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UK Citizenship and children out of wedlock

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After a long wait The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 provision relating to children of unmarried British fathers came into effect on 1 July 2006.

The Government claims that this will bring equality under the law so that children of unmarried British fathers will be treated the same way as children of British mothers. However, there is still some unfairness in the provisions as this will only apply to children born on or after 1 July 2006.

If the child was born before 1 July 2006 to a British father and a non-British mother where they are not married the child does not automatically gain British citizenship. Either the parents will need to get married before the child's eighteenth birthday so making the child "legitimate" and so giving the child an automatic right to citizenship, or an application will need to be made for discretionary registration of the child as a British citizen. It is hoped that discretionary registration which can obviously be refused will be made even easier in cases where the child claims UK citizenship based on having a British father.

The British Nationality (Proof of Paternity) Regulations in 2006 require that as proof of the right to UK citizenship the British father must be named in the birth certificate within one year of the child's birth. In certain cases further evidence may be required to show paternity. For example there may be a requirement to have a DNA test report.