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Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

Section 9: Legitimacy of child

50.Section 9 removes from the nationality legislation the present distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children and inserts a new definition of “father” into section 50 of the BNA 1981.

51.Subsection (1) provides that, for the purposes of the BNA 1981, a child’s mother is the woman who gives birth to the child. A child’s “father” is (a) the husband at the time of the child’s birth of the woman who gives birth to the child, (b) a person who falls to be treated as the child’s father by virtue of section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 or (c) any person who satisfies prescribed requirements as to proof of paternity. The Secretary of State may set out in regulations how, in circumstances where proof is required, paternity must be proven.

52.Subsection (2) amends section 3(6) of the BNA 1981 to allow registration as a British citizen of an illegitimate minor born outside the United Kingdom on the basis of a connection through his father as well as through his mother.

53.Subsection (3) makes similar provision as subsection (2) but in respect of registration as a British overseas territories citizen under section 17 of the BNA 1981.

54.Subsection (4) repeals section 47 of the BNA 1981. This enables an illegitimate child of a British citizen father to be legitimated by the subsequent marriage between his mother and father. In view of the prospective abolition of distinctions between the legitimate and the illegitimate in this context, section 47 will be redundant so far as children born after the appointed commencement date are concerned.

55.Subsection (5) amends paragraph 1(1)(b) of Schedule 2 to the BNA 1981, which provides that an illegitimate child born in the United Kingdom after 1st January 1983 whose parents hold different British nationality statuses under the BNA 1981, can only acquire the status of the mother. By this subsection, the position of illegitimate children is brought into line with that of legitimate children, who can acquire citizenship or status through either parent.

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