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British Nationality Act 1981

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British Nationality Act 1981, Section 4 is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 22 September 2019. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

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4 Acquisition by registration: [F1British overseas territories citizens] etc.U.K.

(1)This section applies to any person who is a [F2British overseas territories citizen], [F3a British National (Overseas),] a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under this Act or a British protected person.

(2)A person to whom this section applies shall be entitled, on an application for his registration as a British citizen, to be registered as such a citizen if the following requirements are satisfied in the case of that person, namely—

(a)subject to subsection (3), that he was in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the period of five years ending with the date of the application and that the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in that period does not exceed 450; and

(b)that the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in the period of twelve months so ending does not exceed 90; and

(c)that he was not at any time in the period of twelve months so ending subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which he might remain in the United Kingdom; and

(d)that he was not at any time in the period of five years so ending in the United Kingdom in breach of the immigration laws.

(3)So much of subsection (2)(a) as requires the person in question to have been in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the period there mentioned shall not apply in relation to a person who was settled in the United Kingdom immediately before commencement.

(4)If in the special circumstances of any particular case the Secretary of State thinks fit, he may for the purposes of subsection (2) do all or any of the following things, namely—

(a)treat the person to whom the application relates as fulfilling the requirement specified in subsection (2)(a) or subsection (2)(b), or both, although the number of days on which he was absent from the United Kingdom in the period there mentioned exceeds the number there mentioned;

(b)disregard any such restriction as is mentioned in subsection (2)(c), not being a restriction to which that person was subject on the date of the application;

(c)treat that person as fulfilling the requirement specified in subsection (2)(d) although he was in the United Kingdom in breach of the immigration laws in the period there mentioned.

(5)If, on an application for registration as a British citizen made by a person to whom this section applies, the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant has at any time served in service to which this subsection applies, he may, if he thinks fit in the special circumstances of the applicant’s case, cause him to be registered as such a citizen.

(6)Subsection (5) applies to—

(a)Crown service under the government of a [F4British overseas territory]; and

(b)paid or unpaid service (not falling within paragraph (a)) as a member of any body established by law in a [F4British overseas territory] members of which are appointed by or on behalf of the Crown.

Textual Amendments

F1Words in s. 4 sidenote substituted (26.2.2002) by British Overseas Territories Act 2002 (c. 8), s. 2(2)(b)

F2Words in s. 4(1) substituted (26.2.2002) by British Overseas Territories Act 2002 (c. 8), s. 2(2)(b)

F3By S.I. 1986/948, art. 7(2) it is provided that s. 4(1) shall have effect as if after the words “British Dependent Territories citizen,” there were inserted the words “a British National (Overseas),”

F4Words in s. 4(6) substituted (26.2.2002) by British Overseas Territories Act 2002 (c. 8), {s. 1(1)((b)}

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1S. 4(2)(4) modified (7.11.2002, partly retrospective) by Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (c. 41), s. 11

C3S. 4(2)(4) modified (7.11.2002, partly retrospective) by Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (c. 41), s. 11

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