Donald Trump – from USA president to British citizen? banner


Donald Trump – from USA president to British citizen?

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It is often said that when one door closes another door opens. In the case of Donald Trump, as he says goodbye to the presidency of the USA and to the White House, could something novel happen? In this blog we look at whether Donald Trump could become a British citizen. After all, we know that the UK has some excellent golf courses and that Donald Trump is known for doing the unexpected.

UK Immigration and British Citizenship solicitors

If you have questions about settlement in the UK and British citizenship the specialist British Citizenship and immigration team at London based OTS Solicitors can help you. Call the friendly and approachable immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, Skype or telephone.

Why can Donald Trump claim British Citizenship?

You would think that no one could be more American than an American president but in the case of Donald Trump he can claim British citizenship by descent. That’s because his mother was born in the UK, namely Scotland.

If you know the Trump family history you may know that Donald Trump’s mother became a naturalised American citizen prior to the birth of Donald Trump. How then can Donald Trump claim a right to apply for British Citizenship through his mother?

Immigration solicitors say that Donald Trump benefits from the British nationality Act 1981 and in particular section 4C. This section enables a person who was:

  • Born outside the UK
  • Born before 1983
  • Born to a UK born mother

to apply for registration as a British citizen.

Curiously had Donald Trump’s father, rather than his mother, been a British citizen born in the UK then Donald Trump would be deemed to be British by virtue of his parentage. That’s because under older historic UK legislation the law allowed for automatic British Citizenship of a child outside the UK born to a male British citizen born in the UK but crucially not to a child born outside the UK whose mother was a British citizen born in the UK. This gender anomaly was rectified by the 1981 British nationality Act.

Under section 4 of the 1981 Act Donald Trump would meet the eligibility criteria as a ‘qualifying person’ entitled to apply for registration as a British citizen.

What about Donald Trump’s good character?

For those of you who know something about British citizenship applications you will know that British Citizenship and immigration solicitors stress the importance of British Citizenship applicants passing the ‘good character’ test. There are no doubt some who would question whether two impeachments and allegations of incitement to riot would disqualify even a former president of the USA from meeting the good character test for British Citizenship.

If Donald Trump were to have to pass a British Citizenship good character test there are no doubt many who would be critical of Home Office officials whether he passed or failed, depending on their politics. However, in a twist of fate, since mid-2019 applicants for British Citizenship under section 4C of the British nationality Act no longer have to meet the good character test.

You may question whether this change in the law was made in anticipation of Donald Trump’s potential British Citizenship application as even back in 2019 good character could have been questioned by Home Office officials in light of previous business failures. Immigration solicitors don’t think that the Home Office had such foresight and say that the good character test was removed to avoid prejudicing applications made by children born overseas prior to 1983 to British born mothers because children born overseas before 1983 to British born fathers did not have to meet a good character test to qualify for British Citizenship.

The removal of the good character test in British citizenship applications made by children born overseas to British born mothers came about because the court determined and declared that the good character test for these British Citizenship applicants was incompatible with Human Rights. The government therefore changed the law by the introduction of the British nationality Act 1981 (Remedial) Order 2019 (SI 2019/1164).

Some may appreciate the irony of Donald Trump benefitting from a change in legislation that came about to address sexual discrimination and gender inequality between the sexes as children born before 1983 to mothers born in the UK had to meet the additional hurdle of passing the good character test to acquire British citizenship whereas children born before 1983 to fathers born in the UK did not need to do so.

Is British Citizenship the easy option?

For Donald Trump there may always be no ‘easy option’ and immigration solicitors say that is undoubtedly the case if the former president were to consider registering for British Citizenship. That’s because British citizenship doesn’t end the legal complexities for Donald Trump. For example:

  • The tax issues surrounding acquisition of British Citizenship, especially given the reported tax issues already facing Donald Trump
  • The potential for Donald Trump to face extradition proceedings in the UK to face any criminal charges, if brought, over the recent riot
  • Whether his wife and teenage son would want to follow him to the UK and their immigration status and options.

British Citizenship isn’t an easy option whether you are the former president of the America or not. That’s why it is best to understand your UK settlement and British citizenship options before you make a British nationality application.

UK Immigration and British Citizenship solicitors

Our friendly specialist London based immigration solicitors can answer your British Citizenship and immigration questions and look at your immigration options and routes to British Citizenship. For the best advice on settlement in the UK call OTS Solicitorson 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or by telephone appointment.

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