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Listen to our BRITISH NATIONALITY WEBINAR where our two British nationality experts - Philip Gamble and Mishal Patel - discuss a family birth in Rhodesia and its implications for claims to British nationality in the modern day.

A birth in Rhodesia (or Zimbabwe) does not normally give rights to British nationality in the modern day, as it became a self-governing Commonwealth country from 1 January 1949. However, where a parent or grandparent was born in the UK, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, it is possible to have claims to British or Irish citizenship in the modern day.

Prior to 12 September 1923, Rhodesia was controlled by Cecil John Rhodes's company, over which the British Crown had Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (or ETJ). Thereafter, and up until 31 December 1948, it fell within the British Crown Dominions. From 1 January 1949 up until its independence (as Zimbabwe) on 30 April 1980, it was an independent self-governing Commonwealth country for British nationality purposes, even though the UK treated it as a British Colony during this time. Rhodesia formed part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1 March 1958 to 31 December 1964, a territory treated as an independent Commonwealth country.  Rhodesia was granted Independence on 18 April 1980.

The most common routes to British nationality for those with a family member born in Rhodesia are as follows:

Born to a British Father

Born to a British Mother

UK-Born Paternal Grandfather

UK-Born Grandfather

UK-Born Grandmother

Crown Service

Woman Married to British Husband

Born in South Africa

The most common routes to Irish nationality are as follows:

Parent Born in Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

Grandparent Born in Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

Born to an Irish Parent

The UK and Ireland allow Dual nationality - the right to hold more than one citizenship. However, Zimbabwe disallowed this from 2006 (although constitutionally they now allow the right)..


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

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com 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.

WhatPassport.com 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.