All Articles: Nationality

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 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 — and are never troubl ...

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

Briefing: Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) Status

As fears of Chinese retaliation against the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong grow, so does public scrutiny of the nationality status of citizens of the former colony: British National (Overseas) status, commonly abbreviated to ‘BNO’.  In t ...

4th 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 pathway to British citizenship for European nationals in the UK

As Brexit approaches, many European nationals in the UK 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” as British  ...

2nd 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

Official guidance on the good character citizenship test

The latest version of the Home Office’s Good character requirement guidance published on 14 January 2019 incorporates long-awaited new sections on children and refugees. There are also new sections on absolute and conditional discharges, detention a ...

28th January 2019 By

Court of Appeal: Wikipedia can (but shouldn’t) be used to prove foreign law

In the case of KV v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 2483 the Court of Appeal accepts that future statelessness is a relevant consideration in an appeal against deprivation of British citizenship obtained on the basis of frau ...

20th November 2018 By

Special court denies British citizenship to relatives of Bashar Al-Assad

Appellants in immigration cases would normally be delighted if a court made an unambiguous finding that the government had acted unfairly towards them. Not so the family of Bashar Al-Assad. In a very unusual judgment, the Special Immigration Appeals C ...

14th November 2018 By

Renouncing your British citizenship is rarely a good idea

Yet again the Home Office has come under fire for its treatment of a European citizen, this time for denying an EEA residence card to the American husband of an Irish national living in Northern Ireland. The case of Gemma Capparelli and her husband wa ...

7th November 2018 By

How easy is it to buy British citizenship?

To go along with the private jet and luxury yacht, the current ‘must-have’ for a discerning multi-millionaire seems to be a range of international passports. The phenomenon of citizenship by investment has emerged over the last few decades an ...

31st October 2018 By

Court of Appeal says statelessness must be proved on balance of probabilities

In AS (Guinea) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 2234, the Court of Appeal has in effect rebuffed an attempt by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to make it easier to establish statelessness. The court ruled that the sta ...

19th October 2018 By

Immigration and nationality law for adopted children

Immigration and nationality law as it relates to international adoption is undoubtedly complex and a topic with which only a few practitioners are familiar. There are numerically very few international adoption cases, after all. The inevitable cross o ...

17th October 2018 By

Javid sounds tough note on citizenship in party conference speech

Sajid Javid delivered a speech today at the Conservative party conference that is likely to generate headlines for what he had to say on immigration, integration and citizenship. Upon closer inspection, there is less substance to these pronouncements ...

2nd October 2018 By

Deprivation of citizenship justified by treasonous conduct finds Court of Appeal

A British citizen can be deprived of his citizenship if he shows disloyalty to the state, the Court of Appeal has found in the case of Pham v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 2064. The case is interesting, thought-provoking ...

27th September 2018 By

Naturalising as a British citizen: the lawful residence requirement

An adult who is not a British citizen can apply to become one. This process is known as naturalisation. People will normally be eligible to apply for naturalisation under section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981 if they meet certain requirement ...

24th September 2018 By

How can the Home Office tear up the British passport of a six-year-old boy born in Leeds?

The Independent and the Telegraph are reporting on the upsetting case of a little boy, born in Leeds, who is being denied re-entry to the UK because the Home Office has revoked his British passport. Mohamed Bangoura, aged six, was staying with relat ...

6th September 2018 By

Yemen-born Somalis in High Court fight for British Overseas Citizenship

Despite our remarks in previous blogs about the useless nature of British Overseas Citizen status, a series of judgments handed down by the High Court this summer demonstrate that this unusual version of British nationality is sufficiently valuable to ...

5th September 2018 By

Briefing: Parliament never intended for children to be charged sky-high fees to register as citizens

The British Nationality Act 1981, which took effect on 1 January 1983, introduced British citizenship into UK nationality law. In doing so, it removed the principle of jus soli – the principle by which citizenship is acquired by being born on the te ...

4th September 2018 By

Comment: the Home Office must adopt a principled approach to DNA testing

In 1985, immigration solicitor Sheona York read an article in the Guardian about a new technology for proving someone’s identity. She called the inventor, Professor Alec Jeffreys, at the University of Leicester to see whether this “DNA tes ...

3rd September 2018 By

What happens if you mistakenly apply for British citizenship instead of indefinite leave to remain?

What happens when an American graduate, about to become eligible for indefinite leave to remain having lived lawfully in the UK for almost a decade, incorrectly thinks that he is eligible to apply for British citizenship and applies for that instead? ...

17th August 2018 By

How is the government using its increased powers to strip British people of their citizenship?

Yesterday’s judgment in Aziz & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1884 saw the Court of Appeal uphold the Home Secretary’s decision to use her power to strip members of a notorious Rochdale grooming gang ...

9th August 2018 By

Part of the British Nationality Act 1981 found incompatible with human rights law

It is said to be a wise child who knows his own father. It might be thought, having read the facts of this case, that it is an even wiser child who knows who is deemed to be her father for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981… The openin ...

30th July 2018 By
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