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British Colonies

Can you claim British Nationality through a family link to a former British Colony?

Yes, you can, but it would normally be termed a Non-Standard route to British nationality. You could qualify for a British Passport if:

  • you were born between 01.01.1949 and 31.12.1982 in a British colony if you had a UK-born grandparent; OR
  • you were born between 01.01.1949 and 31.12.1982, a parent was born in a British Colony, and that parent had a parent born in the UK; OR
  • you were born after 01.01.1983, your parent was born in a post-1949 Colony and you have a UK-born grandfather.

Any claim based on a family link to a former British Colony will be termed as "Non Standard". Philip Gamble & Partners is a UK Immigration and British Nationality firm specialising in complex claims to British Nationality.

How do I find out if I have a claim to British Nationality?

We suggest following our 4 STEP PROCESS, designed to simplify the complex laws of British nationality (and to avoid unnecessary and expensive application fees) to find your answer:

Step 1: Determine whether you have a Standard Route (birth in the UK before 1983, or a parent born in the UK before 1983)
Step 2: If not, complete our free Nationality Assessment
Step 3: Order a free British Passport Review
Step 4: Conduct a Status Trace

Complete our nationality assessment

To find out whether you or your children might have a claim, take a couple of moments to complete our FREE online passport assessment.

British Nationality Assessment

In addition to the United Kingdom, the UK and Colonies as of 01.01.1949 consisted of:

Click here for more information on the status of Citizen of the United Kingdom & Colonies (CUKC), a status achieved by birth in the Colony.


Birth (and what was could loosely be described as Citizenship) in a British Colony would probably have given rise to Citizenship of the UK and Colonies (known as CUKC and gave rise to what was the old form of what is now a "British Passport"). At the point when the Colony became independent, these citizens either took on nationality of the newly formed independent country or remained as CUKCs. 

The British Nationality Act 1981 came into force on 1 January 1983, and divided Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKCs) into three categories:

1. British Citizens

CUKCs with the Right of Abode in the United Kingdom and Islands (i.e. the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) by virtue of a close connection therewith (e.g. by birth or descent from a person born in the United Kingdom and Islands) became British Citizens.

2. British Dependent Territories Citizens

CUKCs with a close connection with one of the United Kingdom's Dependent Territories became British Dependent Territories citizens (BDTCs). It was possible for a person to acquire British citizenship and BDTC at the same time. For example, a person born in Bermuda before 1983 with a parent born in the United Kingdom would have acquired both nationalities.

3. British Overseas Citizens

All other CUKCs became British Overseas Citizens (BOC).

 On 18.02.1965 it became part of the Gambia, a newly formed Independent country.