I'm curious to see if I am eligible for British citizenship. My brothers and I were born in the US between 1957 and 1961 to an English mother (she was born in England) and a British father (he was naturalized at an early age). Both parents are now deceased. I still do have Aunts and Uncles as well as most of my cousins living in England and Wales (although I doubt this has any bearing).

  • What's the difference between "English" and "British"?
    – mkennedy
    Sep 23, 2015 at 18:53
  • England vs. the rest of the Empire. :)
    – Karlson
    Sep 23, 2015 at 18:54
  • My mother was born in England while my father was not, but was naturalized at an early age. Sep 23, 2015 at 19:52
  • 1
    Have you asked your nearest British consulate?
    – phoog
    Sep 23, 2015 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


This is one of the cases where the government's citizenship checker is not really helpful, but let's try to answer the questions newertheless:

When were you born?

Before 1 January 1983

As you were born before 1983

Were you born in the UK or a qualifying territory?


No, the US is not one of the qualifying territories

Were you a UK and Colonies citizen on 31 December 1982 with right of abode in the UK?

Now this is the tricky question. This basically asks you whether you are a British citizen or not, so to answer it you need to check the section 5 of the 1948 nationality act. Based on this you are already a British citizen by descent, if your father was a British citizen not by descent before you were born.

You've said that your father has been naturalized as British citizen, so he is a British citizen not by descent. If he had done this before you were born, then you are already a British citizen by descent.

See my other answer on how to apply for your first British passport from abroad.

If your father naturalized after you have been born, then you are not a British citizen, as mothers could not pass on citizenship before 1983. However, you can try to register as British citizen. To register you need to have all of the following:

You were born before 1 January 1983

This is okay

You would have become a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by
descent if women had been able to pass on citizenship to their children
in the same way as men at the time of your birth

This is also okay, as your mother was a British citizen not by descent when you were born

You have right of abode

You have multiple ways where you can get this, fortunately as

your mother was, at the time of your birth, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth, legal adoption, naturalisation or registration in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or Isle of Man

applies to you, this part is okay. And finally

 the Secretary of State is satisfied that you are of good character.

if you haven't commited a crime, act of terrorism, and you haven't tried to illegally enter the UK previously, etc. then this should be okay as well.

If all of this aplies you have to register for British citizenship using form UKM. Fortunately you only need to pay the ceremony, which is £80 as of 2015 per adult. You will also need two referees to sign the form, which has it's own rules. You should defintiely read the form UKM guides and maybe also hire a solicitor to help you with it to make sure everything is in order. The guide will also contain where to send the application form and related documents (like your current passport), which is as of 2015:

Department 1 
UK Visas and Immigration 
PO BOX 306 
L2 0QN 
  • 1
    I went the registration route back in 2011 just on my own and carefully followed the UKM form instructions, and while I was constantly worried that I was filling something out wrong, it all went pretty smoothly - all the points you bring up were the same ones I encountered. IIRC I only paid ~$120 for the registration application, and then another $140 for the citizenship ceremony at the consulate. Holy cats prices have gone up in just a few years!
    – Danny
    Sep 24, 2015 at 14:46
  • @Danny this is no doubt a result of the significant anti-immigration sentiment in the UK. US fees are similarly steep, for similar reasons.
    – phoog
    Sep 24, 2015 at 19:26
  • I think that the fee information here is incorrect. No registration fee is required for UKM applications - you only need to pay the ceremony fee. See immigrationboards.com/british-citizenship/… The "ceremony fee only" in gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/… means only only ceremony fee is payable. Oct 16, 2015 at 18:01
  • @oskarpearson - it looks like they have since removed the fee associated with the application itself. Back in 2011 I sent my originals to the British Embassy in Washington, and there was a fee associated with their making copies and forwarding those to Liverpool, including the return postage to send the originals back to me. You had me starting to wonder whether I was rooked into paying twice, but I see other stories similar to mine where they paid fees up front and then for the ceremony: canuckabroad.com/forums/…
    – Danny
    Jan 1, 2016 at 23:44

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