British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1914 c. 17


British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914

(4 & 5 Geo. 5) CHAPTER 17.

An Act to consolidate and amend the Enactments relating to British Nationality and the Status of Aliens.

[7th August 1914]

Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

I Natural-Born British Subjects.

Part I.

Natural-Born British Subjects.

S-1 Definition of natural-born British subject.

1 Definition of natural-born British subject.

(1) The following persons shall be deemed to be natural-born British subjects, namely:—

(a ) Any person born within His Majesty's dominions and allegiance; and

(b ) Any person born out of His Majesty's dominions, whose father was a British subject at the time of that person's birth and either was born within His Majesty's allegiance or was a person to whom a certificate of naturalization had been granted; and

(c ) Any person born on board a British ship whether in foreign territorial waters or not:

Provided that the child of a British subject, whether that child was born before or after the passing of this Act, shall be deemed to have been born within His Majesty's allegiance if born in a place where by treaty, capitulation, grant, usage, sufferance, or other lawful means, His Majesty exercises jurisdiction over British subjects.

(2) A person born on board a foreign ship shall not be deemed to be a British subject by reason only that the ship was in British territorial waters at the time of his birth.

(3) Nothing in this section shall, except as otherwise expressly provided, affect the status of any person born before the commencement of this Act.

II Naturalization of Aliens.

Part II.

Naturalization of Aliens.

S-2 Certificate of naturalization.

2 Certificate of naturalization.

(1) The Secretary of State may grant a certificate of naturalization to an alien who makes an application for the purpose, and satisfies the Secretary of State—

(a ) that he has either resided in His Majesty's dominions for a period of not less than five years in the manner required by this section, or been in the service of the Crown for not less than five years within the last eight years before the application; and

(b ) that he is of good character and has an adequate knowledge of the English language; and

(c ) that he intends if his application is granted either to reside in His Majesty's dominions or to enter or continue in the service of the Crown.

(2) The residence required by this section is residence in the United Kingdom for not less than one year immediately preceding the application, and previous residence, either in the United Kingdom or in some other part of His Majesty's dominions, for a period of four years within the last eight years before the application.

(3) The grant of a certificate of naturalization to any such alien shall be in the absolute discretion of the Secretary of State, and he may, with or without assigning any reason, give or withhold the certificate as he thinks most conducive to the public good, and no appeal shall lie from his decision.

(4) A certificate of naturalization shall not take effect until the applicant has taken the oath of allegiance.

(5) In the case of a woman who was a British subject previously to her marriage to an alien, and whose husband has died or whose marriage has been dissolved, the requirements of this section as to residence shall not apply and the Secretly of State may in any other special case, if he thinks fit, grant a certificate of naturalization, although the four years' residence or five years' service has not been within the last eight years before the application.

S-3 Effect of certificate of naturalization.

3 Effect of certificate of naturalization.

(1) A person to whom a certificate of naturalization is granted by a Secretary of State shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be entitled to all political and other rights powers and privileges, and be subject to all obligations, duties and liabilities, to which a natural-born British subject is entitled or subject, and, as from the date of his naturalization, have to all intents and purposes the status of a natural-born British subject.

(2)12 & 13 Will. 3. c. 2. Section three of the Act of Settlement (which disqualifies naturalized aliens from holding certain offices) shall have effect as if the words ‘naturalized or’ were omitted therefrom.

S-4 Special certificate in case of doubt.

4 Special certificate in case of doubt.

4. The Secretary of State may in his absolute discretion, in such cases as he thinks fit, grant a special certificate of naturalization to any person with respect to whose nationality as a British subject a doubt exists, and he may specify in the certificate that the grant thereof is made for the purpose of quieting doubts as to the right of the person to be a British subject, and the grant of such a special certificate shall not be deemed to be any admission that the person to whom it was granted was not previously a British subject.

S-5 Persons under disability.

5 Persons under disability.

(1) Where an alien obtains a certificate of naturalization, the Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, on the application of that alien, include in the certificate the name of any child of the alien born before the gate of the certificate and being a minor, and that child shall thereupon, if not already a British subject, become a British subject; but any such child may, within one year after attaining his majority, make a declaration of alienage, and shall thereupon cease to be a British subject.

(2) The Secretary of State may, in his absolute discretion in any special case in which he thinks fit, grant a certificate of naturalization to any minor, although the conditions required by this Act have not been complied with.

(3) Except as provided by this section, a certificate of naturalization shall not be granted to any person under disability.

S-6 Persons previously naturalized.

6 Persons previously naturalized.

6. An alien who has been naturalized before the passing of this Act may apply to the Secretary of State for a certificate of naturalization under this Act, and the Secretary of State may grant to him a certificate on such terms and conditions as he may think fit.

S-7 Revocations of certificate of naturalization.

7 Revocations of certificate of naturalization.

(1) Where it appears to the Secretly of State that a certificate of naturalization granted by him has been obtained by false representations or fraud, the Secretary of State may by order revoke the certificate, and the order of reputation shall have effect from such date as the Secretary of State may direct.

(2) Where the Secretary of State revokes a certificate of naturalization, he may order the certificate to be given up and cancelled, and any person refusing or neglecting to give up the certificate shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

S-8 Power of Governments of British possessions to grant certificates of Imperial naturalization.

8 Power of Governments of British possessions to grant certificates of Imperial naturalization.

(1) The Government of any British Possession shall have the same power to grant a certificate of naturalization as the Secretary of State has under this Act, and the provisions of this Act as to the grant and revocation of such a certificate shall apply accordingly, with the substitution of the Government of the Possession for the Secretary of State, and the Possession for the United Kingdom, and also, in a Possession where any language is recognised as on an equality with the English language, with the substitution of the English language or that language for the English language:

Provided that, in any British Possession other than British India and a Dominion specified in the First Schedule to this Act, the powers of the Government of the Possession under this section shall be exercised by the Governor or a person acting under his authority, but shall be subject in each case to the approval of the Secretary of State, and any certificate proposed to be granted shall be submitted to him for his approval.

(2) Any certificate of naturalization granted under this section shall have the same effect as a certificate of naturalization granted by the Secretary of State under this Act.

S-9 Application of Part II to Self-Governing Dominions.

9 Application of Part II to Self-Governing Dominions.

(1) This Part of this Act shall not, nor shall any certificate of naturalization granted thereunder, have effect within any of the Dominions specified in the First Schedule to this Act, unless the Legislature of that Dominion adopts this Part of this Act.

(2) Where the Legislature of any such Dominion has adopted this Part of this Act, the Government of the Dominion shall have the like powers to make regulations with respect to certificates of naturalization and to oaths of allegiance as are conferred by this Act on the Secretary of State.

(3) The Legislature of any such Dominion which adopts this Part of this Act may provide how and by what Department of the Government the powers conferred by this Part of this Act on the Government of a British Possession are to be...

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