Possibility of UK citizenship?
August 26, 2005 1:49 PM   Subscribe

PieInTheSkyFilter: I've heard tell of the possibility of attaining UK citizenship if your grandparents were born there. Is this true?

More information:
Grandmother is a UK citizen. She meets grandfather during WWII (who is a Canadian citizen) and moves to Canada to raise a family. She never renounces her UK citizenship even after attaining Canadian citizenship (dual).

Is it possible for any kin to successful apply for UK citizenship?
posted by purephase to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Are you Canadian? It seems that this may be the case for Commonwealth citizens . See also UK embassy in Canada info here: "A commonwealth citizen with an UK born grandparent may be eligible to apply for a visa allowing entry to the UK for purposes of work."

If you are not a citizen of an "old Commonwealth" country, this is unlikely to apply
posted by cushie at 2:00 PM on August 26, 2005

Sorry, embassy link again .
posted by cushie at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2005

According to my grandmother (born in England) who looked into citizenship for my mother, no.
posted by cali at 2:03 PM on August 26, 2005

I have heard of this for Irish citizenship. You only need an well-documented Irish-born grandparent to get an Irish passport. Not for the UK though.
posted by smackfu at 2:04 PM on August 26, 2005

True for Irish citizenship, yes, or at least it was. The links I posted above imply you can get a 4 year work permit, not full citizenship- I should have said that. But you don't have to have a job arranged in advance, which is a big plus.
posted by cushie at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2005

If you have an Irish citizen for grandparent (or parent) then you can apply for Irish citizenship. A woman I worked with did this--although it took quite a while for all the paperwork to go through.

A useful link with some more info.
posted by divka at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2005

I used to work at a British Consulate in the US and people called to ask this question all the time. In most cases, you are not eligible for citizenship through descent if you are over the age of 18. Keep in mind, we were advising Americans; I have no idea what the rule is for Canadians.
posted by necessitas at 2:26 PM on August 26, 2005

I think it's gotten stricter since a citizen of the UK is also an EU citizen. My dad was under the impression that as NZ citizens we were eligible, but it's not the case anymore.
posted by scazza at 2:41 PM on August 26, 2005

Oh and I just saw necessitas' comment: I applyed for citizenship by descent when I was over 18. As I understood it, it's just easier for your parents to declare you their child to the country in question before you are 18, otherwise you have to jump through hoops to get it done.
posted by scazza at 3:20 PM on August 26, 2005

When I met my Aussie husband in London in 1999, he'd just come over on an Ancestry visa himself (courtesy of a Welsh grandfather). He was granted a four-year work visa, not citizenship, but I'm pretty sure you can apply for citizenship after living there for four years anyway. So it was true to an extent five years ago...
posted by web-goddess at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2005

yup--Irish, and Commonwealth, i've heard.
posted by amberglow at 6:30 PM on August 26, 2005

Hm. My mom is English and I managed to successfully apply for citizenship at age 16. But I remember the woman at the embassy saying that if I had been born a few years earlier (I was born in 1986), it wouldn't have worked out because my father is American -- because of some law that was in effect only for people born after a certain year. So I really doubt that you can get it through your grandmother. See this:
9. In general, since 1 January 1983, it has been possible to acquire British citizenship automatically:

(a) by birth in the UK to a parent who is either a British citizen or settled in the UK under immigration law;

(b) by adoption in the UK by a British citizen parent;

(c) by birth outside the UK to a parent who is a British citizen "otherwise than by descent";

(d) by birth outside the UK to a British citizen parent in Crown, Designated or European Community service.
from here
and this:
Children born in the United States to a father (or, if born after 31 December 1982 to either a father or a mother) who is a British citizen by birth, registration, naturalisation or settlement in the United Kingdom are British citizens by descent.
from here.

So I think the answer is no. Your mother(or father) cannot get citizenship through his or her mother because (I assume) he or she was born after 1982. If one of your parents doesn't have citizenship, there is no way you can get it outside of being naturalization.

(I understand it works differently in Ireland as people have mentioned.)
posted by puffin at 5:10 AM on August 27, 2005

As a Canadian I was able to get a special UK work visa (around about 1997) because my grandma was a UK citizen. As described above, had I stayed there for four years that could have eventually led to citizenship, but it certainly wasn't instant or automatic.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:43 AM on August 27, 2005

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