Cape Colony (now part of South Africa)

Cape Colony (now part of South Africa) - flag

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. 

Fast facts

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 in South Africa after 31 May 1962 but before 1983, and you have a UK-born grandparent. 
  • Born after 1948, and your parents were married before 1949 and your paternal grandfather (your dad’s dad) was born in the UK. 
  • Born between 2 March 1970 and 18 April 1980 in (Southern) Rhodesia, and you have a grandfather 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.

Expert UK immigration and nationality advice

We are the world’s leading experts in UK immigration and nationality. For over 22 years, we have been helping thousands of people navigate the complex path to British citizenship.

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.

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.




The Cape, Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State (now part of South Africa)

Between 1815 and 30.05.1910, the Cape Colony was within the British Crown Dominions.

The Natal Colony fell within the British Crown Dominions from 1844 until 30.05.1910.

The Transvaal was within the British Crown Dominions between 1877 and 1881. From 1881 until 31.08.1900, it was a British Protectorate. From 01.09.1900 until 30.05.1910, it was within the British Crown Dominions as a colony.

The Orange Free State was within the British Crown Dominions between 1848 and 1854. Between 1854 and 23.05.1900, it was a foreign country. From 24.05.1900 until 30.05.1910, it was within the British Crown Dominions as a colony.

Click here for more information on the status of a British Protected Person (based on birth in a British Protectorate).

South Africa

Prior to 31.05.1910, South Africa comprised of four separate territories.

From 31.05.1910 until 31.12.1948, South Africa was within the British Crown Dominions.

Between 01.01.1949 and 30.05.1962, it was an independent Commonwealth country.

From 31.05.1962 until 25.07.1994, it was a foreign country.

From 26.07.1994 until the present day, it was an independent  Commonwealth country.


Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality: is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth. is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.