Written by Lorraine Hon


A new law has given nationality rights to children born in the UK to EU citizens. Previously, the children of EU citizens who were working in the UK were not given British citizenship. However, this has changed with the recent implementation of a new law for those born before the year 2000.


On 29 June, the British Nationality (Regularisation of Past Practice) Act 2023 came into force. This Act protects the nationality rights of people who were born in the UK to a parent who was considered settled on the basis that their parent was exercising a freedom of movement right. Specifically, it confirms the nationality of children who were born between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000 in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. According to the government’s official factsheet, this does not create new British citizens. This only confirms the nationality rights of people who have always been considered British.


Previously, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals were not considered to be settled solely based on the fact that they were living and exercising their right to free movement in the UK. The Home Office took the position that in order for EU citizens to be considered settled, they had to have indefinite leave to remain. The new Act changes this.


Who can apply for a British passport?


This means that for people who are British on the basis of having a settled EU, EEA or Swiss parent in the remedial period, they can now apply for their first British passport.


Nonetheless, claiming citizenship might prove to be difficult. As the burden of proof is on the applicant, the applicant will have to provide evidence that their parent exercised their Treaty rights at the time of the applicant’s birth. This means they will have to rely on their parents to find evidence from as far back as 40 years ago.


The government provides guidance on what supporting documents applicants will need when they are doing Treaty Rights Passport applications. Please see link here.


Our thoughts


This is a welcome decision. It will ensure that people who should be British under EU law and British nationality law will be able to claim UK citizenship. They will finally be recognised as British on a legal basis.


If you are not sure whether you are eligible or need help with your application, feel free to come and see us. We would be happy to help.


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