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jennym01 | 01:24 Sun 15th Apr 2007 | Law
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My daughter is English, married to an American. I understand that they have to go to the American Embassy to register the birth (in the UK) of their daughter, and also get an American Passport. I thought you were only allowed one passport, and for obvious reasons feel it should be a British one. Can anyone advise me?

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Your granddaughter is automatically a British citizen under the British Nationality Act, 1981:
http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/applying/nati onality/advice/bn9

However, she is also an American citizen because of her father's nationality. Thus, she holds dual citizenship. Some countries don't permit their citizens to hold citizenship of another country. However, the USA recognizes dual citizenship:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/c is_1753.html
as does the UK:
http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/applying/nati onality/advice/bn18

Your granddaughter is therefore entitled to have two passports. The advantage of dual citizenship are that, when she's in a third country, she'll be able to call upon the services of both the British and American embassies (or consulates) if the need arises. The only disadvantage is that the American embassy won't be able to help her when she's in the UK and the British embassy won't be allowed to help her when she's in the USA.

Chris
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Thanks Chris. Your answer helped, but still unsure - if in the future (hopefully never) they split up and got divorced, where does that leave my granddaughter if neither embassy can assist the other?
Thanks for your reply.

Irrespective of the powers of embassies, the UK and the USA are both signatories to the Hague Convention, which deals with the situation where one parent seeks to take a child out of the country, in defiance of a court order stating where the child should live.

It's a complicated issue but, in essence, both the UK and the USA agree to abide by the decisions of a court in either country. That means that, if a UK court was to decide that your granddaughter should live with her mother, in the UK, (and her father was to take her to the USA) a US court would respect the order of the UK court and ensure that your granddaughter was returned to the UK. (Of course, it works the other way round too. A UK court would have to respect the decision of a US court).

As I've stated, it's a very complicated matter but the same rules apply irrespective of which passport your granddaughter holds (or whether she has both passports or no passport at all; she's still a citizen of both countries, even without a passport). There's far more detail about the issue here:
http://www.reunite.org/page.php?alias=abroad00

Chris
If the child was born in Uk it would come under UK family court ruling if they split up and residency etc to be sorted out. To all intents and purposes the child is British first.

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