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Parliament examines Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill

Children born overseas to the UK armed forces members to be registered as British citizens, mulls government 20th June 2009: Children born overseas to foreign and commonwealth member of the United Kingdom armed forces will be registered as British citizens, once the British Nationality Act 1981 is amended. For registration, the parent should be serving outside the United Kingdom at the time of birth, and both parents have to agree to the registration.

The Government also intends to make changes to the requirements for naturalisation to introduce the concept of earned citizenship.

The UKBA has already announced that the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill is being considered by the Parliament; and the Government intends to make a number of changes to the British nationality law.

One of the changes is to amend the British Nationality Act, 1981. As of now a person born in the United Kingdom to a parent in the armed forces is a British citizen.

But the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill will insert a new section 4D into the British Nationality Act, 1981. With it, it will be possible for children born overseas to those in the armed forces to be registered as British citizens.

The UKBA also intends to make changes to section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act. Currently, children of British citizens by descent can only be registered, if an application is made within 12 months of the birth; six years if allowed by the Home Secretary. The proposed changes will give more time and allow applications to be made any time before the child’s 18th birthday.

Another change under consideration is to allow British overseas nationals to be registered under section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981, if they do not hold any other citizenship or nationality. However, they will not qualify, if they have done anything after 19 March 2009, that resulted in the loss of another nationality.

Currently, if you have a British mother, you have a right to register as a British citizen under section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981, if you were born between 7 February 1961, and 1 January, 1983; and you 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 intention of the Bill is to extend the provisions of section 4C to those born before 1961.

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