Penang and Malacca (now part of Malaysia)

Penang and Malacca (now part of Malaysia) - 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.

Penang & Malacca

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.

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.

British Nationality could be obtained through your birth, or through the birth of any one of your parents or grandparents, in Penang and Malacca. This arises because of Britain's relationship with Malaysia and Britain's Colonial history.

To determine what form of British Nationality you might have, an analysis of your family's history must be done, and then applying it to the Nationality laws of Malaysia that were passed over the years.

NOTE: Modern-day Malaysia is made up of several areas, all of which fell under the influence and control of the British before Independence. Almost 1.3 million Malaysians had claims to (a form of) British Nationality AFTER Independence due to inconsistencies and anomalies in UK Nationality legislation and the Constitution of Malaysia. It is critical to note the place and date of birth of BOTH parents and ALL four grandparents.


From 02.09.1858 to 31.03.1946, Penang and Malacca fell within the Crown’s Dominions.

Between 01.04.1946 and 31.01.1948, they were part of the Malayan Union but still within the Crown’s Dominions.

Between 01.02.1948 and 31.12.1948, they were part of the Federation of Malaya but still within the Crown’s Dominions.

From 01.01.1949 until 30.08.1957, it fell within the UK and Colonies as the Federation of Malaya.

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


Between 31.08.1957 and 15.09.1963, made up of the union of the Malay States and Penang & Malacca. The Federation was treated as an Independent Commenwealth country.


The constituent parts of Malaysia are North Borneo (and Labuan),  the Malay States, Penang and Malacca, Singapore (at various times) and Sarawak.

From 16.09.1963 until the present day, it is 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.