How to get British citizenship


How to get British citizenship via double descent

British citizenship via the double descent route was a much talked about topic the past few months. However, there is still a lot of confusion about who can qualify.

How to get British citizenship


Qulaifying for British citizenship via double descent

Based on the Romein supreme court ruling, certain persons will be eligible to be registered as a British citizen, via the so-called ‘double descent’ route.

The previous 1948 Nationality Act stated that fathers who are British by descent could pass on their British citizenship to their children born outside the UK.

This would thus be persons born outside the UK but who obtained their citizenship through their parent being born inside the UK. This was subject to them registering the births within 12 months of the child being born. This rule meant that the 2nd generation born outside the UK could become British citizens.

However, the law did not provide the same for the British by descent mothers. The Romein court ruling has confirmed that this is discriminatory towards the female line. The law now provides for mothers who are British by descent to pass on their British nationality to their children born outside the United Kingdom.

Possible complications

Based on our independent research, as well as feedback on recent applications under this route, the qualifying criteria are for those who were born during (and in) what was characterised as a “Foreign Country”.

This includes South Africa during the period 31 May 1961 and 31 December 1982, the United States of America and most European countries. As such, birth in other countries would mean that you would likely not qualify. It is also important that if you were born outside these periods, you will also likely not qualify.

As this can be a complicated application, we highly recommend that you speak to one of our consultants for advice in your specific circumstances. If you require more information, please contact one of our offices. Visit our website at for the contact details of our various offices, or fill out the form below. 

Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes, without giving any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.