Thousands of South Africans Gain Citizenship Right from UK Supreme Court

In February 2018, a landmark ruling by the UK Supreme Court opened up a route to UK citizenship for thousands of South Africans. The ruling, which relates to historic gender discrimination in UK citizenship law, allows people to claim UK citizenship based on a mother’s father born in the UK. But things may change soon.

In the past, claiming UK citizenship by double descent was only possible if the birth had been  in a foreign country and was registered at the time. Before 1983 it was generally not possible to register a birth unless the father was a UK citizen,  regardless of the citizenship of the mother.

The recent ruling upheld and extended an earlier ruling by the Scottish High Court. According to the Supreme Court ruling, many South Africans may now claim citizenship based on a grandparent born in the UK via descent from a mother, whether or not there was an attempt to register the birth at the time.

This ruling is especially relevant to South Africans born between 31 May 1962 – i.e. from when South Africa left the Commonwealth –  and 31 December 1982. As South Africa was not in the Commonwealth at this time, it was considered a ‘foreign country’ for UK legal purposes.

An eligible person born in South Africa or Namibia would have:

  • been born between 31 May 1962 and 31 December 1982
  • a mother was a UK citizen at the time (e.g. her father was born the UK or its territory)
  • a father who was not a UK citizen
  • a grandparent born in the UK

This judgement extends the right to British citizenship to thousands or even tens of thousands of people worldwide. The UK government may attempt to change the law and close this route soon, and so anyone seeking to exploit this opportunity should act quickly and seek professional advice. Passportia has submitted several applications already.

 

Contact Passportia on +1 (305) 770 6530, or using the form in the sidebar if using a desktop.

Alternatively, you can Request an Evaluation

17 replies
  1. Shirley Lavin
    Shirley Lavin says:

    What is the situatiin with grandchildren born later in the 1980’s, of a mother whose father was a British citizen?

    Reply
    • Stanley Johnson
      Stanley Johnson says:

      Hi Shirley,

      Thanks for your comment. In that case the supreme court judgement would not be relevant. We may still be able to help, however. I would recommend giving our advisors a call using the number listed on the right or on the contact us page of our website. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

      Have a great day!

      Reply
  2. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    I was born in 1959 in Rhodesia, but now am a South African citizen. I have made queries in the past and have been told that I can get an ancestral visa only. Both my parents are Rhodesian born, but all 4 grandparents are from the UK. Could I be eligible?

    Reply
    • Stanley Johnson
      Stanley Johnson says:

      Hi Brenda,

      From the information provided above it isn’t clear that this route would be relevant to your situation. However, you may have a claim to UK citizenship through another route. Feel free to call us on +27 (0)12 004 2752 or alternatively get in touch via the form on the sidebar.

      Reply
      • Vanessa Bristow
        Vanessa Bristow says:

        Hi Stanley. My husband was born in SA in 1958, but was registered as a Citizen of Rhodesia under the Citizenship of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and Britsh Nationality Act of 1957. He has a notification of citzenship of Rhodesia & Nyasaland, issued in Salsbury. He travels on a South African Passport. We will be in touch but would appreciate your comments re eligibility?

        Reply
  3. Pauline Pearce
    Pauline Pearce says:

    I was born in UK in 1941, came to South Africa in 1966. I registered my son as a British citizen when he was born in 1970. Can I apply for UK citizenship for his three children, born in 2000, 2004 and 2011?

    Reply
    • Stanley Johnson
      Stanley Johnson says:

      Hi Pauline. Thanks for your comment. We may be able to help you, but it depends on a number of details. I would suggest giving our advisors a call on +27 (0)12 004 2752 or alternatively using the form on the sidebar or the “Contact Us” page.

      Reply
    • Stanley Johnson
      Stanley Johnson says:

      Hi Ann! Citizenship law is quite complicated and it depends on a number of factors such as where and when your parents were born, whether any births were registered, etc. Please get in touch with our citizenship advisors who will be able to work out if you are eligible and how we can help.

      http://www.passportia.org/contact-us/

      Reply
  4. Mary Blyth
    Mary Blyth says:

    My husband’s paternal grandparents were born in the UK, his father and my husband in South Africa. His father also lived in the UK for 5 years prior to his birth. How can we find out if my husband’s birth wax registered at th British consulate in SA. He was born in 1951.

    Reply
  5. Riché Meintjes
    Riché Meintjes says:

    My grandfather was born in Scotland and then moved to SA ( not sure of dates) , my mother’s father. I was born in March 1962 in SA, any possibilities?

    Reply
    • Stanley Johnson
      Stanley Johnson says:

      Hi Riché! Thanks for your comment. It seems you were born a little too early for this route, but there may be another way. I would recommend getting in touch with our UK citizenship advisors who will be able to let you know about your options

      http://www.passportia.org/contact-us/

      Reply
  6. Clinton
    Clinton says:

    If my grandfather (mothers side) was born in the UK but both my mother and father were born in SA and I was born in April 1980. Would this be an option? My mother is on a UK passport with dual citizenship.

    Reply
  7. Avril Renders
    Avril Renders says:

    I would love to come to England. I have Aunts, Cousins and lots of friends in the UK. My Grandfather was born in Swanage – Dorset. Birth was registered in Poole. ie (My mothers Father born 1881.) Would I be able to apply for a Passport? Many thanks A P Renders

    Reply

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