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Baby born abroad to British parents: passports

(82 Posts)
angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 17:53:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nickymanchester Wed 10-Jul-13 18:48:25

We had a similar issue but we weren't living in the US - it was a different country we were living in.

1 It would be best to register the birth with the British consulate in the USA:-

Although it isn't absolutely necessary to do this, having this registration can make things a lot easier in years to come back in the UK eg if your DC ever loses the passport.

You can then worry about getting a British passport nearer the time. You will need to go to the British embassy to get that. In our case, we had take all the supporting documents and application form etc to the local British embassy and then it took about 2 months to get it.

Here are some forms to have a look at:-

You will also, of course, have to get a local US birth certificate as well.

You say about getting a USA passport. I don't know if your child qualifies for US citizenship or not - although I'm sure you know better since you're there.

One thing to consider about US citizenship though is that it can cause tax problems when they are adults, as even if they never work in the USA they are SUPPOSED to fill in tax returns every year even though they never ever work - or even live - in the USA.

2. There are plenty of dual nationals, this causes no problems apart from the tax reporting issues I mentioned above - and even then a lot of people never bother to do actually do it anyway if they have never worked in the USA.

It won't be a case of renouncing US citizenship in order to get British citizenship. Your DC will be British from the day it's born, it's just that he/she won't have a passport until you apply for one. That doesn't mean that they're not British from the moment they're born though.

If your DC qualifies for US citizenship then they will also be a US citizen from birth as well, even though they don't have a US passport until you apply for it either.

With regards nationality/citizenship - same thing

nickymanchester Wed 10-Jul-13 18:49:53
angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:10:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 19:20:23

Hi, I'm an immigration solicitor (can pm you my details if you want to check up on me). What nicky says is pretty much correct.

There is no need to register the birth with the British Embassy but plenty of people like to. It is likely to take a while for his British passport to come through when you do apply.

I think just being born in the US entitles you to US citizenship but don't quote me on that! Your DS is British no matter what though.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:42:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 19:47:42

I'd imagine so - avoids difficult questions at the border about whether or not he has the right to be entering the US.

Dual US and British citizenship is fine. I have family with US/UK dual nationality. There's no requirement to choose as an adult but yy to the tax issue.

LinzerTorte Wed 10-Jul-13 19:50:34

DD1 was born in the USA and we got her a US passport for our first trip back to Europe as it was much quicker and easier (we just needed her birth certificate and passport photos). I then applied for a British passport for her when she was about 9 months old, which was a slightly more bureaucratic process! (We had our first application rejected as the countersignatory hadn't known us for long enough.)

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:40

Ooh btw I'm assuming either you or your DH was born in the UK. If you were both born abroad then your DC will NOT automatically be born British but may become British later.

Ps. Nationality and citizenship are only different if you want to be pedantic. Yes, thee is technically a difference but not one the average person would care about.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 19:57:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 20:01:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LinzerTorte Wed 10-Jul-13 20:12:00

I think it took around a month, but it was 11 years ago now so I can't remember exactly!

We're back in Europe now so didn't both renewing her US passport when it expired. I think the only issue (apart from the tax one, which has already been mentioned) is that she'd need to reapply for an American passport - or renounce her US citizenship - if we ever went back to the USA as she'd need to use her US passport to enter the country, having been born there.

zzzzz Wed 10-Jul-13 20:28:10

Interesting that dc are not automatically british if you were an expat child yourself. I had no idea!!! So are there babies who are refused british citizenship despite both parents being British?

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 20:38:17

zzzzz yes, British Citizenship only passes automatically by descent through 1 generation. There are ways of getting it for the subsequent generation though - iirc it's something like living in the UK for 3 years as a minor at the same time as your British parent lives here. But it costs a few hundred pounds to get it.

It makes sense if you think about it though - if it kept on passing down through generations of people who haven't ever lived here then half the world would have British Citizenship.

It only doesn't pass if the parent has been born abroad but is only British by virtue of their parents (ie. the grandparent) being British.

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 20:43:13

So if the OP's grandchildren are born in the UK, they will automatically be British. If they are born abroad they will not and will have to qualify probably by living here as children and pay £££££££££££££ for the privilege. Hope that makes sense!

Trazzletoes Wed 10-Jul-13 20:44:09

Unless the law changes in the meantime which it probably will!

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Wed 10-Jul-13 20:50:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Wed 10-Jul-13 22:42:13

So if you are not British because your parents were born overseas and you are born outside the UK what happens if the country you are born in doesnt give you nationality? Are you then from nowhere?


Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 04:39:33

Depends! Not that many people are born to 2 born-abroad British-only parents who dont qualify for any other form of nationality so may well qualify for the nationality of the other parent... (Ie. you will be British if you're born here and at least one of your parents has the right to live here permanently whether or not they are British)

In general, there are rules to prevent people from being born "stateless" ie. without a nationality but it does happen -particularly in the Middle East

Want2bSupermum Thu 11-Jul-13 05:05:18

We have an issue with our children not being British. I was born in Canada to a British father (born in India to British parents stationed abroad) and Canadian mother. My children are not entitled to British nationality and DD's application was rejected. This grates as I lived in the UK from the age of 8 through 25, attended boarding school while my father worked abroad, university and worked for a couple of years. I still own my flat in London too.

Luckily DH is Danish so they have Danish nationality and have the right to live and work in the UK should they wish to do so in the future. Given the colonial past of the UK the current rules do end up excluding some from the UK who I think should be considered British. My sister has married a Lebanese man and none of their children will be British nor will they have access to Europe. For this reason my sister plans to request a transfer to the UK once she has finished having babies in the US.

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 05:13:20

Ooh, can I jump on this one. DD has just been born in Australia - DH and I are both British but he was not born there.

I am a bit confused as we will probably return to live in Britain during her childhood and therefore is it better to get the British passport after she has been there for 3 years so that she then qualifies for the full British citizenship?

She can enter Britain on her Aussie passport. Also do I need to register her birth in Britain somehow? When I tried to do it with Australia as the country of birth, it just said register in accordance with local procedures (which obviously I have).

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 05:40:45

Mutley, I was actually dissuaded from registering DD2's birth at the consulate in Vienna as the woman there said that she's automatically a British citizen through me (British, born in the UK) and didn't need to be registered to get a British passport. I had to fork out over €100 for the DC's British passports, so was quite happy not to have to spend another €100 or so on registering their birth if it wasn't strictly necessary. (I did register DD1's birth in Washington, but she hasn't yet needed her British birth certificate.)

Not sure about your first question - there's nothing on the DC's passports to indicate that they're not "full" British citizens (apart from their place of birth being outside the UK, but AFAIK that only means that their children aren't automatically British citizens if they're born outside the UK). Hopefully someone else will know more!

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 06:09:43

Thanks LT - yes your right they are full British citizens but I would like my DD's kids to be British citizens wherever they are born - and I am sure that if she lives in Britain for 3 years as a child that can be the case but I don't know how it works in practice!

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 06:09:54

you're not your!

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 06:25:04

Mutley if you were born in Britain your DC are automatically British too - just one parent fine.
My DCs born in Australia to Australian DH and British me but my parents were expats and I was not born in Britain so am British by descent.

My kids have 2 options: can get British passports now before they are 15 or 18 can't remember which, if I provide proof of living and paying taxes in England for 3 consecutive years BUT they will not be able to pass on any further down the line if their DC not born in UK


They can get British by descent like me (able to pass on if meet conditions) if they live in UK for 3 consecutive years before turning either 15 or 18.

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 06:29:14

So yes you need to wait if you want them to have the most options as can't switch from one to the other even if you do end up doing the 3 years in that time frame.

But might be slightly different if you are not 'by descent'to start with.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 08:38:51

Mutley if you were born in the UK or your DH became British in any way other than being born abroad to British parents, your DD is automatically British.

Her passport will simply refer to her as a British Citizen, just like you or I. The only difference comes with regard to passing on her nationality to her children which would depend on where she was living at the time.

I don't think (though I could be wrong) its possible for her to "upgrade" her citizenship as it actually makes no difference to her. It only would affect her DCs and they will be able to become British if they live here for a certain amount of time as children.

Whoever said about 15 or 18. It's 18. The Border Agency considers everyone below 18 a child and there are no distinctions below that age.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 08:40:50

I think I'm confusing myself now without all the info in front of me - I think notsochic is right. Anyway, it's all set out in the UKBA website although its not terribly easy to read!

I was born abroad as was my brother and neither of us could pass our nationality on (Dutch), we both married British citizens so the children are British. All the children were born abroad as well.

My DH did register DD's birth in the UK (about GBP 170) as it means she has a British birth certificate as well. I know this means she cannot pass on her nationality but it does make things easier at the airport. Friends who haven't registered the births of their children in the UK get stopped every time at UK airports to check the passports are real. Now whether this is because of the registration we don't know but they are heading to the embassy to register the births.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 09:19:20

That's odd Ladybirds it should make absolutely no difference at all.

nickymanchester Thu 11-Jul-13 10:34:29

Mutley77 - ''Also do I need to register her birth in Britain somehow?''

LinzerTorte - ''didn't need to be registered to get a British passport''

As has been said above there's absolutely no need to do a consular birth registration. However, there are some benefits from doing it.

A UK consular birth certificate is universally accepted as proof of your British citizenship/identity independently of whether you have a passport or not. It never runs out, unlike your passport so it never needs to be renewed. It's also easier to have accepted for official purposes as a birth certificate in the UK.

When you register your child's birth at the consulate it will be registered in the UK Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages which means you or your child will always be able to obtain a copy if you lose your birth certificate. It may be much harder to get a copy of the original foreign birth certificate many years later.

Having a UK birth certificate makes life a lot simpler if you're applying for a replacement passport when yours is lost or stolen (the first thing the passport office will ask is a copy your UK birth certificate). If your child doesn't have one then they'll have to go through more hoops and hassle to prove they're of British citizenship by descent - foreign birth certificate, maybe certified translation, parents birth certificates etc (which may not be always readily available in later years).

I was a child born of british parents working in the US for two years (long time ago now).

When I had the dc's it was after the rule change regarding being born in this country. Since I think 1980 something, being born in this country does not give you automatic citizenship. So when we applied for passports for the children, we are not married and so the kids were getting their citizenship/nationality from me. What a bloody paid all the extra bits to fill in on the birth certificate (parents names, dates of birth, places of birth, date of marriage (I think) etc etc). And also details of my own passport. Can you believe that when I was 18 m old I came into Britain on nothing more than my name being added in handwriting, into my mothers passport!

Anyway my kids got their own passports but it was a faff, they took longer to arrive, and the woman on the 'check and send' at the post office had NO IDEA what to do with mine and told me to just send it anyway cos it would be returned to me if it was wrong confused.

Repeated the process the following year for ds2...

When I applied for my own passport many years ago I had to jump through extra hoops too, evne though I had a birth certificate from the consulate in Washington.

20 years ago I went on hols to the US to see relatives, my auntie marched me off to the passport office with my birth certificate and I got a US passport, which I have never used and which expired.

I never give a thought to dual nationality etc as I am perfectly happy being british and living in the UK since a was a few months old.

However your post just made me sit up and take notice - if ever I were to go back to the US would I need to travel on a US passport or do something official to renounce US citizenship? We were thinking of florida next year and I don't want to be one of those people hurled off at immigration and put on the next plane home!

I only found out about the tax return thing last year and it made me a bit angry that I could potentially be in for lots of bother some day all because my auntie was determined that I must have dual nationality and marched me off to get a passport and social security number. I really wouldn't have bothered myself unless I had wanted to go and live/work there at any stage

to clarify - the passport forms for my kids wanted details of MY parents dates and places of birth etc. So the authorities were checking out MY entitlement to british citizenship before granting it to my children.

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 11:14:14

nicky Yes, I can see there are definite advantages to having a UK birth certificate - particularly if you (or the DC) are planning to go back to live in the UK. I was a bit hmm that the woman at the consulate talked me out of it tbh, although like I said we haven't needed it so far. The DC now all have Austrian passports (DH is Austrian and we don't have any plans to move back to the UK) and I can't imagine they'd ever need a UK birth certificate/passport if we stay here - but of course you never know what the future will bring and this thread has made me wonder whether I should register the younger two after all.

Ladybirds That's strange; I fly back to the UK several times a year and no one has ever questioned why the DC have different passports from me. I didn't register the birth of the younger two in the UK but never had any problems when they had British passports either (although the fact that I have a British passport probably helped).

Flibberty From what I've heard, you'd either need to travel on a US passport or carry a document stating that you'd renounced your US citizenship. I remember reading about a family who weren't allowed to board a flight to the United States from the UK because their DD had been born in the USA but didn't have a US passport and the UK airline said there was no guarantee that she'd be allowed to enter the USA.
It says here that "Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States."

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 11-Jul-13 11:25:14

Trazzle no they won't.
DD1 was born in the UK from a british father not born in the UK and her passport was refused. I am not british if I was she would have been british if I was born in the UK only.
So it depends on who your DS will have babies with too not only where...

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 12:27:51

Thanks for your help. I have been onto the FCO website and it says as follows:
"You can’t register the birth with the UK authorities. However, the birth certificate you are given in Australia will be recognised and accepted in the UK, so this isn’t necessary."
So, I just now need to work out the whole three years living in the country and whether I get her passport before or after.

Notsochic Do you mean I should wait til DD has lived in the UK for 3 years before getting her passport? Do you think that is going to cause me an issue if I am taking her in and out of the country on an Aussie passport on holiday?

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 12:43:38

Mutley if you were born in the UK or your DH became British in any way other than being born abroad to British parents, your DD is automatically British.

There is then no need to live in the UK at all. She is British regardless and therefore entitled to a passport.

Apologies mousquetaire I'm sleep deprived and would usually check such things but don't have a computer right now.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 11-Jul-13 13:03:44

It's OK trazzle, every time I have asked any officials they have ignored us (too complicated I guess). We couldn't afford the 200 £ prime minister discretion nationality lottery when DD1 was little.
Thankfully my nationality issued passport with no problem just on the ground I was me, even if DDs have little connection with it and were both born abroad. DD2 is more complicated as not born in the UK and never lived there.

Takver Thu 11-Jul-13 13:35:50

Just a couple of things to add. DD was born overseas (not UK), and only has a UK passport, no UK birth cert - so far (now 11) it has never been a problem for us, we've just supplied a copy of her Spanish certificate plus UK passport when asked for birth cert.

Secondly, even given the possible tax implications, I would be very keen myself to get my dc a US passport if you can. You never know what your dc will want to do with their lives in the future, and it just gives them a whole extra set of options. DH has dual nationality as one of his parents is from the States, and while he hasn't wanted to live there, he got a job with the UK branch of a US firm in his 20s & was pretty sure the fact he has nationality was the fact that swung it in his favour.

Mutley77 Thu 11-Jul-13 13:37:26

Trazzletoes - I know she is British but what I would like to achieve if possible is that her DC are also British (even if they are born in another country). I think she has to have lived in Britain for 3 years as a child to have the right kind of citizenship to enable this - and don't know what it is or where I read it - I need to try and find it again!

She probably won't care and it won't be an issue but it is for me now so if we can do something to achieve it I want to!

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 11-Jul-13 13:47:21

Mutley No, DH lived for more than 20 years in the UK and wasn't able to pass it to DD1. His sister married UK citizens born in the UK so all her children are British.

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 15:19:42

Mutley According to this, a child born outside the UK who has lived in the UK for three years can be registered as a British citizen and can automatically pass citizenship onto their children, although it seems to apply only to children whose parents are British citizens by descent.

It also says here that "If there is a possibility the child may return to live in the United Kingdom before they reach the age of 15, you should consider whether it would be in their best interests to apply" to have them registered as a British citizen as above.

Finally, according to this (sections 13 and 14), if you can choose between having your child registered as a British citizen by descent and having them registered as a British citizen registered other than by descent (because they've been living in the UK for three years), you may want to wait to register them until you've been in the UK for three years as once they've been registered as a British citizen by descent (and can't automatically pass on citizenship), this cannot be changed.

Sorry, a bit long-winded; I'm also not too sure about whether it affects the child's passport or just registration of the birth, so don't know how much help all that actually is!

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 15:22:31

Mutley perhaps this is the information you are talking about. It does seem to say that if the parent has lived in the UK for 3 years then their child can be British by descent.

I think I understand now... Mousequetaire her passport application WOULD be refused - she isn't British. But she can apply to be REGISTERED as British (costs several hundred pounds) and then will be eligible for a British passport. But she isn't automatically British.

Mutley it doesn't matter when you apply for your child's passport. When your child applies for your Grandchild to be registered as British they will have to send off evidence that your child had lived in the UK for the requisite time. THAT is when it's important, not now, IYSWIM.

And that's if the law doesn't change in the meantime. Which it may well do.

Hope that helps!

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 15:32:11

Linzer that's not quite how it works - Mutley's child will always be a British Citizen by Descent no matter when she applies for her passport. The only difference between that child and I is that my Citizenship would pass for one generation if I had a child abroad.

As the law currently stands, Mutley could have a grandchild born abroad and registered as British if her child lives in the UK at some point for 3 years. The proof needs to be sent with the Grandchild's registration application. Mutley's child's passport will be the same as yours or mine, the only time that the "by descent" becomes an issue is when the Grandchildren are born. Basically, there's no need to wait 3 years to apply for a passport.

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 16:12:11

I'm not sure Mutley as I have been reading the info from my perspective as British citizen by descent - not sure how it applies if a parent British other than by descent.

In my case, yes, getting a British passport now would mean that if we then did move back to the UK I couldn't then 'upgrade' them IYSWIM. But remember this only applies to their children - even if yours ended up by descent and their kids not born in UK, they could pass on like I am doing if they had met residence requirements at some point. And if they hadn't, would it really matter to them if their kids were British,

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 16:14:47

Trazzletoes Yes, I wasn't quite sure whether parents who are British by birth can register their children as British otherwise than by descent - there was only mention of children whose parents are British citizens by descent.

It just seems a little strange that people who are "only" British citizens by descent can register their children so that they can automatically pass on citizenship (provided they've been living in the UK for three years) but that people who are British by birth can't. Unless I've misunderstood... Having said that, I don't have an issue with my future grandchildren not being British citizens - it's not even as if my own children have ever lived in the UK, so it's fair enough (although I am a little sad that the British line of my family will die out!).

notsochic Thu 11-Jul-13 16:23:05

Actually think I got my originsl posts wrong - think if my kids got their passports after living in England for 3 years they would automatically pass on citizenship - so more than I can do myself.

It's all on the UK border agency site anyway gives up as brain melts

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 18:18:02

Linzer British citizens otherwise than by descent will automatically pass British citizenship on to their children wherever they are born. The children can get a passport with no need to register first.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 18:20:26

The by descent thing is only to limit the number of people becoming British automatically at birth despite many generations of their family never having lived here. Hence why spending a certain amount of time here then allows your DCs to be registered as British otherwise than by descent so they can pass it on.

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 18:31:28

Trazzletoes I'm confused because it seems that if you're British by descent and have children born overseas, if you go back and live in the UK for three years then your DC will be able to automatically pass on British citizenship (wherever they have children).

Whereas if you're British otherwise than by descent (like me), it appears that your DC's children can only be British citizens if they're born in the UK and it's not automatic - despite the fact that you originally had a closer connection to Britain IYSWIM. I couldn't find any information saying that if I, as a British citizen otherwise than by descent, went back and lived in the UK for three years with the DC, they could then be British citizens otherwise than by descent too (as would be the case if I was British by descent).

That's probably as clear as mud. grin

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 11-Jul-13 18:34:15

Hi, I am in the same position as you OP. We are both British but DC2 will be born here in Washington later in the year.

I was told by the embassy (lots of friends who work there) that the new baby will automatically have dual nationality - US by birthplace and UK by descent. As soon as you're a US citizen, you have to travel in and out of the US on a US passport anyway, so that's the one you need to get first. (Also, conveniently, means no more queues as an alien at passport control for the rest of the family!) Following that, you can go to the embassy or consulate (depending where you are) and have the baby's details registered so they are on British records too and get a British birth certificate. IIRC, this costs $300. You can also get a British passport through the embassy - though currently the Washington office directs people to NYC for this service.

PM me if you're anywhere nearby, there are a few of us here!

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Thu 11-Jul-13 19:17:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 11-Jul-13 19:30:59

No problem! Good luck with everything.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 20:55:18

"Trazzletoes I'm confused because it seems that if you're British by descent and have children born overseas, if you go back and live in the UK for three years then your DC will be able to automatically pass on British citizenship (wherever they have children)."


Whereas if you're British otherwise than by descent (like me), it appears that your DC's children can only be British citizens if they're born in the UK and it's not automatic - despite the fact that you originally had a closer connection to Britain IYSWIM. I couldn't find any information saying that if I, as a British citizen otherwise than by descent, went back and lived in the UK for three years with the DC, they could then be British citizens otherwise than by descent too (as would be the case if I was British by descent).


If you are British otherwise than by descent, your child (born after 2006) is AUTOMATICALLY British, no matter where in the world they are born. There is no need to apply for registration as British because the child is British from birth and can just pay for a passport.

British Citizenship otherwise than by descent is "top-grade" as it were.

Trazzletoes Thu 11-Jul-13 20:57:17

Linzer sorry, your child born abroad will be British by descent. You can't do anything to "upgrade" that. But if your child then lives in the UK for 3 years, their child will be British otherwise than by descent if they apply to be registered.

LinzerTorte Thu 11-Jul-13 21:35:48

Trazzle Thanks, your second post is the answer to my question! Yes, I realise that the DC are automatically British through me and that their births don't need to be registered at the consulate (I didn't bother with the younger two, who still had British passports).

It's highly unlikely that we'll be going back to the UK while the DC are still under 18 so it was more a rhetorical question, but still interesting to know the answer.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Thu 11-Jul-13 21:47:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NomDeClavier Thu 11-Jul-13 21:55:49

I've heard of instances of people ignoring the British by descent, coming to the UK and naturalising after the requisite period. I presume that only works if you're not relying on your British nationality/connection to go back to the UK.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Fri 12-Jul-13 06:39:37

Still confused
"Trazzletoes I'm confused because it seems that if you're British by descent and have children born overseas, if you go back and live in the UK for three years then your DC will be able to automatically pass on British citizenship (wherever they have children)."


so why doesn't it work for DD1? is it because she is born in 2005 in the UK (lived there more than 3 years) and we weren't married?

Does that mean that if we stay 3 years in the UK DD2 can be british because we are married and she is born in 2010?

or does it works only for children with only 2 british parents (for many generations)

Trazzletoes Fri 12-Jul-13 06:47:40

Mousequetaire can I answer your question over the weekend? I'm in hospital with DS right now and so don't have my usual stuff - Nationality law is pretty complicated and I don't want to tell you the wrong answer! My instinct is that there's a way round it for both DDs, in that if DD2 can become British due to the 3 year rule, then at the very least DD1 ought to be able to be British by discretion but I need to read up on that a bit.

But yes, 2005 and unmarried is an unfortunate combination in Nationality Law.

Trazzletoes Fri 12-Jul-13 06:51:29

Let me make sure I have the facts right though: you are not BRitish. DH is British by descent. DD1 was born in the UK in 2005 while you were not married to each other. She has lived in the UK for a bit? DD2 was born abroad but has also never lived in the UK, yes?

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Fri 12-Jul-13 09:33:05

Hope your DS is OK. Of course it can wait.
You are right, we are all in the UK now but not long enough to be resident again.
We did reregistered DD1 when we married she was 6 months and she lived in the UK till 3.5 yo.
We did ask if it was because we weren't married and they said no, then never mentioned anything about DH not being born in the UK being the reason. I think the registra and the passport office were both confused. We ask again at the consulate when DD2 was born but they just ignored the requests and never called back as promise so we gave up chasing it.
It is all within 4 EU countries though so it doesn't really matter for them, it might for their children. DD1 really wants to be british though because it is were she is born and has attachment


I am not sure whether to be depressed or annoyed at what you have told me, my auntie is already deceased otherwise I'd be probably having a row with her right now over why she insisted I needed the passport and Social Security number. She was insisting it was for when I came over to work there, but being born there would mean I'd get a green card no probs, and my BRITISH passport, which I entered the US on for that visit, simply has a visa in saying I can enter for unlimited visits of unlimited duration. When I applied for that visa it came with a letter saying this visa is for life so no need to renew it if I want to visit the US after the passport expires, simply take this visa with me.

(although I know there's an electronic thingy you have to do now to have a visa so I'd probably have to reapply anyway).

I entered the US that time and left the US that time, on my British passport, which clearly states 'Washington DC' as my place of birth. In fact when I left the US the US passport was being processed and it was posted to my home in the UK.

So I am very pissed off to think that if we were to go for a family holiday to florida or visit my cousins at any time, I run the risk of being denied entry (to the country of my birth ha ha) OR, go through the faff and probably expense of either renewing that bloody passport or filling in some forms to renounce my US citizenship?

Grrrrrrr. I know some people like having dual nationality, my sister waves a British passport when entering the UK and her Australian one when she goes home (citizen cos she's lived there 25 years), but I don't want, have no need for, and never did have any need for, a US passport.
Why did my auntie have to stick her nose in?

question for trazzletoes

One of my cousins was born in the UK while her mother and (non-uk US immigrant) father were in the UK to take advantage of the NHS. Yes I know.... they got on the boat when she was 5m pregnant and she pretended she'd never been away! She didn't have good enough medical insurance to cover complications and had already had two stillbirths sad

Her subsequent children were all born in the US.

This eldest child is married to a US citizen, and has 2 children of her own. cousin and her own eldest child are coming to the UK next month and part of the trip is to take this 22 year old child to London and 'get' her a British Passport, my cousin says that as she was born in the UK to a british mother and non-british father, she can pass on her nationality one generation?

Cousin went back to the US at 3m old and has never lived or worked here since. Her own child has never been here.

Will she be granted a passport based on her mother being born here and having a BP herself?


Trazzletoes Fri 12-Jul-13 11:12:41

Flib in a nutshell, yes. But she doesn't have to come here to get a passport she can just apply to her local embassy.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 14-Jul-13 12:01:45

Mousquetaire - if you were resident/"settled" in UK when your daughter was born, would she not have been British under section 1(1)(b) of BNA 1981?

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Sun 14-Jul-13 12:07:00

That is what we thought but apparently not!

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 14-Jul-13 12:26:35

I know it is a pain in the arse having to prove that you are settled. I used to hate these cases more than anything else - give me a complicated family tree, back in the day, when I did immigration, the more former colonies and oddities, the better, but someone with a child born when they were "settled" in the UK, and my heart used to sink. Unfortunately, we got zero clarity from the HO on how they defined "settled". So I would give citizenship to the children of people who had the right of abode in UK, those who were clearly working there, had been for several years, and could prove it, because if I referred anything - anything at all - back to the Home Office, it would disappear into a black hole, and we'd never hear back from them. I think they have several rooms there, marked "much too difficult". And unfortunately, once we had referred something to them, we were not allowed to make a decision locally.

I wonder if it is worth your while having another go? Trazzle is better placed to advise on this.

jkklpu Sun 14-Jul-13 12:32:00

NB Your child doesn't need a British passport to travel to/live in Britain; it's not the passport that gives nationality. As a passport will cost less if you apply from the UK than from overseas, why don't you wait until you're back in the UK before you apply for one, assuming the US one will still be valid?

Trazzletoes Sun 14-Jul-13 13:05:05

jkk presumably because if they're coming for anything other than a holiday, the child will need a visa anyway which is likely to be costly and time-consuming than getting a passport.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 14-Jul-13 13:45:18

Flibberty - your birth in the US means you are automatically a US citizen, a passport doesn't confer nationality - you would be regarded as American by the US authorities, even without a passport. So even if you completely innocently travelled to Florida on your British passport, you would be likely to be stopped at Immigration if they clocked your place of birth.

I know. I am a dual national and have been since birth, but the rules must have changed since I 'innocently' entered the US on my british passport over 20 years ago.

Passport clearly states Washington DC, and when I applied for the US visa the passport situation was not mentioned by any authorities.

I am wondering now how on earth, if I were to renew the US passport in a few years to travel there, how will I explain its expiry in about 1989 and not been renewed since...

Think I'll just put it on the list of places I've BEEN and carry on finding different places to visit. We came home when I was under 2, I have no memories of it and its not like I left friends there that I'd want to go back and see! There is always Disneyland Paris...

But hey ho, thank goodness for mumsnet, we will book a Mediterranean cruise instead grin

youarewinning Sun 14-Jul-13 19:29:43

DS born abroad to British parents. Registered birth at local office and passport obtained through British embassy.

It was an eu country though - not sure if that changes things?

Living Wed 17-Jul-13 06:29:12

Can I jump on and ask one?

Both by children are British by descent (not born in the UK). We don't plan on returning to the UK anytime soon and in the back of my head I've always been slightly worried about the nationality of their children. If their children are born in the UK (maybe only on a visit or maybe they'll live there, who knows) are the children British other than by descent again?

All this isn't really an issue if their partners have a nationality they can pass on but that's by no means a certainty!

Also, going back a few pages someone mentioned a father being stationed abroad and therefore being British by descent. My understanding is, depending on the nature of the posting, a child born to a parent stationed abroad would be considered British other than by descent (i.e. treated as if they have been born in the UK).

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 17-Jul-13 06:40:55

Living - yes, if someone is British by descent and they come back to UK to heave the baby out on UK soil, the child is British OTBD (I have several friends who have done this).

If the child's parent (father, prior to 1.1.83) was posted overseas by HMG - so in military, civil or diplomatic service and the child is born overseas during this posting (and not while they are on holiday in Benidorm!) then the child is British OTBD and can pass his/her nationality on. It does depend on the nature of the posting - I am not sure if those working for the EU, for example, would be covered by this ruling, as they would not be employed by HMG.

Living Thu 18-Jul-13 06:38:46

Thanks - that's what I'd always understood. How does it work for a male that is British by descent though - does the same thing apply or does it have to be the mother?

I grew up thinking I was British by descent (what I'd always been told, I'm an expat brat) only to discover that I was born before the cut off point. I remember getting quite stressed about this when I was pregnant first time round as DH was also not born in the UK (but his father was serving overseas). When I called the British embassy to ask whether I needed to deliver in the UK they said 'oh I'm not sure, maybe you should be be safe' hmm

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 18-Jul-13 07:09:18

Living - same thing applies (when I did nationality work the parents had to be married if the father could pass his nationality on if the baby was born overseas, but I think this is no longer the case - Trazzle can probably advise on this). If you were born overseas, regardless of when (am assuming you are not so ancient that you fall under BNA 1948), and were not born to someone in government service, you will be British by descent. The Embassy were probably covering their backs as they didn't have all the info and paperwork open to them! We had some very complex cases, where people thought they were British because their father had been a consultant on an ODA contract in Africa in the 1960s, and a bit of research showed that the father was hired as an independent consultant on a government contract, rather than being a civil servant, and this exception to the rule didn't apply to them. But what it did teach me was that the Brits are very good at record keeping, because we never had one case that was a "don't know" or "not proven"!

Chunderella Wed 24-Jul-13 16:30:13

LeMousquetaire are you saying you're not British, DDs dad is, you weren't married and she was born in the UK in 2005?

If so, no she wouldn't have acquired British nationality at birth. Reason being that unmarried fathers couldn't pass on their citizenship until some time in 2006. Nothing to do with citizenship by descent etc. Just plain sexism. However, people in your daughter's position can now register as British. I've a feeling you have to pay the fee though, which is very unfair.

Living any child born in the UK to a British parent, regardless of which one, whether they were married and how they got their status is British.

Trazzletoes Wed 24-Jul-13 16:41:50

I haven't forgotten I promised to answer questions, but my DS has had an unexpected extended stay in hospital <sigh>

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Wed 24-Jul-13 19:02:02

Trazzle, don't worry, I have seen your thread very recently take care of yourself. FX for your son.

Chunderella Wed 24-Jul-13 19:11:32

Sorry to hear about that Trazzletoes.

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