United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Double Descent (48-5(1)a Botswana)

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


After 1948 and prior to 1983, British Citizenship could be passed two generations by Descent where the middle generation (the parent) or the applicant was born in a British Protectorate. Bechuanaland (now Botswana) was such a territory before 30.09.1966.

This particular solution arises in two ways. The first requires the parent born in the British Protectorate:

  - applicant born between 01.01.1949 and 31.12.1982;

  - parent born in Bechuanaland before its independence; AND

 - the relevant grandfather born in the UK.

The second route requires the applicant to be born in the British Protectorate:

  - applicant born in Bechuanaland after 1948 but before its independence; AND

 - the paternal grandfather born in the UK.

If the claim comes from the paternal grandfather, then the applicant is British by operation of law (i.e. automatically British), as long as the relevant family members were born legitimately. However, if the claims comes down from a maternal grandfather, then an application to register as a British citizen has to be made. This route through the mother has become available after recent anti-gender discrimination legislation was passed.

There are two further points to note. The applicant and the relevant parent from whom the claim stems must not have:

  • suffered from the Automatic Loss of Colonial Nationality enacted upon Independence (though there are some exceptions to this); AND

  • renounced citizenship of the UK and Colonies.



Bechuanaland was a British Protectorate up until its independence on 30 September 1966. From that point, Botswana became (and still is today) an independent Commonwealth country.

A birth in Bechuanaland gave the status of British Protected Person (or BPP). Upon independence, this BPP status was either retained or lost depending on the circumstances of each person. The rules as to whether a person became a citizen of Botswana or not were determined by the Independence Day arrangements and the new Constitution.

We have found several other British nationality solutions that arise from a birth in Bechuanaland:

British Citizenship by Double Descent (Bechuanaland)
British Citizenship (Bechuanaland Birth - Married to British man)
British Citizenship (Bechuanaland Birth)
British Overseas Citizen (BOC) - Bechuanaland Parent
British Protected Person (BPP) - Bechuanaland


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.