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Guidance on s.65 of Immigration Act 2014


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The government has issued guidance on how section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014 will be applied. Section 65 fills the gap for children of British Citizen fathers born before 2006 whose parents were/are not married.

The provisions will create a registration route for:

  • Those who would have become British citizens automatically under the 1981 Act provisions had their parents been married
  • Those who would currently have an entitlement to registration under the 1981 Act but for the fact that their parents are not married.

The guidance includes the standard requirements for proving paternity- named on the birth certificate within one year of birth or “other evidence” including DNA, Court orders or “other evidence that shows paternity”.

Section 65 has not yet been commenced. We are told this is because

The 2014 Act is being implemented in phases to ensure the provisions are brought into force in an orderly and effective manner.

Want to know more about the Act? Buy Colin’s ebook on the Immigration Act 2014: [purchase_link id=”14259″ style=”button” color=”green” text=”Immigration Act ebook” direct=”true”]

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Louise Hooper

Louise is a specialist immigration lawyer focusing on asylum and human rights cases. She undertakes advocacy at every level, from adjudicator appeals to judicial review applications.Her notable work includes the conduct of important test cases concerning the status of Kosovan asylum seekers. She was also involved with the Refugee Legal Group’s lobbying and representations to parliament regarding new immigration legislation. She is increasingly concerned with securing legal access to financial and welfare support for refugees.


11 Responses

  1. It’s a great relief that at least something appears to be happening on this front. Let’s hope that this long-awaited law soon commences! Many people have suffered from this needless injustice, and whoever definitively rectifies it deserves praise. Thanks for posting the news.

  2. This has been around in substance since 1987 under S3(1) of the BNA, registration of children under any other circumstances. This provision had a 99%+ success rate for children under 18 to unmarried British fathers.
    I am not sure why HO or politicians are bothering, unless there is an attempt to differentiate the cost, or allow children over 18 of British fathers older to register/naturalise.

  3. TiDyMe, it’s to allow children over 18 of British fathers to register and obtain UK citizenship. Please advise exactly where you got the 99%+ success rate to register children because that’s not at all what I am hearing. I run a site that worked to end this discrimination. I have plenty of fathers writing to me to express frustration that the HO will not register their children. William Watrin-Cattrall was refused registration and that conversation is on Hansard, where Alison Seabeck MP for Plymouth TWICE pleaded with then immigration minister Phil Woolas to register the child. William remains unregistered and stateless to this day.

    Also, why should illegitimate children have to register before the age of 18 and be completely shut out after that age, while every other child born to a UK parent can have UK citizenship at any age? Your “facts” are incorrect and I detect an air of supporting discrimination against one group for something that is/was completely out of their control. Your logic is flawed.

    The current law is and was not clearly not working, in spite of your called “facts”, and the law had to be changed to allow fairness for all children born to a British parent.

    1. “where you got the 99%+” – Home Office in 2006 when talking to them about registering my 3rd child.
      “I run a site that worked to end this discrimination.” – Discrimination was ended in July 2006. Its the historic problem of people born between 1/1/83 and 30/6/2006.
      ” why should illegitimate children have to register before the age of 18 ” – They were the rules, and technically “registration” is for minors, whereas “Naturalisation” is for adults.
      “the law had to be changed to allow fairness for all children born to a British parent.” – agreed, and it was in 2006. The substance of discrimination was partially dealt with in 1987.

      BTW for children born and living in the UK for the first 10 years there is a route that can be made for those over 18.

      PS – I never had any problems registering my first 3 children (2003 to 2006), and no problems getting UK passports for number 4 & 5. Was cheesed at the fees, but they were far from crippling.

  4. How callous to claim that the government shouldn’t ‘bother’ to rectify an injustice which has broken my heart all my life.

    What about people who were over 18 by the time the discretionary registration option appeared? Should they be forever banned from obtaining their fathers’ nationality, while all cut-off dates for citizenship through mothers were removed and anyone can register for citizenship through their mothers regardless of age? Is it fair or symmetrical or logical in any way for one (utterly blameless) group to be singled out for discrimination on the basis of age when that very same discrimination has been removed for all other groups?

    1. I said “why… bothering, UNLESS … allow children over 18 of British fathers to register/naturalise.”
      It is the politicians and HO who are callous. NAIA2002 s9 took nearly 4 years to implement the single paragraph change for example. The new rules, when details are available, will still allow refusals, but I do hope an appeal is allowed.

      “What about people who were over 18 by the time the discretionary registration option appeared? ”
      The gap between 1983 and 1987 was less than 5 years. That gives someone born on 1/1/83 at least 13 years for their father to register using the ‘illegitimacy provision’ of S3(1) of BNA 1981.

      I do hope that this new law brings in lower fees for this route, as the standard fee is now quite high.

      Please note that citizenship law for illegitimate children also followed ‘Parental Responsibility’ laws to some extent. That is partly why UK mothers had a more ‘favourable’ position from 1983.

  5. TiDyMe, Someone at the Home Office gave you incorrect information. I submitted a FoI request to get the exact numbers of those who had been registered over the years. The Home Office responded that they didn’t keep those numbers, and that it would be too expensive to pay for such an inquiry. My inquiry was then submitted to the immigration minister by a MP where upon I was given the same response.

    The discrimination NEVER ended for those born BEFORE 1 July 2006. I was born abroad before 1/1/83, so it’s not “less than 5 years”. I don’t have a UK passport. I am not allowed because I don’t have a marriage certificate attached to my birth. How exactly am I not being discriminated here? If discrimination has truly ended, I would be holding a UK passport now. The new law will affect ALL children born BEFORE 1 July 2006, regardless of year of birth, who missed the cut off date or who were refused registration. We had a member of our group who was in his 90s waiting for the law to change. Why are you incorrectly quoting 1/1/1983-30/6/2006? Yes, for those born in the UK, but many of us were born abroad to unmarried fathers before those dates.

    How is it not discrimination to bar a child citizenship before 2006 to an unmarried British father, but allow it for a married father? You have an odd and narrow viewpoint of what is discrimination. The definition of discrimination is as follows: “Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit”. The 1 July 2006 cut-off date is clearly discrimination. I cannot have a UK passport because I was born out of wedlock. My merit is not being taken into consideration here, only the group to which I belong. How can you not see that?

    Yes, I am aware of the naturalization route for illegitimate children born and living in the UK. However, it is unfair if someone born in marriage can simply fill out a passport application because they had a marriage certificate attached to their birth, or if they were born to a British mother.

    That’s great that your three children were registered, but many were refused. One such case sits in Hansard to prove this. I have had many fathers contact me to confirm they were refused registration. A lot of consulates are not equipped with the correct information. This was a similar problem before the law changed for children born abroad to British mothers. In one instance, the UK allowed for a brief time in the 1970s for children born abroad after 1961 to British mothers to have their births registered. Michael Turberville of the group CAMPAIGN confirmed that many consulates were not aware of this brief window in which to register a child’s birth, so there were many refusals. Not to mention, many mothers didn’t know this brief route existed. You are one of the lucky ones. I wish you would have some perspective and some sympathy for those of us who weren’t lucky.

    The law is changing and every child born to an unmarried British born father will have the opportunity to acquire a UK passport. The law is still not perfect (extra fees, good character requirement, etc.), but it’s a step in the right direction. I hope we can mutually agree on that.

    1. UKCEN et al: Despite this forthcoming change, there’s still a gaping hole in the new legislation which is going to require a further amendment. We learnt this from instructing a solicitor who wrote to the Home Office for advice, as in our case, if you are person who’s father is a citizen from a British Dependent Territories, e.g. Montserrat, Under section 4-I, these people (from the Terrotories) are not going to benefit due to how the Home Office applies the law. A group of people will still be discriminated against. This has been drawn to the attention of Lord Avebury, the driver of this bill in the House of Lords. This new change to the law is not as encompassing as it was intended to be.

  6. The 1983 thing, as ukcen also points out, is only relevant to those born in Britain.

    My father tried all my life to register me or otherwise give me his nationality, even trying to adopt me and being told that he could not – because he was my father. Yes, by the same ‘authorities’ who wouldn’t let me have his nationality because his paternity was somehow inferior (and therefore I should be punished for life). I am only one of many examples of people whose registration was arbitrarily refused. Ukcen has spent years talking to many more such people.

    Children of British mothers can acquire citizenship – I believe by ‘Adult Registration’, but the terminology isn’t the point here – irrespective of date or place of birth. They used to have a cut-off date (1961 or so), and that was removed. We had a cut-off date of 1 July 2006, which I hope you’ll agree is rather closer than 1961, providing only for very young children. All we ask is to have that cut-off date removed and to be able to acquire our British parents’ nationality, irrespective of age or birthplace, as if those British parents had been female. Had my British parent been female, I’d be legally British now. Had my parents had a civil marriage (they did have a church marriage, which was of course disregarded) I’d be legally British now.

    How on earth is that not discrimination, and why oh why would anyone complain about this injustice being – almost – rectified when some of us have been suffering all our lives because of it? I don’t understand the psychological mechanism behind wanting some innocent people to continue to suffer for something that was never under their control. The discrimination most assuredly was not removed in 2006, because those born before that, outside Britain, were left in exactly the same undeservedly humiliating and painful situation that they were in before that particular legal change. Only removal of all cut-off dates will fix this.

  7. I was only commenting on children born in the UK, as my children were.

    Children born abroad to UK citizens is far more complex, particularly as within the pre-1983 laws, “jus soli” was more prevalent than “jus sanguinis”.
    In UK citizenship law there is the additional issue of “by descent” or “otherwise than by descent” distinction for overseas births. Some children born abroad to UK citizens don’t acquire citizenship either. There is a whole set of reasoning for these laws.

    I notice that the new guidance issues the weaker “by descent” level of citizenship. Under S3(1) it was the stronger “otherwise than by descent”.