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British Citizenship by Double Descent for South Africans

British Citizenship by Double Descent for South Africans

If you were born in South Africa and you have a UK-born grandparent, you could be eligible for British citizenship by double descent. This is a particularly complex area of law with many conditions around eligibility.

Call us on 0333 305 9375 to discuss your case with us. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.

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What is British Citizenship by Double Descent (Grandparent)?

British Citizenship by Double Descent (Grandparent) is a route towards British citizenship based on the birth place of an applicant’s grandparent.

There are different rules depending on how old you are, when you were born and your parent’s and grandparent’s circumstances.

The different British citizenship by double descent categories for South Africans (and other non-EEA nationals) are typically split on the following lines:

  • Born after 1st January 1983
  • Born before 1st January 1983
  • Born before 1st January 1949
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Born After 1st January 1983 and Under 18

A child who is under 18 who wasn’t born in the UK and has a grandparent who was born in the UK could be eligible for British citizenship by double descent.

The child could be eligible if their parent:

  • Has a UK-born parent
  • Was British at the time of the child’s birth
  • Has spent at least two and a half years in the UK OR
  • was in long-term employment with a UK-domiciled company at the time of the child’s birth

Also, the child could be eligible through their own circumstances if:

  • They were born to a British parent
  • They do not acquire a nationality at birth from either parent
  • The child has a UK-born grandfather who was in Crown service at the time of the parent’s birth

Born After 1st January 1983 (18 and over)

If a South African is over 18 and was born after 1st January 1983, they may have a claim to British citizenship if:

  • They had a UK-born grandfather who worked in the Crown service at the time of their parent’s birth
  • Their parent had a UK-born mother and did not have a UK-born father and their parent was registered as a British citizen between 2nd February 1979 and 31st December 1982
  • Their parent was born in a former British colony

This is also another possible route for South Africans who are under 18.

If you are not sure whether you are eligible, we can help. With our advice package, we will pair you with an immigration lawyer who is experienced within the area of British citizenship applications, including by double descent.

They will assess your circumstances and determine whether you are eligible, as well as informing you of the steps you will need to take if you have a rightful claim to British citizenship by Double Descent as a South African.

If you need any guidance or support with British citizenship by double descent, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Contact Us

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Born Before 1st January 1983

If someone was born in South Africa between 1st January 1949 and 31st December 1982 and they have a UK-born grandparent, they could be eligible for British citizenship by double descent.

This is a particularly complex area of UK immigration law and each case is considered on an individual basis.

Generally, if you have a UK-born grandparent and one of the following applies, you could be eligible for British citizenship:

  • You or your parent were born in South Africa or a select other group of former British territories
  • Your parent was registered as a British citizen or citizen of the UK and its colonies or was a federal citizen of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
  • Your parent was in the Crown service at the time of your birth
  • Your paternal grandfather was born in the UK and your parents were married before 1949
  • Your maternal grandfather was born in the UK and you were born in a “foreign country”. This includes South Africa during the period between 31st May 1962 and 31st December 1982

Some complications with a citizenship claim through the double descent route might arise if your paternal both your maternal and paternal grandparents were born in the UK or if you or your mother were born out of wedlock.

Born Before 1st January 1949

Another complex area of law, a South African could be eligible for British citizenship by double descent if they were born outside of the UK before 1st January 1949 and have a UK-born grandparent.

This may be a possibility under the following circumstances:

  • You were born before 1915 and both you and your parents were not born in a Commonwealth country
  • You or your parent were born in a former British territory
  • You are a woman and you were married to a British man before 1949

How Do I Apply for British Citizenship by Double Descent as a South African?

You can apply online for British citizenship by double descent. Through the online system, you will be will be asked a series of questions to determine which citizenship application you want to make.

It must be emphasised that British citizenship by double descent is an immensely complex area of immigration law.

For this reason, we highly recommend hiring the services of experienced immigration lawyers. Here at the IAS, we can discuss your case with you and support you through the entire application process for British citizenship by Double Descent.

To find out more about our application package and how we can help you become a British citizen through your grandparent, please call us now on 0333 305 9375.

We are immigration specialists that care about your personal circumstances and immigration needs. Contact Us

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Frequently Asked Questions

The IAS’ application package is a premium, industry-leading service. We will support you through the entire application process for British citizenship by Double Descent (Grandparent).

We will:

  • Assess your circumstances and establish whether you are eligible for citizenship through this route
  • Help you to compile all your documents for your crucial portfolio of evidence
  • Complete the application form
  • Submit your application to the Home Office and writer a letter of representation on your behalf
  • Liaise with the Home Office throughout the processing stage, and we will keep you informed about the progress of your application

To find out more about how we can help you become a British citizen  please call us now on 0333 305 9375.

The documents which you will need to provide is completely dependent upon your specific circumstances. There is no definitive document checklist for British citizenship by double descent. Some of the documents you may need to provide includes:

  • Birth certificate of applicant
  • Birth certificate of applicant’s parent
  • Birth certificate of applicant’s grandparent
  • Evidence that applicant’s parents have lived in the UK for 3 years or more (if applying through this route)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Copy of applicant’s parent’s passport

We can help you to compile your portfolio of evidence. We will assess your circumstances and advise you on the documents which you will need to include pertaining to your own individual circumstances.

In cases as complex as British citizenship by double descent, the expertise of our skilled immigration lawyers is invaluable.

The Ancestry Visa is another form of immigration permission for those who were born in the Commonwealth and have a UK-born grandparent.

It is not a form of British citizenship, but it does grant you the opportunity to live and work in the UK. You can apply for settled status in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after you have spent five years living in the UK under an Ancestry Visa.

The advantage of the Ancestry Visa is that the eligibility criteria is not as complex and stringent. The main requirements for an Ancestry Visa are:

  • Must be at least 17-years-old
  • Must be a Commonwealth citizen
  • Must have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, on a British-registered ship or aircraft or in the Republic of Ireland before 31st March 1922
  • Must intend to work or be self-employed in the UK
  • Must have the means to financially support yourself whilst you are in the UK, including means to accommodate yourself