All Articles: Nationality

Briefing: the Nationality and Borders Bill, Part 1 (citizenship reforms)

We covered the nationality portion of the New Plan for Immigration in an earlier article. Many of those proposals, largely concerning British Overseas Territories citizens and the Windrush generation, were notably less cruel and unusual than the other ...

12th July 2021 By

British citizenship for children whose parents miss the EU settled status deadline

On 1 July 2021, the British Nationality Act 1981 (Immigration Rules Appendix EU) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021 No. 743) introduced a new section 10A to the British Nationality Act 1981. This new section is aimed at ensuring that certain childr ...

1st July 2021 By

Man who won British citizenship by fraud gets to keep it thanks to Home Office inaction

An Albanian man who secured his British citizenship by fraud must be allowed to keep it because of the Home Office’s inexplicable nine-year delay in taking action after it found out, the Court of Appeal has held. The judgment in Laci v Secretary ...

24th May 2021 By

New Plan for Immigration: the proposed changes to nationality law

The New Plan for Immigration Policy Statement of March 2021 (the New Plan) contains proposals to make significant changes to immigration and nationality law and policy. This article addresses the proposals set out in Chapter 3, which concern changes t ...

29th April 2021 By

Good character requirement unlawfully applied in Windrush cases

From ‘Citizens of the UK and Colonies’, to ‘Commonwealth Citizens’, to ‘subject to immigration control’: the legislative erosion of the Windrush generation’s British citizenship rights is laid bare at paragrap ...

27th April 2021 By

British citizenship, polygamy and paternity

Huson v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Entry Clearance Officer) (Rev 1) [2021] EWHC 885 (Admin) looks like a case about a 19-year- old’s entitlement to the right of abode. We don’t see many right of abode cases these days, mai ...

22nd April 2021 By

Passports can be issued to British children abroad without abusive father’s consent

Her Majesty’s Passport Office was wrong to insist on signed consent for child passports from an abusive father, the High Court has held in R (GA & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 868 (Admin).  British child ...

16th April 2021 By

A first look at the “New Plan for Immigration”

Today the Home Office published a new plan for immigration with the title, somehow both grandiloquent and banal, New Plan for Immigration. It is mainly concerned with asylum and people who enter the UK illegally (those two concepts being subtly mashed ...

24th March 2021 By

Three win appeals against losing British citizenship

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) has allowed the appeals of three people who were deprived of their British citizenship following allegations that they had travelled to Syria and posed a threat to national security. The case is C3, C4 ...

22nd March 2021 By

Sophia of Hanover and the most obscure route to British nationality of them all

British citizenship by descent is underpinned by the principle of jus sanguinis (“right of blood”). This allows citizenship to be passed down “through the blood” to the first generation of children born abroad. Subsequent gener ...

3rd March 2021 By

Shamima Begum loses case in Supreme Court

Shamima Begum has lost her case in the Supreme Court. This means that she will not be able to return to the UK to argue her main case about whether she should or should not be deprived of her British citizenship. But her main case remains outstanding ...

26th February 2021 By

£1,012 child citizenship fee confirmed unlawful by Court of Appeal

Upholding an earlier High Court decision, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the Home Office’s £1,012 fee for registering children as British citizens is unlawful. The case is R (Project for the Registration of Children As British Citizens ...

19th February 2021 By

The pathway to British citizenship for European nationals in the UK

Ever since the Brexit vote in June 2016, EU citizens in the United Kingdom have been turning their attention to applications for British citizenship. Foreign nationals who have been living in the UK for five years can apply to “naturalise” as Brit ...

18th February 2021 By

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

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

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
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