British Nationality and Borders Act Update

British Nationality and Borders Act
Photo by Kutan Ural on Unsplash

The new Nationality and Borders Act is causing a stir in the immigration world, as many persons who have not previously qualified for British citizenship will now be able to qualify. It is thus bringing good news for many people with British roots seeking British citizenship.

The Bill has slowly passed through the British Parliament and was signed into law on 28 April 2022. Part 1 concerning nationality came into force on 28 June 2022. This part of the Act inserts many new provisions for registration as a British citizen or British Overseas Territories citizen.

The new sections will create many routes to British citizenship.

What is the aim of the Nationality and Borders Act?

The Nationality part of the Act seeks to remedy past injustices in the law. The new Act thus aims to put persons in the position who would have automatically become British citizens had the past laws been just and fair.

The Nationality part of the Act thus has three major objectives:

  1. To address the historic inability of mothers and unmarried fathers to transmit British Overseas Territories Citizenship leading to a possible entitlement to full British Citizenship.
  2. To register persons as British citizens who could not do so due to historical injustice.
  3. To implement a discretionary waiver of residence criteria for naturalisation.

Who will benefit from the new British Nationality and Borders Act?

Breytenbachs foresee that the following persons will benefit from the Nationality and Borders Act.

  • People born before 1983 with a UK-born maternal grandmother; 
  • Persons with mothers were born as British subjects and with a UK-born paternal grandfather; 
  • Persons born between 1983 -1987 with a UK-born maternal grandmother; 
  • People born between 1983 – 1987 with a UK-born paternal grandmother; 
  • Persons with a husband who has a UK-born mother and the husband was born  before 1983;
  • Husbands with a wife who has a UK-born mother and the wife was born before 1983;
  • People with a UK-born mother who were born before 1983;
  • Husbands whose wife was born in the United Kingdom before 1983;
  • People with a grandparent born in the UK before 1983 or Ireland before 6 December 1922,
  • Persons born before 1983 to a father who married before 1949, a woman who or whose parent was born in the UK,
  • A person who got married before 1983 to a UK citizen or person in one of the categories above.

Clarification on some new routes to Citizenship

Numerous clients have since approached Breytenbachs who seek assistance and want to determine whether they qualify to apply. Following previous articles on the issue, Breytenbachs would like to clarify the following routes to citizenship.

Marriage to a British National before 1983

Historically, only women married to British men were allowed to register themselves as British nationals. As such, the law clearly discriminated against women. To correct this historical injustice, the new changes allow men married to British women before 01 January 1983 to register as British citizens. 

Maternal grandparents born in the UK

Historically, British nationality could only be passed through the male line. Over the years, however, changes have been made to British nationality to correct this discrimination, but these changes were limited. Under the new changes, applicants may be able to register as British nationals if they meet certain requirements.

Who should get in touch with Breytenbachs?

If any of the circumstances below apply to you, do get in touch with Breytenbachs:

  • You were adopted by persons with British roots
  • You have a UK-born grandparent or great grandparent
  • You have a parent or grandparent born in a former British territory
  • You were married before 1983 to a person with British roots or roots in a former British territory.

Breytenbachs Nationality Status Trace Service

Over the past months, Breytenbachs has developed a service to evaluate British nationality claims.  Our service allows us to use a systematic, detailed process to investigate all possible avenues to all types of UK nationality and the right of abode in the UK.

We invite all persons who think they might qualify under the new British Nationality and Borders Act to contact us.

Breytenbachs’ premise is to find a way for our clients if one exists.  We’ll find the angles other immigration practitioners might not know or have the resources to look into.


Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although we provide broad guidelines on who might qualify for British nationality under the new Borders and Nationality Act regulations, it does not mean everyone who fits within these broad guidelines will be eligible. We have to look at the circumstances of every individual case before we can advise.