Nationality Office confirm no English nationality
In this post I emailed the Nationality Office after reading that they had advised somebody there was no such thing as an English nationality and somebody subsequently claiming that this was a breach of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I have had a reply from the Nationality Office advising that under British law there is no English nationality, only British. My contention is that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes no mention of your nationality being restricted to a list your government provides you and that Article 15 is actually there to prevent this from happening.
The following is the reply I got from the Nationality Office with the contents of the attached document and then my reply to them. It's a lot to read but it's worth it.
Dear Mr Parr,
Please find attached some information about British nationality law in response to your email below.
The current law does not recognise "English" as a description of nationality and, accordingly, makes no provision for the acquisition (or loss) of "English" nationality.
Nationality Policy & Special Cases Unit
Attached Document:My email:
In its legal sense, the term 'nationality' is generally understood to
describe the relationship between an individual and the nation State to which he
or she belongs and owes allegiance.
It seems that use
of the term 'English' as a description of nationality began to decline with the
union of the Scottish and English Crowns in 1603, and ceased altogether after
the passing of the Act of Union in 1707. It was this latter Act which
created the "United Kingdom of Great Britain", the political unit of which
England has since been a constituent part. The addition of Ireland to form
the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" followed in 1801. A
statute of 1536 -the Laws of Wales Act- had brought about the earlier union of
England and Wales.
One of the functions of the modern British
Nationality Acts has been to identify those who, by virtue of their connection
with the United Kingdom, are British nationals and as such are eligible for
British passports and other associated rights and privileges. The current
law –the British Nationality Act 1981- continues that tradition. It
identifies 6 categories of British nationality as follows: British
citizenship, British overseas territories citizenship, British Overseas
citizenship, and the statuses of British National (Overseas), British subject
and British protected person. The first two reflect the holder’s close
connection (i.e. through birth, adoption, ancestry, registration or
naturalisation) with either the United Kingdom or a remaining British overseas
territory such as Gibraltar. The others reflect similar connections with
former colonies such as India or Malaysia or with foreign territories which were
formerly under British jurisdiction such as Tanzania or the Republic of
Further information about the British Nationality Act 1981
may be obtained by writing to the Nationality Enquiries Section, Home Office
Nationality Group, 3rd floor India Buildings, Water Street, Liverpool L2
0QN. The telephone number is 0845 010 5200.
on devolution envisages that nationality law will continue to be made and
administered on a United Kingdom basis, and that there will be no abandonment of
British citizenship in favour of separate English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern
Thanks for getting back to me so promptly.
I have checked and there is nothing in the Universal Declaration on HumanRights that specifies that a nationality be one that your government offers you from a list. In fact, Article 15 of the declaration is there to basically counter the situation where your government denies you the right to your nationality or to change you your nationality.
My nationality is English. I was born in England, have lived in England all my life and feel English. I do not feel British.
I do not believe that the government, having signed the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, has the legal right to dictate to me what my nationality is allowed to be. If I wanted to change my nationality to, say, Albanian, I would be entitled to do so without the government having passed a law recognising an Albanian nationality. Why, therefore, should the same apply to the English nationality.
I believe that this policy compromises my human rights.