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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7612
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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We are British born and bred. Our Daughter born in Sri Lanka

Resolved Question:

We are British born and bred. Our Daughter born in Sri Lanka got British Passport from BHC in Colombo shortly after birth. She then married a South African citizen and has two small children aged 2 yrs and 4 yrs. Can she apply for UK citizenship for the children because we, the grandparents are british
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your question.
To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-
1. Where/when were your daughter’s children born
2. I assume, but please confirm, that their father is not British
Kind regards.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Both children born in George, South Africa

Daughter Kiana Neethling born 22 March 2008

Son Kiran born 20 Dec 2009.


Father is South African

Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your reply.

I’m afraid they do not themselves qualify for UK citizenship/passport. This is because your daughter was born outside the UK but to British National parents. Your citizenship therefore descending one generation (from you to her) so that she was able to register as a British Citizen. This is called British Citizenship by descent.

UK Citizenship may only descend to persons born outside the UK for one generation. Had they been born in the UK they would have been eligible for UK citizenship. Because they were born outside the UK to a parent who had themselves obtained British Citizenship by descent the citizenship cannot descend a further generation from their mother to them under the British Nationality Act 1981. Thus, they have no automatic right to register.

However, there is a discretion to register in these circumstances provided they can show strong ties to the UK. This is under s3 (2) & s3(5) of British Nationality Act 1981. Provided they can show strong ties (their mother, you) then they may be successful in getting them to exercise their discretion and registering them as UK citizens. You would have to attend the local embassy and confirm that you wished to receive the forms to register in accordance with the aforementioned sections.

However, if they do not end up getting registered then as south Africa is a commonwealth nation they will when they are adults be able to apply for ancestry visas should they wish to come and work here:-

If your dauther wished to settle in the UK whilst they were minor children then they would have to apply for settlement under the immigration rules if they had not been permitted to register as a UK national as above.

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Kind regards,

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