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I'm an Irish citizen and passport holder, and both my parents are Irish, and I've lived in Ireland pretty much my whole life.

But, I was born in London. My parents were living and working there in the late 80's/early 90's, and then I was born. They returned to Ireland within a couple months. Because of this, my birth cert is English.

Around 2015 I smelled Brexit coming and wanted to future-proof my option to live and work in England in the event of the Ireland/UK common travel area ending. I remember ringing some English dept. (Maybe the passport office? I don't remember) and being told that I was not entitled to a passport or dual citizenship on the sole basis of being born in London. When I answered her question about my parents, and told her neither of them are English, she was instantly dismissive.

In hindsight, I'm skeptical that the woman was telling me the truth, because from what I've observed in the media, birth certs are meaningful and powerful legal docs when it comes to being entitled to live and work in a country, getting a passport, dual citizenship etc. But I was only 20 at the time, so I took her word for it and forgot about it.

Now that Brexit has happened, it looks like the Ireland/UK common travel area is to be maintained, so I'll ultimately have nothing to worry about. But I just want to know for sure what my rights are regarding the following:

  1. Getting an English passport
  2. Getting dual citizenship
  3. Was the lady being truthful?
  4. If I were from a 3rd country, would my birth cert be enough to allow me to live and work in the UK? (ex. common travel area)
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    This is not a request for specific legal advice, and should not be closed on that basis. It is asking what rights the law provides under particular circumstsances – David Siegel Feb 21 at 14:53
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You are a British citizen:

Born in the UK between 1 January 1983 and 1 October 2000

Whether you’re a British citizen depends on where your parents were from and their circumstances. There are different rules if, when you were born:

  • at least one of your parents was a British or Irish citizen
  • at least one of your parents was a citizen of an EU or EEA country
  • neither of your parents was a British, Irish, EU or EEA citizen

You’re automatically a British citizen if you were adopted by a British citizen in a UK court.

If at least one of your parents was a British or Irish citizen when you were born

  • You’ll be a British citizen if when you were born at least one of your parents was either:

  • a British citizen

  • an Irish citizen living in the UK

If the parent that meets these conditions is your father, he must have been married to your mother when you were born.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/check-british-citizenship/born-in-the-uk-between-1-january-1983-and-1-october-2000

Anyway, to live and work in the UK, you don't need British citizenship, because Irish citizens automatically have that right independent of European Union law (which is why children of Irish citizens born in the UK gain British citizenship).

When I answered her question about my parents, and told her neither of them are English, she was instantly dismissive.

Did you tell her that they were Irish? If so, she shouldn't have been so dismissive. If she was, then she was wrong.

But I just want to know for sure what my rights are regarding the following:

  • getting an English passport

As a British citizen, you are generally entitled to a British passport.

  • getting dual citizenship

Legally speaking, you already have it.

  • was the lady being truthful

She was probably not lying. She probably said what she said because she misunderstood the facts or the law.

if I were from a 3rd country, would my birth cert be enough to allow me to live and work in the UK? (Ex. common travel area)

Ireland has different rules, but the UK does not have, as others have noted, absolute _jus soli _ If you had been from a third country, you would have been a British citizen only if your parents had had indefinite leave to remain.

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    if anything, I think OP was unclear about the situation, not the lady unknowing about the law. – Trish Feb 22 at 8:12
  • Do you know how "living in the UK" is determined? Does it refer to a specific legal status, or length of stay, or something else? Would OP need to submit documentation to show his parents were living in the UK at the time of his birth, and not just visiting? – Nate Eldredge Feb 22 at 23:09
  • So if an Irish couple lived in Ireland their entire lives, and just came to visit England for a weekend, during which their child was born, the child would still be a UK citizen? – Nate Eldredge Feb 23 at 0:39
  • @NateEldredge no, I don't think so. I have to look into it a bit more. – phoog Feb 23 at 1:23

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