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British Citizenship in United Kingdom

Definition of British Citizenship

In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of British Citizenship : One of three forms of citizenship introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981, which replaced citizenship of the UK and Colonies. The others are *British Dependent Territories citizenship and *British Overseas citizenship.

On the date on which it came into force (1 January 1983), the Act conferred British citizenship automatically on every existing citizen of the UK and Colonies who was entitled to the right of abode in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971 (See immigration). As from that date, there have been four principal ways of acquiring the citizenship – by birth, by descent, by registration, and by naturalization. A person acquires it by birth only if he is born in the UK and his father or mother is either a British citizen or settled in the UK (i.e. resident there, and not restricted by the immigration laws as to length of stay). If born outside the UK, he acquires it by descent if one of his parents has British citizenship (but not, normally, if that citizenship was itself acquired by descent). The British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983 makes special provisions to confer British citizenship on those people with connections with the Falkland Islands. The British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997 gave additional rights to certain people from Hong Kong to acquire British citizenship “by descent” or “otherwise than with descent”. Registration may be applied for by a minor, but adults are eligible only if they have particular links with the UK. In some cases (e.g. British Dependent Territories citizens, British Overseas citizens, British protected persons, and British subjects with certain residential qualifications), it is a right; in others, it is at the discretion of the Secretary of State.

Any adult may apply for naturalization but there are residential and other requirements (e.g. proof of good character), and its grant is always discretionary.

A registered or naturalized citizen may be deprived of his citizenship if he obtained it improperly, behaves disloyally, or is sentenced during the first five years to imprisonment exceeding one year.



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(2015, 04). British Citizenship lawi.org.uk Retrieved 06, 2021, from https://lawi.org.uk/british-citizenship/

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  • Article Name: British Citizenship
  • Author: Agostino Von Hassell
  • Description: Definition of British Citizenship In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of British [...]

This entry was last updated: November 4, 2020

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