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Right to register as British to those born out of wedlock to British fathers

From the 6th of April, children born out of wedlock outside the UK to British fathers will have an entitlement to register as British citizens.

Before 1 July 2006 a child could only obtain citizenship through his or her father if the parents were married. That law changed on 1 July 2006 to allow a person to acquire citizenship through his or her father, irrespective of whether the parents were married, subject always to proof of paternity. That change was not made retrospective.

The new provisions will create a registration route for:

1. Those who would have become British citizens automatically under the 1981 Act had their parents been married.

2. Those who would currently have an entitlement to register as a British citizen under the 1981 Act but for the fact that their parents are not married.

Paternity can be proved by:

- the person being named as the father on a birth certificate issued within one year of a child’s birth; or

- other evidence that shows the applicant is the natural father, eg. a DNA test report or court order, or other evidence that shows paternity.

Acquiring British citizenship via this route will make the applicant British “by descent”.

If you would like to speak to a specialist British citizenship and immigration solicitor, please contact us on +44(0)20 7038 3980 or contact us via or our contact form.

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