Can you claim British Nationality?
Getting a British passport might be easier than you think. Thanks to the UK's historical laws and agreements with former territories, you may qualify for British nationality depending on where you, your parents and grandparents were born.
You could be eligible for British citizenship if you were:
- Born to a parent (a father or mother) who was born in the UK before 1983.
- Born before 1983 to a parent who was born after 1949 – as long as that parent a) was a British Citizen, or b) had a parent born in the UK.
- Born after 1948, and your parents were married before 1949 and your paternal grandfather (your dad’s dad) was born in the UK.
There are hundreds of other ways to qualify. As a general rule, if you were born in a country that is different to either parent or any of your grandparents, or you have a connection back to the UK, Ireland or a former British Territory, then you might have a claim.
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Some claims to British nationality are relatively straightforward and can be completed quickly if you meet the above requirements. Other claims can be extremely complex and can only be determined by researching old nationality laws.
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During the early and middle 20th century, Britain ruled over nearly a third of the world's peoples. One form of this was through her collection of British Protectorates.
As a general rule, a person born in a British Protectorate became a British Protected Person (commonly called a BPP). This status could be lost upon Independence of the territory, and there were circumstances where this BPP status was maintained. If it was maintained, there are also circumstances where this status can be converted into full British Nationality. Click here for more information on the status of a British Protected Person (based on birth in a British Protectorate).
For more information on how British Nationality could be gained through birth in a British Protectorate with a UK-born grandparent, watch this short video by Philip Gamble:
- Gambia Protectorate
- Northern Territories Protectorate
- Swaziland Protectorate
- Kenya Protectorate (Jubaland, Kismayu and Port Durnford)
- Kenya Protectorate (Lamu, Patta and Strip)
- Nigeria Protectorate(s)
- Sierra Leone Protectorate
- Aden Protectorates
- Maldives Protectorate
- Zanzibar Protectorate
- Bechuanaland (now Botswana)
- Nyasaland (now Malawi)
- Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia)
- Northern Somaliland
- Solomon Islands
Click here for more information on the status of a British Protected Person (based on birth in a British Protectorate).
HOW CAN UK NATIONALITY ARISE?
Birth (and what was could loosely be described as Citizenship) in a British Protectorate 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") or as a "British Protected Person" (BPPs). At the point when the territory became independent, these citizens either took on nationality of the newly formed independent country, or remained as CUKCs or BPPs.
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's).
On 18.02.1965 it became part of the Gambia, a newly formed Independent country.