United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Double Descent (Bechuanaland)

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.


Bechuanaland gained its independence on 30 September 1966. Where a person is born outside of Bechuanaland but before its Independence, to a father born there then there are circumstances where this person does not automatically pick up citizenship of Botswana. This occurs where the person's paternal grandfather was born in a former British territory. In such a set of circumstances, the applicant remains a Citizen of the UK & Colonies and gets reclassified as a British citizen on 1 January 1983.

The criteria for this solution are:

 - Candidate born outside of Bechuanaland;

 - Candidate born between 1 January 1949 and 30 September 1966;

 - Candidate's father born in Bechuanaland before 1949;

 - The candidate's paternal grandfather (or the father of their paternal grandfather) born in a former British Crown Dominion; AND

 - The candidate has the Right of Abode.

The Right of Abode normally occurs where the candidate:

 a) has a grandparent born in the UK;

 b) has no other nationality; OR

 c) is a woman and married a British man before 1983.


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 (48-5(1)a Botswana)
British Citizenship (Bechuanaland Birth - Married to British man)
British Citizenship (Bechuanaland Birth)
British Overseas Citizen (BOC) - Bechuanaland Parent
British Protected Person (BPP) - Bechunaland


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.