I am trying to apply for a British passport. I have learned that since I was born to a British mother and an American father, and was born in 1972, that I do not qualify under my mother for citizenship. However I've just seen a post from Danny back in September 2015 that he was able to apply for his with similar circumstances as mine. I would like to know how I can do the same thing.

  • Can you link to the post you found? Also, your eligibility may depend on where you were born and on where your mother was born.
    – phoog
    Sep 28, 2017 at 17:42
  • Where were you born?
    – mkennedy
    Sep 28, 2017 at 17:45
  • I was born in the US
    – Stella
    Sep 28, 2017 at 18:16

3 Answers 3


You are not currently a British citizen, because British citizenship by descent could only be passed from the father prior to 1983.

However, you are currently eligible to register as a British citizen, if you would have gotten citizenship had women been able transmit citizenship the same way men could. Basically, this means your mother had to have been a British citizen "otherwise than by descent" (i.e. she was not herself born outside the UK and got citizenship at birth through her parent; if she was born in the UK or naturalized in the UK that would be fine). If and when your application to register is approved and you are a British citizen, you can get a British passport.


Yes, your situation sounds the same as mine, as long as your mother was a British citizen "otherwise than by descent".

  • My mother was born and raised in Scotland by British parents
  • My father is a US-only citizen
  • I was born in the US in 1971

The starter page for information can be found here - you're looking for form UKM. I did all this back in 2011, so it's possible details have changed, but here are the notes on the process I took at the time:

The trickiest part of the form was needing 2 "referees" (references), preferably one with a British passport that is not related to you. I ended up calling friends of my parents and had them download the form, fill out their section, and mail it to me so I could do the rest.

Once I had that in hand I sent it, along with a form that authorized them to deduct my credit card for fees - it was something like $120 for the embassy to copy all my documents and forward them to the UK. (It looks like the current fee is £80). I gave them:

  • My birth certificate. I mailed mine to my birth state (not my current state) to get an apostille. I don't know for sure that this was required in this case, but some countries do require it, and it was only $10. Took about a week there and back.
  • My mother's expired passport
  • My US passport (expired is OK)
  • My mother's birth certificate. I ordered hers from the Scotland's People website (which is also great for genealogy)
  • After they had received my packet they sent me an email asking for my parents' marriage certificate to show the link between my parents' names and mine. I really don't know that this was required - they had my birth certificate, after all - but they accepted a scanned email version, so it was easy enough to do. If you have it, I would send it in at the beginning. It seems more like this would apply for the time period where a British father could only pass citizenship to his child if he was married to the mother.

I sent all the originals to the British Embassy in Washington, they scanned it all and checked it over (see point #5, above) and then mailed them back. The return fee was part of the ~$120 I paid.

They say it can take up to 6 months to process, but I planned on getting antsy around 3 months. Fortunately it was basically 3 months to the day from when I got all the documents back in the mail to the day the letter arrived from the British Consulate in Houston.

They gave me an appointment for a month later. I paid ~$140 on the spot for the ceremony (I'm still not 100% convinced that this shouldn't have been included as part of the original fee, but I was excited enough not to quibble). After the ceremony they handed me a passport application form. More forms, mailing and waiting, and I had my UK passport about 2 months later.

Note that you would then be a British citizen "by descent", so you cannot automatically pass your citizenship to your children.

  • With regard to the last paragraph, you can pass British citizenship to a child if the child is born in the UK or certain overseas possessions.
    – phoog
    Oct 2, 2017 at 13:38

This is correct. I did this last year, am now in Britain with my dual passports. – saneity Sep 11 '15 at 14:37

Agree with the statement that the site is not always helpful for those born before 1983. I was born in 1971 in a very similar situation to the OP (Scottish mother/American father/born in USA), and while the questionnaire is correct in indicating that I was not already a British citizen, it makes no mention whatsoever of the possibility that I could register as a citizen through my mother - the question of parentage is never even asked. I registered back in 2011 and have had dual passports for the last few years. – Danny Sep 17 '15 at 17:56

  • My mother was born in the UK
    – user13665
    Sep 28, 2017 at 18:25
  • The post above from 2015 is similar situation that I would like to achieve
    – user13665
    Sep 28, 2017 at 18:27
  • 1
    Is this the same person 'Stella' who posted the question? If so you should log back in as 'Stella' and edit your question to provide any additional details. You've posted this as an 'answer' to your original question, which it clearly is not.
    – brhans
    Sep 28, 2017 at 19:55

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