Tingting Huang wrote:
Yup, there seems to be a "10-year rule" that applies...
Acquisition of British citizenship
British Citizenship can be acquired in the following ways:
1. lex soli: By birth in the United Kingdom to a parent who is a British citizen at the time of the birth, or to a parent who is settled in the United Kingdom
2. lex sanguinis: By descent if one of the parents is a British citizen otherwise than by descent (for example by birth, adoption, registration or naturalisation in the United Kingdom). Thus, British actress Emma Watson, born in France to British parents, has British citizenship.
3. By naturalisation
4. By registration
5. By adoption
British citizenship by birth in the United Kingdom
Under the law in effect from 1 January 1983, a child born in the UK to a parent who is a British citizen or 'settled' in the UK is automatically a British citizen by birth.
Only one parent needs to meet this requirement, either the father or the mother.
"Settled" status usually means the parent is resident in the United Kingdom and holds Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Right of Abode. Irish citizens are automatically deemed to hold ILR.
Special rules exist for cases where a parent of a child is a citizen of a European Union or European Economic Area member state, or Switzerland. The law in this respect was changed on 2 October 2000 and again on 30 April 2006. See British nationality law for details.
For children born before 1 July 2006, if only the father meets this requirement, the parents must be married. Marriage subsequent to the birth is normally enough to confer British citizenship from that point.
Where the father is not married to the mother, the Home Office will usually register the child as British provided an application is made and the child would have been British otherwise. The child must be aged under 18 on the date of application.
Where a parent subsequently acquires British citizenship or "settled" status, the child can be registered as British provided he or she is still aged under 18.
If the child lives in the UK until age 10 there is a lifetime entitlement to register as a British citizen. The immigration status of the child and his/her parents is irrelevant.
Special provisions may apply for the child to acquire British citizenship if a parent is a British Overseas citizen or British subject, or if the child is stateless.
Before 1983, birth in the UK was sufficient in itself to confer British nationality irrespective of the status of parents, with an exception only for children of diplomats and enemy aliens. This exception did not apply to most visiting forces, so, in general, children born in the UK before 1983 to visiting military personnel (eg US forces stationed in the UK) are British citizens by birth.
Ten year rule
Non-British children with an EEA/Swiss parent may be registered as British once the parent becomes "settled" in the United Kingdom under the terms of the Immigration Regulations dealing with EEA citizens.
There is a separate entitlement for any such UK-born child to be registered as British if he or she lives in the United Kingdom until age 10, irrespective of parent's (or child's) immigration status.
[Edited at 2007-11-09 15:26]