All Articles: Nationality

The government can easily fix its policy on citizenship for EU nationals – here’s how

The Home Secretary has a lot of power over naturalisation, the process by which foreign nationals can acquire British citizenship. The criteria for naturalisation are set out in the British Nationality Act 1981, but that Act also empowers the Home Sec ...

15th October 2020 By

It just got even more difficult for EU nationals to get British citizenship

On 30 September 2020 the Home Office updated its good character policy for naturalisation to make it even harder for EU nationals to become British citizens.  The new policy doubles the period of time, from five years to ten years, during which certa ...

7th October 2020 By

Briefing: nationality and children in care

In August, Nath Gbikpi reported for Free Movement on R (Y) (Children In Care: Change of Nationality) [2020] EWCA Civ 1038. In that case, the Court of Appeal found that section 33 of the Children Act 1989 did not entitle the local authority to appl ...

6th October 2020 By

Surrogacy, citizenship and immigration: common problem scenarios

The popularity and visibility of surrogacy are on the rise, thanks in part to scientific advances, a greater acceptance of LGBT+ rights and popular celebrity stories. The thousands of families created through surrogacy have meant joy for many but ...

27th August 2020 By

Local authorities may need permission to get British citizenship for children in care

Local authorities have recently made headlines for failing to regularise the immigration status of children in their care. As the case of Darrell and Darren Roberts sadly exemplifies, not taking care of the immigration or citizenship status of childre ...

18th August 2020 By

Comment: Shamima Begum, legal aid and access to justice

On 19 July 2020, Boris Johnson announced that the government would review legal aid rules in light of a Court of Appeal judgment requiring the government to repatriate a young woman, Shamima Begum, whom it had deprived of British citizenship on the ba ...

3rd August 2020 By

Naturalisation as a British citizen

Naturalisation is the legal process by which a non-British adult becomes a British citizen. An application has to be made to the Home Office and if the criteria set out in the British Nationality Act 1981 are met then the application will be granted a ...

24th July 2020 By

What does the Life in the UK Handbook say about who the British people are?

This is a guest post by Isaac Abraham, Nath Gbikpi, Tom Hardwick, Barry O’Leary and Mala Savjani. On 22 July 2020, over 180 historians of Britain, the British Empire, and colonialism published an open letter calling for the review of the history cha ...

22nd July 2020 By

This is what the Court of Appeal decided about Shamima Begum – and what happens next

In Begum v Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) [2020] EWCA Civ 918, the Court of Appeal has ordered that Shamima Begum be granted leave to enter the UK so that she can participate in her deprivation of citizenship appeal. The court also orde ...

16th July 2020 By

Windrush: learning about history, learning from history

Recommendation 6 – The Home Office should: a) devise, implement and review a comprehensive learning and development programme which makes sure all its existing and new staff learn about the history of the UK and its relationship with the rest of the ...

8th July 2020 By

Briefing: Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) status

In this briefing we look at the British National (Overseas) citizenship status held by an estimated 2.9 million people in Hong Kong. Before we begin, a quick reminder that there are six different types of British nationality: British citizenship ...

7th July 2020 By

UK visas and citizenship for Hongkongers: what has been announced?

In a statement to Parliament today about Hong Kong, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed a new bespoke UK immigration route for British National (Overseas) citizens and their dependants. BNO status is a previously obscure form of British nationali ...

1st July 2020 By

The pathway to British citizenship for European nationals in the UK

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, many EU citizens in the United Kingdom are turning their attention to applications for British citizenship. Citizens of other countries who have been living in the UK for five years can apply to “naturalise ...

1st June 2020 By

Home Office to issue woman with British passport after 18 year battle

Even by Home Office standards, the decision to defend the case of R (Nmai) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 1139 (Admin) looks particularly pointless. The claimant had an incredibly strong case and the judge allowed the claim w ...

20th May 2020 By

It just got more difficult for EU nationals to become British citizens

The Home Office has decided to make it more difficult for European residents to become British citizens. EU citizens with settled status who apply for naturalisation may now have to provide evidence that they have been living in the UK legally, accord ...

18th May 2020 By

Tribunal: nullified nullification no barrier to deprivation of British citizenship

Taking away people’s citizenship became a popular pastime for Home Secretary Theresa May. After decades of the power being essentially taboo, associated as it was with Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, it was resurrected with a vengeance after 201 ...

13th May 2020 By

Fee waiver for children denied British citizenship by discredited paternity law

The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 294) come into force on 6 April 2020. They introduce a handful of fee tweaks, with the most significant changes being for children whose natural father is a man o ...

23rd March 2020 By

Can spouses of British citizens naturalise after just three years’ residence in the UK?

For those forced to make successive, increasingly-expensive applications just to remain in the country that they have made their home, naturalising as a British citizen is often the final rung of a very tall ladder. Like all ladders, the key to succes ...

11th February 2020 By

Shamima Begum loses statelessness argument against citizenship deprivation

Shamima Begum is a citizen of Bangladesh and so would not be made stateless by being stripped of her British citizenship, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission has held. The main SIAC judgment is Shamima Begum (Preliminary Issue : Substansive) [2 ...

7th February 2020 By

Can Meghan Markle still get British citizenship if she and Prince Harry move abroad?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have dominated recent news headlines with their announcement that they intend to “balance” their time between North America and the UK, reducing the time spent on official roy ...

13th January 2020 By

What is so special about being a British citizen, legally?

You would be forgiven for thinking there are some special rights or privileges attached to being a British citizen. Politicians are fond of telling us how great it is to be British and how it is a privilege not a right. Our government charges foreign ...

27th December 2019 By

£1,000 child citizenship fee found unlawful

The High Court has ruled that charging a citizenship fee of over £1,000 to children is unlawful. The decision will be widely welcomed by campaigners who have long argued that the fee charged to register a child as British, which is set far above the ...

19th December 2019 By

New book traces the “life cycle” of British citizenship

Citizenship in Times of Turmoil?, a book which I edited and published with Edward Elgar Law earlier this year, was launched a few days back. Hosted by the law firm Anthony Gold’s housing law team, the event was attended by legal practitioners, activ ...

4th December 2019 By

Good Friday Agreement doesn’t stop Northern Irish people being born automatically British

Most people born in Northern Ireland have or are entitled to dual citizenship, British and Irish. Generally people apply for the passport of the country which they identify with — nationalists for Irish passports, unionists for British — a ...

25th November 2019 By

Government drops appeal in citizenship case where girl’s mother married to someone else

A law preventing men from passing on British citizenship to their biological offspring where the child’s mother is married to someone else may now be reconsidered in light of a government decision to drop its appeal against a landmark ruling made la ...

19th November 2019 By

British by descent: when the child of a British citizen is not themselves British

A story hit the news over the weekend of two-year-old Lucy, the child of British parents who has been told by the Home Office that she must leave the UK. It is always difficult to comment on news stories without knowing the full facts but it is certai ...

15th October 2019 By

Briefing: what is the ‘right of abode’ in UK immigration and nationality law?

As I was reviewing John Vassiliou’s excellent piece on Hong Kongers with British National Overseas status last week, I realised that we’ve never put together an explainer on the right of abode. A quick Google search showed up no great expl ...

18th September 2019 By

Student facing death penalty for ISIS membership stripped of British citizenship

A student who ran away to join ISIS in Syria has lost a legal challenge to the UK government’s decision to take away his British citizenship. The judgment, handed down yesterday and the first case of its kind in the High Court, is R (Islam) v Se ...

8th August 2019 By

Should refugees who entered the UK illegally be denied British citizenship on good character grounds?

Back in January, the Home Office updated and expanded its guidance on the “good character” requirement in British citizenship applications. One of the big changes in the guidance is the long overdue recognition of the existence of Article 31 of th ...

13th May 2019 By

Bad news for overstayers in latest hardening of British citizenship policy

A recent change in the Home Office’s good character policy for citizenship applications is set to have a significant impact on people with a history of overstaying. The department expressly states for the first time that any overstaying in the last ...

17th April 2019 By

The Home Secretary can legally deprive Shamima Begum of her citizenship – but he shouldn’t

The UK government did not begin its deprivation of citizenship policy yesterday, when Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order stripping Shamima Begum of her British nationality. The deprivation of citizenship power has been increasingly used in rec ...

20th February 2019 By

Deprivation of citizenship and “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum

The controversial story of British teenager Shamima Begum has dominated the news in recent days. Shamima left the UK in February 2015 to travel to Syria at the age of 15. She was very recently found in a Syrian refugee camp, heavily pregnant, after sh ...

18th February 2019 By

Naturalising or registering as a British citizen: the good character requirement

Anybody over the age of ten who applies for registration or naturalisation as a British citizen needs to meet the so-called “good character requirement”. This is a mandatory requirement set out in the British Nationality Act 1981. Where a person i ...

8th February 2019 By
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