Rakesh Prajapati discusses some of the legal aspects of statelessness.
What is stateless?
The 1954 Convention defines a stateless person as someone who ‘is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law’. Someone without a passport does not simply mean they are stateless. A person is stateless when they are without legal residence, a right to return to their country and no access to the consular protection.
If your application is successful, the Home Office grants leave for five years. After, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain. Partners and children, under the age of 18, can apply for leave to remain as dependent on the stateless person’s application.
Statelessness is recognised by Schedule 2 of British Nationality Act 1981. It outlines that a person can be registered as a British Citizen if they have always been stateless, were born in the UK, lived continuously for 5 years here and were under the age of twenty two prior the date of application.
Stateless Child Born in the UK by Indian parents
The ruling in the land mark High Court case MK (India) Statelessness EWHC  1365 (Admin) decision could potentially help many children to be recognised as British. The court ruled that a 6 year old child born in the UK with Indian parents was stateless. Further, that it was irrelevant that the child could apply for Indian citizenship, as the child remained stateless.
If the following conditions are met, they:
- were born on or after 3rd December 2004 in the UK;
- have Indian parentage;
- are not entitled to any other nationality;
- have not applied to register the birth under the Indian Citizenship Act 1955; and
- have never traveled abroad.