Belated dual citizenship?
September 12, 2010 5:39 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend was born in England to two USA citizens. She is now 31, a run-of-the-mill USA citizen and USA resident. Can she get dual citizenship in the EU via the UK, or is it far too late? What is the big picture? What is the first step?
posted by zeek321 to Law & Government (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This page should have the answer.
Citizenship if you were born after 1983 in the UK.
posted by zippy at 5:55 PM on September 12, 2010


Ah sorry, I missed your girlfriend's age, which means that page doesn't apply. That site should answer your question, though.
posted by zippy at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2010


The OP's girlfriend was born in 1979 or thereabouts.

Short answer, no.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2010


No. Citizenship by birth is pretty unique for the United States among developed countries.
posted by halogen at 6:01 PM on September 12, 2010


Place of birth, that is.
posted by halogen at 6:04 PM on September 12, 2010


She is almost certainly a UK citizen by birth, according to the Home Office.
posted by katemonster at 6:04 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Short answer, no.

Actually, short answer, yes: as katemonster says, she's always been a British citizen unless her parents were diplomats on an official posting. The British Nationality Act 1981 tightened the criteria for citizenship from birth, but that only came into force in 1983.

That should mean she can just apply for a passport from the UK consular section in the USA, with no other bureaucracy required.

(It also means that if the two of you have children, you can register them as British citizens by descent.)
posted by holgate at 6:13 PM on September 12, 2010


Anyway, here's a nice, simple flowchart showing the steps she needs to take.

If she doesn't have her long-form birth certificate, she can order one online via the General Register Office.
posted by holgate at 6:17 PM on September 12, 2010


Thank you, everyone! We were totally clueless.
posted by zeek321 at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2010


Damn, I didn't dig deep enough into the Home Office website. Mea culpa!
posted by elsietheeel at 6:21 PM on September 12, 2010


And to finish up: if you do end up having kids together, you technically don't have to register their birth with the consulate, and can just apply for passports: doing so will get them into the bureaucratic system, which may or may not be something you'd want. (And this may be way ahead of where your relationship is at.)
posted by holgate at 6:25 PM on September 12, 2010


Hrm, her dad was a grad student at the time. Not a diplomat or anything like that. Not sure about her mom--she was "just" over there while dad was doing school. So it seems like she's good to go, right?
posted by zeek321 at 6:45 PM on September 12, 2010


Yes, she is a UK citizen (unless the diplomat exemption applies). She can't get citizenship in the UK - she already is a citizen and has been since birth. She surely has a British birth certificate, so she just needs to use it to apply for a passport.

Citizenship by birth is pretty unique for the United States among developed countries.

Not for people who are now 31. Canada still has citizenship by birth and at the time the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa did as well.
posted by ssg at 6:48 PM on September 12, 2010


So it seems like she's good to go, right?

Yep, sounds good to go. The diplomatic exception is sufficiently rare that she'd likely know about it already. (For instance, military brats born on US bases in the UK before 1983 are British citizens by birth.)
posted by holgate at 7:44 PM on September 12, 2010


Indeed. I did not realize how different things used to be.
posted by halogen at 9:26 PM on September 12, 2010


Well, after wondering about this forever (she's a busy lady) and being worried that some time window had closed, she's going to apply for a passport. Pretty exciting! Thanks again, everyone.
posted by zeek321 at 5:05 AM on September 13, 2010


« Older Any idea where I could get a f...   |  What's the best hub motor for ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.