyers at the London-based Adam Bernard’s can help you confirm your eligibility, meet relevant requirements and file a British citizenship application. Our UK citizenship solicitors offer tailored guidance and advice packages.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

As noted above, you can acquire UK citizenship by descent automatically or you may have to apply for it.
In general, you automatically become a UK citizen if you were born abroad and one of your parents was a British citizen at the time. However, this is subject to when you were born.
If your date of birth fell before 1983 and you were not born in the UK, you automatically qualify for citizenship only if your father was a UK national and was married to your mother at the time of birth. In this case, your father must also have been a citizen of the UK and Colonies to pass on the citizenship.
If your date of birth was between 1983 and June 2006, you automatically qualify for citizenship if:

  • One or both of your parents had UK citizenship at the time of your birth
  • The UK parent didn’t acquire their citizenship by descent
  • Your parents were married at the time of your birth if your father was a UK national and your mother wasn’t

If the above conditions are met, you are eligible to apply for citizenship UK by descent.

If your date of birth fell on or after July 1, 2006, you are automatically eligible by nationality by descent granted either of your parents was a UK national at the time of your birth. However, the eligible parent must not have received their citizenship by descent.

If you are not sure whether or not you can automatically qualify for British citizenship, you can consult our immigration lawyers. Our British citizenship solicitors in London can offer detailed advice on how best to proceed.

Registering for British Citizenship by Descent

If you do not automatically qualify for citizenship by descent, you may have the option of applying for nationality by descent instead. This is only possible if you meet very specific criteria.
You may register for citizenship by descent if:

  • Your date of birth fell on July 1, 2006, or after this date and your parents adopted you outside the UK, you have been in the UK and living with your parents, or you were born to British nationals who had been residents in the UK before you were born. You can explore different routes depending on which category you fall in.
  • Your date of birth fell between 1983 and June 2006 and your father was a British national otherwise than by descent but was not married to your non-UK national mother when you were born. The ‘otherwise by descent’ requirement is waived if your father was a Crown servant at the time of your birth.
  • Your date of birth fell before 1983 and your mother instead of your father was a British national, or the two were not married if your father was a national. In this case, the eligible UK national parent must not have gained their citizenship by descent. The eligible parent must also have been a citizen of the UK and Colonies when you were born.

Our UK citizenship solicitors can offer legal advice on whether or not you can register for British citizenship by descent.

Applying for British Citizenship by Descent

You need to apply for British citizenship by descent only if you don’t automatically qualify and need to register instead. You may register by filling out a Form UKF. You must submit several supporting documents to confirm your personal details, parental details, immigration history, good character, and other information.

You may also apply via post instead of submitting the online application. Postal applications typically cost more and take longer to process.

Once you submit your application, you will also be required to attend an appointment at a UKVCAS centre so that your photographs and fingerprints may be collected. This biometric information is a part of your citizenship application. During your UKVCAS appointment, you can also have your documents scanned if you couldn’t directly upload them online.

Our experienced immigration lawyers can thoroughly guide you along this process and offer help at every step of the application. It is best to ensure that your application is accurate and complete at the time of submission. Any omissions or errors can lead to delays in the processing of the application.

Citizenship by Double Descent

In some cases, you can claim British nationality by descent through the nationality of a British grandparent. This is called citizenship by double descent.


You can seek citizenship by double descent if:

  • Your date of birth fell before 1949 and one of your grandparents was a British citizen. This is applicable if you or your parent were born in British territory, or if you were born outside the Commonwealth regions before 1915. You can also claim citizenship if your mother or grandmother married a British national before 1949.
  • Your date of birth fell before 1983 and you were born in a non-EEA territory so that your mother’s father was born in the UK. Alternatively, you can also claim double descent citizenship if your father’s father was born in the UK and your parents got married before 1949.
  • Your date of birth fell after 1983 and your grandparent was born in the UK and was in the service of the Crown at the time of your parent’s birth. You are also eligible if one of your parents had a British national mother and became a British citizen between February 2, 1982, and December 31, 1982.

This is a more complicated route and you will need legal assistance when pursuing it. Our British citizenship solicitors in London can offer thorough guidance if you are eligible for citizenship by double descent.

Why Choose Adam Bernard’s Solicitors?

The application process to register for British citizenship by descent can be quite complicated. This is because there are many ways to qualify for this route to UK nationality, and each way has its own set of requirements.

Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law office, we have the reputation of being among the top immigration lawyers. Our UK citizenship solicitors can help you determine whether or not you can automatically qualify for citizenship by descent or register for it.

We also work with you to help you meet all the requirements, gather relevant documentation, and see the process through. With the help of our British citizenship solicitors in London, you can file an application without omissions or errors and reduce the processing time for your application.

Call us now at 0207 100 2525 to schedule a free consultation with our immigration lawyers and discuss your case in detail.

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      Please call 020 7100 2525 or fill in the form below.

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      0207 100 2525