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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I am British Citizen (male) having been born in the U.K. and

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I am British Citizen (male) having been born in the U.K. and currently live in South Africa. My daughter was born in South Africa in 2001. I was not married at the time however, in terms of S.A. law I applied to the South African High Court and was granted full parental recognition and joint guardianship, and therefore my daughter was legitimized legally and she has the same legal status as if I had been married. My question is whether she is eligible for U.K. citizenship given these circumstances. I also have her birth certificate on which I was registered as the father etc.

Your daughter is not automatically British but you may apply to register her as British before her 18th birthday and enclose the court order from the South African court giving you full parental responsbility.

The form to use is MN1:
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for this info. It aligns with my interpretation. Could I ask about the requirement on the form for the mothers signature. I have requested this numerous times (over years) from the Mother but she has not done it, although she has not voiced any objections to the application either. My daughter is very keen to apply for citizenship. Could I go ahead and submit the application form without the mothers signature ? I need to know if the application will be successful or not if I don't have the mothers signature. If I enclose the Court Order etc as you said and show that I am legally recognized as her Father (as if I had married), do I still need the mothers signature ?

I am afraid I cannot say whether the application will be successful or not as it is at the discretion of the UK Home Office.

You may submit the application without the mother's signature and explain that you have sole responsbility for the child as shown in the court order.

Hope this helps, please leave feedback
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. To clarify, I do not have sole responsibility for the child. We are joint guardians, and the mother is the custodial parent. My understanding of the discretionary aspect of the UK Home Office decision making will be guided and informed by legislation i.e. she was born prior to 2006 (had she been born after 2006 she would be automatically entitled to citizenship from what I understand). From the guidance form :

"Children born illegitimately

before1 July 2006 could only derive British citizenship

through their mothers. They could not benefit from their father’s British citizenship unless their parents married and the birth was legitimated."

The Court Order I have legitimizes my daughter and therefore I believe the criteria of legitimacy is met.

The guide also states the following:

"We may normally register the illegitimate minor child, born before 1 July 2006, of a British citizen father under section 3 (1) if the criteria at a-c. (and, if appropriate, d.) below are all satisfied:

a.We are satisfied about the paternity of the child; and

b.We have the consent of all those with parental responsibility; and

c. If the child had been born to the father legitimately:

i.the child would have had an automatic claim to British citizenship; or

ii.the child would have had an entitlement to registration under either section 1 (3), section 3 (2) or sections 3 (5); or

13 iii. we would normally have registered under section 3 (1). And, if appropriated. There is no reason to refuse on character grounds."

The above leaves some uncertainty in my mind about the need for the mothers consent in the form of a signature on the form. It seems like this will be needed, but if the application is viewed in light of the 2006 change in the law, and in terms of this, it is determined that she would have received it automatically, would it be processed in this light as part of the discretionary aspect ?

This is the kind of clarification I am hoping to have answered.

I am afraid if you do not have sole parental responsbility for the child, then the mother's consent would be required normally unless there is a very good explanation as to why this is not forthcoming.
Lack of consent could mean that the mother does not wish for the child to become a British citizen with the possibility of the child moving to the UK without the consent of the mother. You should try and get the mother's consent to the application to give it a good chance of success in that case.

The 2006 cut off date is the law I am afraid and is there to stay until the UK Parliament amend the law and remove this 2006 cut off date.

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