In order to enjoy the rights and privileges of British citizenship, such as the right to apply for a British passport, and take up permanent residence in the UK without applying for indefinite leave to remain from the Home Office, you must have a claim to British nationality. If you were born before 1983 to a British mother, but were not registered as such at birth, you can still apply to register as a British citizen.
A fee is paid at the time of application. If your application for registration as a British citizen is unsuccessful, you may not be entitled to a full refund. Before you can register as a British citizen, you must meet certain eligibility requirements.
The first requirement is that you were born before 1 January 1983. The second is that you were born to a mother who was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of your birth and you would have likewise been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies had your mother been able to transmit citizenship to you. You must also be able to demonstrate good moral character when applying for registration as a British citizen.
According to the UK Border Agency, you will meet the requirements to apply for registration as a British citizen provided your mother obtained her citizenship through birth, legal adoption, naturalisation or registration as a British citizen in the United Kingdom and Colonies or by birth before 1 January 1949 in a British protectorate, protected state or UK trust territory.
In addition, you will meet the second requirement if, at the time of your birth, your mother was a British citizen and either you or your mother were born in a British protectorate, or protected state. If you were born in a non-Commonwealth country and your mother registered your birth within one year of your birth at the nearest British Embassy or Consulate you are also entitled to apply for registration as a British citizen.
There are many other routes to British registration through your mother. For example, if your mother was in crown service under the UK government when you were born or if you were born in a Commonwealth country, but did not acquire citizenship from that country, you are also eligible for registration as a British citizen. To learn more about your eligibility to register as a British citizen, contact the UK Border Agency.
UK Border Agency Home Office