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13 June 2023

UK Government announces new Bill to protect British Citizenship of children born to EU parents

The Home Office is reviewing automatic British Citizenship for people born to EEA/EU/Swiss parents in the UK between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000.
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British Citizenship Children of EU Citizens

What are the current citizenship rules?

Between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000, any child born to EEA/ EU/ Swiss parents exercising free movement in the UK was automatically considered a British Citizen.

You parents must be from one of the member countries at the time of your birth for you to be eligible. 

For example, if you were born to Greek parentage in the UK between 1983 – 1988 you would not be eligible, as this was before Greek Citizens had full freedom of movement. 

A full list of countries can be found at the bottom of this blog.

Since 2 October 2000, the Home Office states that EEA/ EU/ Swiss nationals had to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) to be considered settled. This means that if they did not have ILR when their child was born, the child is not a British citizen.

Why are these rules being questioned?

These rules were brought into question when challenged in a recent trial in the High Court in Roehrig vs The State (The Home Office). Roehrig, born 20 October 2000, appealed his denial of British citizenship on the grounds that his French mother legally lived in the UK since 1995 on freedom of movement. However, for him to qualify as a British Citizen, Roehrig’s mother needed to have ILR at the time of his birth, which she did not.

This trial has since sparked an update in UK legislation to protect those born in the UK between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000. This is known as the ‘British Nationality (Regularisation of Past Practice) Bill’.

How will the Bill affect you?

This Bill is currently being debated in Parliament. It concerns people born between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 to EEA/ EU/ Swiss parentage living in the UK through freedom of movement.

The bill states that their automatic British citizenship status will not be affected even if current rules update or governments change. The government wants people in this situation to be reassured that they will not lose citizenship status. 

Please note, the UK Home Office is still reviewing this current situation. This means if you were born between the dates 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 you cannot currently apply for your FIRST passport.

If you have already had a passport, you can replace or renew it as normal. This proves that you have been recognised as a British citizen already. 

Contact us for our expert advice

Woodcock Law & Notary Public is highly experienced in assisting both individuals and businesses with their UK Immigration Advice Services. If you need our assistance or have any questions about British Citizenship, please get in touch with us today.

EEA / EU countries between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000:

  • Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands were in the EU by 1 January 1983.
  • Greece was in the EU by 1983 but Greek citizens did not get full free movement rights until 1 January 1988.
  • Although Portugal and Spain became EU members on 1 January 1986, their citizens did not get full free movement rights until 1 January 1992.
  • Austria, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden joined the EEA on 1 January 1994.
  • Liechtenstein joined the EEA on 1 May 1995.

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