Applicant Born in UK Parent Born in UK Grandparent Born in UK Great Grandparent Born in UK

Move Up receives this query often:

“My parents have a British passport and I want to apply for one”.

The good news is that this webpage is designed to help clarify the transaction. More specifically, we are here to address the qualifying criteria to claim British nationality through double descent.

Emphasis is placed on country of birth.

Often we present HMPO (Her Majesties Passport Office) with case of a non-EU national (South African born applicant) with both parent and grandparent that hold British passports.

Understandably, the common complication here is that we find the applicants parent gained their British passport because they were not born in the UK but rather their parent (the applicants grandparent) was born in the UK.

You are not alone and we can definitely help. For those of you that have a UK born grandparent(s), we have three solutions that could apply.


The first solution. To qualify for a British passport through double descent and UK residence, the applicant needs to evidence the following:

    • Applicants Vault copy of birth certificate.
    • Applicants Parent(s) Vault copy of birth certificate.
    • Applicants Grandparent full UK birth certificate.
    • Copy of Applicants Parent(s) British passport.
    • Evidence that the applicant’s parents have lived in the UK for 3 years or more (NI numbers help).
    • Applicants birth registered in the UK (before the applicant turns 18 years of age).

From this checklist, you can see that claiming British citizenship through double descent has quite a few qualifying hurdles. Most common challenge in these cases is the requirement to evidence that the applicant’s parent has lived in the UK for 3 years (or more).

If this applies to you, Move Up can gladly further assist. Applicants are encouraged to email: Alternatively, applicants can call or send us a query (below).

Based on our experience, we find major majority of South Africans do not qualify to claim British citizenship through double descent. This is where our second solution comes in.


The second solution is only available to South Africans that were born between 1962 and 1982 to a UK born maternal grandfather, applicants need to evidence:

    • Applicants Vault copy of birth certificate.
    • Applicants Mother Vault copy of birth certificate.
    • Applicants Grandfather full UK birth certificate.
    • Copy of Applicants Mother British passport.

This is a newly implemented provision, through double descent, effective 2018. Interested applicants are also encouraged to


The third solution is to qualify for the 5 year UK Ancestry working visa, applicants need to evidence the following:

    • Applicants Vault copy or Unabridged birth certificate.
    • Applicants Parent(s) Vault copy or Unabridged birth certificate.
    • Applicants Grandparents full UK birth certificate.
    • Applicants intent to live and work in the UK.
    • Applicants proof of ability to financially accommodate themselves in the UK.

What I would like to clarify is that the applicant can only consider the second solution if they are looking to only relocate to the UK. The Ancestry visa is not issued to applicants looking for a means to travel cost effectively and the visa only grants living and working rights in the UK (and not the rest of Europe).

If you have your birth certificates on hand, please try our free birth certificate assessment below. Our team can check and verify if you are able to claim UK birth rights.

Free Birth Certificate Assessment

If however you want to double check the theory of your case, based on what your family heritage is, please be encouraged to get in contact with our friendly team:

Get in touch

Other alternatives.

For those of you looking to find out more about parents who have British passports because their parents were born in a former colony of Great Britain (Rhodesia for example), we recommend taking a look at our Colonial Birth Rights explained page.

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