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British citizenship

This section provides information about British citizenship and other forms of British nationality. It explains whether you are a British citizen, how you can apply for British citizenship and other forms of British nationality, and how you can give up your citizenship.

Naturalising as a British citizen in the future

What are the proposed changes?

On 20 February 2008 the Government published the Green Paper 'The Path to Citizenship: Next Steps in Reforming the Immigration System'. In this document we outlined our proposals for changing the way that someone can become a British citizen or remain here as a permanent resident. These proposals are collectively called 'Earned citizenship'. These proposals will, if agreed by Parliament, lead to change late in 2009. Thereafter, migrants will be expected to pass through 3 key stages and demonstrate certain requirements in order to progress between these. Our aim is to make the journey clearer, simpler and easier for migrants and the public to understand. The three stages are set out below:

1. Temporary residence
2. Probationary citizenship
3. British citizenship/permanent residence

Until then existing arrangements for naturalisation will continue.

Children of British mothers - proposed changes

A person who has a British mother currently has a right to register as a British citizen if:

  • he or she was born between 7 February 1961 and 1 January 1983; and
  • he or she would have become a British citizen if women had been able to pass on citizenship in the same way as men at that time.

The government plans to introduce an amendment to allow people born before the 1961 date to register under this section. The proposals will be introduced in the Citizenship, Immigration and Borders Bill in December 2008. The Bill will be debated in Parliament from December and so, if this proposal becomes law, it is unlikely to come into effect until late 2009.

Further information about this requirement can be found in Guide UKM which you can download from the right side of this page.

Depending on your current citizenship or nationality you may be able to apply in several ways. You should read the requirements for each type of application that is relevant and decide which is best for you.

If you are unsure if you meet the requirements, you should contact us for advice.

In this section

What is British citizenship?

This page explains what British citizenship is and what other types of British nationality there are.

Who has the right to live in the United Kingdom?

This page explains who has the right to live in the United Kingdom without any immigration restrictions (normally called the right of abode).

Who can apply for British citizenship and other forms of British nationality?

This section explains the requirements you need to meet before you apply to become a British citizen or to register for another form of British nationality.

How do I apply for British citizenship or another form of British nationality?

This section provides details of how you can apply for British citizenship, British overseas territories citizenship, British overseas citizenship, or British subject status. It includes information on how to complete the form, the cost of applying and current waiting times.

How do I give up (renounce) British citizenship or another form of British nationality?

This section explains how you can give up (renounce) your British citizenship or other British nationality if you want to become a citizen or national of another country.

What if my application is refused?

This page explains what to do if your application for citizenship or other form of nationality is unsuccessful and you do not think we have applied the law or our policy correctly.

Can I be a citizen of two countries?

This page explains whether you can be a citizen of two countries and the same time (usually known as dual nationality) and how this will affect you when travelling overseas.

Withdrawal of your citizenship (deprivation)

This page explains why we may withdraw your British citizenship (deprive you of it) if you deliberately provide us with incorrect information when making an application.

How do I apply for a British passport?

This page explains how you can apply for a British passport if your application for British citizenship is successful.

Contact us

This page provides our contact details. You should contact us if you are unable to find the answer to your questions on this site.

Application forms

Registration as a British citizen by certain persons born before 1983 to British mothers

Terms explained

  • Green Paper

    A consultation document produced by a government department when it is considering introducing a new law. The document allows the public and parliament to debate the proposals and comment on them.

All glossary terms



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