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British nationality highlight collection: South Africa | Immigration Legislation Weblog | Kingsley Napley

Establishing whether or not you’re a British nationwide just isn’t at all times easy. This course of can contain British nationality ‘tracing’ by an enormous, complicated community of laws. Our specialist immigration crew at Kingsley Napley has appreciable expertise of navigating British nationality regulation and might help you to seek out out whether or not you and your loved ones members are or can apply to be British. 

The historical past of the UK is undoubtedly a historical past of migration, each inbound and outbound. It’s thought-about that, at its top within the early 20th century, Britain dominated 1 / 4 of the world and its empire comprised over 400 million folks. Inevitably, the British Empire facilitated the mass motion of individuals worldwide and continues to tell the migration patterns we see in the present day.  This historical past means the related British nationality legal guidelines are huge and complicated.  There are even 6 several types of British nationality.

A query for a lot of Commonwealth nationals, or folks with continued hyperlinks to the UK’s former colonies, is whether or not connections to the previous Empire opens up an avenue for them to accumulate British citizenship in the present day.

We’re spotlighting a number of Britain’s former colonies/territories and, for every of them, take into account the impression of developments in UK nationality regulation and the right way to set up a declare to British citizenship in the present day.

We begin our highlight collection with South Africa.

Former British territory: South Africa

British presence in South Africa might be recognized as early as 1795, nonetheless, on 31 Might 1910, the Union of South Africa, comprising 4 of Britain’s colonies (Cape, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal), was established. At this level, South Africa was a self-governing territory throughout the Crown’s dominions and had not but gained full independence from the British Empire.

The journey in the direction of independence began on 1 January 1949 when South Africa turned an impartial Commonwealth nation. The consequence of this was that people who would previously have been thought-about to be British topics due to their shut connection to South Africa, would now be labeled as Commonwealth residents as soon as South Africa’s citizenship legal guidelines got here into power on 2 September 1949 (though, for a short interval in its historical past (1961 to 1994) South Africa left the Commonwealth).

People who in January 1949 continued to be intently linked to the UK or current British territories (e.g. by delivery within the UK) had been labeled as Residents of the UK and Colonies. 

As might be obvious from the transient abstract above, British nationality regulation has undergone quite a few adjustments over time – British topic standing has transitioned into Citizen of the United Kingdoms and Colonies (CUKCs) and, lastly, to current day British citizenship. In observe, which means not all individuals who had been born as British topics are British residents in the present day.

The creation of the time period ‘Commonwealth citizen’ in 1949 was step one in separating those that had a distant relationship with the UK (e.g. Commonwealth residents as their nations formally turned impartial) and people who maintained an in depth relationship with the UK (e.g. CUKCs). Beneath present regulation, sometimes solely those that can set up that they, or a member of the family, held CUKC standing, could also be eligible for British citizenship in the present day. 

So, in case you are a South African nationwide, what are the circumstances that point out you could be entitled to use for British citizenship? This might embody the next, amongst different potential choices:

  1. Your British father was born within the UK
  2. You had been born earlier than 1983 to a British mom
  3. You had been born earlier than 1983 to a British father who was in Crown service on the time of your delivery
  4. Your maternal grandmother is British
  5. You had been born after 1983 and your British grandparent was in Crown service on the time of your mum or dad’s delivery
  6. In case you are beneath 18, your British mum or dad was born exterior of the UK however used to reside within the UK
  7. Your mum or dad both naturalised/registered as a British citizen earlier than you had been born, or earlier than you turned 18

South African nationals searching for to accumulate British citizenship needs to be conscious that, as issues presently stand, they may first want to use to retain their South African citizenship. A latest determination of the Supreme Courtroom of Attraction in South Africa signifies that, within the close to future, acquiring retention permission might not be a requirement. Nonetheless, this matter nonetheless must be heard and confirmed by the South African Constitutional Courtroom. 

If British citizenship just isn’t an choice, it’s price noting that, as Commonwealth nationals, South Africans with UK born grandparents could also be eligible to use for a 5-year visa, to dwell and work within the UK, on the idea of their British ancestry.

In the end, the historic hyperlinks between the UK and South Africa signifies that many South African nationals might, unknowingly, be capable of set up their proper to UK residence and/or British nationality.

additional info

You probably have any queries in relation to the above or every other immigration or nationality matter, please contact a member of the immigration crew.


in regards to the creator

Bukunmi joined the Immigration crew as an Affiliate in April 2021 and is a member of the division’s non-public shopper crew. Bukunmi is skilled in aiding a variety of shoppers with their UK immigration issues, specifically non-public people, who want to work, research, go to or relocate to the UK. She advises on a broad vary of UK immigration issues




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