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UK Crown service: Obtain British citizenship

Crown service means employment in the service of the Crown under His Majesty’s Government. It includes the British military, the Overseas Civil Service, the Colonial Service and the Diplomatic Corp.

Who can claim?

Claims are possible if you were born:

  • Between 1 January 1949 and 31 December 1982, your parent was recruited in the UK and must have been employed in Crown service at the date of your birth.
  • After 1 January 1983, a UK-born grandfather* must have been employed in Crown service at the date of your relevant parent's birth.

* As the law currently stands, claims only come from a UK-born grandfather, as gender discrimination in the grandparent generation has not yet been eliminated. We anticipate that legislation will be passed to allow claims to come from a UK-born grandmother.

Defining Crown service

Matters are complicated with the definition of colony, protectorate, protected state, etc., which will vary in line with the status of territories at different times in the past and within the meaning within the British Nationality Acts 1948 to 1981.

The most common situation that this nationality solution would cover (but there are others) was where your father was on war duty (and recruited in the UK) between 1939 and 1945. So an obvious indicator of eligibility in this instance is if you were born during these years. The position is complicated further with the definition of "Crown service" and what we term as "designated service". As a general rule, Crown service would include service in the:

  • British military
  • Overseas Civil Service
  • Colonial Service
  • Diplomatic Corp

In the case of military service, it is entirely possible that even though military service was completed, the parent was still "on call" and placed on a reserve list. This period may count towards this provision.

Designated service is, as the name suggests, service that is designated by law as being good for this purpose. There are numerous statutes adding new occupations to "designated service", including employment with a number of organisations which are not so obvious (such as the British Tourist Authority).

The broadening of the scope of “designated service”

After recent research by Philip Gamble, and a successful application on behalf of a client in December 2014, "designated service" can now reasonably include:

  • The Salvation Army
  • The Australia, New Zealand and Malaya Defence Organisation
  • The NAAFI
  • The Red Cross
  • The YMCA and YWCA
  • The Church Army
  • The Seaman’s Missions

Let us handle your British citizenship case

The list on this page is not exhaustive and there are numerous other scientific, defence, communication and international organisations that would qualify. You may have a claim to British nationality through Crown service.

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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