close menu

Do you qualify for a British passport as a South African?

by Sable International | Oct 13, 2011
  • Below is a letter written by one of our UK Nationality partners on behalf of a client who qualified for one of the five forms of British Nationality. To protect the identity of the client, their name has been redacted but all other information is unchanged.
    Union jack watermarked


    This client had a UK-born parent, and his son (i.e the grandchild of the UK-born grandparent) could claim British Nationality because of the parent’s residency in the UK. Click here for more information on British Nationality by Descent and British Mothers as supplied by

    The Letter to the UK Home Office

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    The parents of the above-named child wish to register their son as a British Citizen pursuant to Section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981, as amended by sections 43 & 47 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. The purpose of this letter is to explain how our client qualifies for Registration to aid your consideration of the matter.

    Section 3(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 reads as follows;

    (2) A person born outside the United Kingdom and the qualifying territories shall be entitled, on an application for his registration as a British citizen made within the period of twelve months (amended to ‘made before the child’s 18th birthday’ rather than within 12 months of the birth with section 43 of the BCI Act 2009) from the date of birth, to be registered as such a citizen if the requirements specified in subsection (3) or, in the case of a person born stateless, the requirements specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of that subsection, are fulfilled in the case of either that person's father or his mother ("the parent in question").

    (3) The requirements referred to in subsection (2) are--

    (a) that the parent in question was a British citizen by descent at the time of the birth; AND

    (b) that the father or mother of the parent in question;

    (i) was a British citizen otherwise than by descent at the time of the birth of the parent in question; OR

    (ii) became a British citizen otherwise than by descent at commencement, or would have become such a citizen otherwise than by descent at commencement but for his or her death; AND

    (c) that, as regards some period of three years ending with a date not later than the date of the birth;

    (i) the parent in question was in the United Kingdom or a qualifying territory at the beginning of that period; AND

    (ii) the number of days on which the parent in question was absent from the United Kingdom and the qualifying territories in that period does not exceed 270.

    In regard to the first section, our client’s son was born outside of the UK. He is under the age of 18 at the date of this application. Our client is not stateless and therefore the further qualifying criteria of subsection (3) applies as follows;

    (a)     That the parent was a British Citizen by descent at the time of his birth. Our client was born in South Africa in 1968. At the time of his birth, his father was a Citizen of the UK & Colonies and therefore he acquired the same status by section 5 of the British Nationality Act 1948. Our client later became a British Citizen in accordance with Section 11 of the British Nationality Act 1981, as he acquired the Right of Abode through his own father’s birth in the UK in 1926. Such persons are classified as British Citizens by Descent; it therefore follows that the child’s father was indeed a British Citizen by descent on the day that our client’s son was born.

    (b)     That the parent of our client (i.e. grandparent to the applicant) was a British Citizen otherwise than by descent at the time of his birth or would have become so on 01/01/83. He was a Citizen of the UK and Colonies by virtue of section 4 of the British Nationality Act 1948. Section 14(1) of the 1981 Nationality Act governs who became a British Citizen by descent or not. This section makes it clear that those born in the UK would not become such citizens. Our client’s father therefore became a British Citizen otherwise than by decent on 01/01/83.

    (c)     That the parent in question has resided in the UK for a three year period without long absences (270 days away from the UK constitutes a long absence in terms of the law in this case) from the UK.

    The precise wording of the law in relation to (c) above states that the parent must be in the UK at the beginning of the three year period and not at the end of this period. We would therefore respectfully submit that even though our client left the UK before the end of the three year period, as he was only absent from the UK for an estimated 46 days up until the point he left, and he can use his remaining allowance of absent days, to take him to the end of the relevant three year period and meet the criteria in question.

    To find out if you qualify for a British passport, take your free online British citizenship assessment

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

    • Australia-look-see.png
      Everything you should do on your look-and-see visit to Australia
      Aug 12, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Porto cityscape
      10 reasons to move to Porto, Portugal
      Jul 29, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Oxford-street
      Everything you ever wanted to know about applying for a UK Tier 2 (General) visa
      Jul 18, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Australia skyline
      Landed a temporary job Down Under? Get an Australian working holiday visa
      Jul 08, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • sydney-australia
      Australian visa processing times: How long you’ll wait for approval
      Jun 27, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • British passport and citizenship approved
      British citizenship and indefinite leave to remain: Why you need to know the difference
      Jun 25, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • seven-corners-image
      The importance of purchasing travel insurance with a Tier 4 UK student visa
      Jun 13, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • kangaroos
      Two new Aussie visa routes for skilled migrants
      May 23, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Passport-stamp
      25% of UK spouse visa applications are refused every year – make sure yours isn’t one
      Apr 02, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Mother, daughter and grandmother
      Australia’s new five-year parent visa – another way to bring your parents Down Under
      Apr 01, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood

    South Africa

    Cape Town

    Regent Square
    Doncaster Road
    Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


    25 Richefond Circle
    Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8843

    United Kingdom


    One Croydon
    12-16 Addiscombe Road
    Croydon CR0 0XT +44 (0) 20 7759 7514



    9 Yarra Street
    South Yarra
    VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

    We use cookies to provide the best website experience for you. Using this website means that you agree to this. How we use cookies.