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British citizenship through a UK-born mother

Do you qualify to claim British citizenship through your mother?
Get the details to find out if you are eligible to claim British citizenship.

Get the details on the criteria to qualify for British citizenship

Rights to British nationality for a child born outside of the UK fall into two categories:

  • Where the mother was born in the UK after 1 January 1983
  • Where the mother was born in the UK before 1 January 1983

The question of illegitimacy is not relevant in the case of unmarried woman, in contrast to those for unmarried fathers.

Mother born in the UK after 1 January 1983

Mother was British at time of your birth

If your mother was born in the UK after 1 January 1983 and was British at the time of your birth, then you are a British citizen at birth and by operation of law (that is, without any need to apply).

In such situations, the relevant mother is considered as being British other than by descent and passes British citizenship to her children. You can apply for your British passport on this basis.

Mother was not British at time of your birth

If your mother was born in the UK after 1 January 1983 and was not British at the time of your birth, then your rights to British nationality depend on your age (whether you are under 18 or not) and the status of your parents at your birth and their status now.

If you are under 18, then click here for more information about children under 18.

It can be important to take action before a child turns 18. After they turn 18, several rights to British nationality fall away and can be lost forever.

Mother born in the UK before 1 January 1983

You are born after 1 January 1983

You are a British citizen at birth and by operation of law (that is, without any need to apply for British nationality) if you were born after 1 January 1983 to a mother who was born in the UK before 1 January 1983.

In such situations, the relevant mother is considered as being British other than by descent and passes British citizenship to her children. You can apply for your British passport.

You are born before 1 January 1983

An application for British nationality can be made if you were born before 1 January 1983 to a mother who was born in the UK.

In such situations, the relevant mother is considered as being British other than by descent and passes British citizenship to her children. You can apply for your British passport.

Contact our citizenship team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2139

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
London
WC1A 1DG
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Australia

Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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