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You could be eligible for BRITISH NATIONALITY in the following circumstances:

  • You were BORN IN THE UK* (or Northern Ireland) before 1983. You will have been classified as British Otherwise than by Descent, can hold a British Passport, and can pass British Nationality to your children, irrespective of where these children are born. Read more about British Nationality by Birth.
  • You have a PARENT* (a father or mother) who Naturalised before your birth, or was born in the UK (or Northern Ireland) before 1983. Your parent will have been classified as British Otherwise than by Descent, hold a British Passport, and they can pass British Nationality to their children, irrespective of where these children are born. Read more about British Nationality by Descent.

* It gets more complicated if:

Non-Standard Claims

All other applications for British Nationality are known as Non-Standard. Acquiring British Nationality in such situations need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, and would rely on the exceptions allowed through nationality law or the anomalies created by the drafting of old colonial nationality law.

How do I find out if I have a claim to British Nationality?

Given the complex requirements of British nationality legislation, and because we handle hundreds of enquiries every day, we have developed a simple 4 STEP PROCESS as the most effective way of giving you the answer you’re looking for.

The steps are as follows:

  • Step 1: Standard vs Non-Standard. Determine whether you have a Standard claim to British Nationality. You have a Standard claim if you were born in the UK before 1983, a parent was Naturalised before your birth, or you have a parent born in the UK before 1983 (provided that your parents were married at the time of your birth). All other claims are considered Non-Standard.
  • Step 2: Nationality Assessment: If you do NOT have a Standard claim (as determined in Step 1 above), complete our FREE online Nationality Assessment. Your input is filtered against the criteria of hundreds of Non-Standard British Nationality solutions that we know of. Your Results Page - the final page on the assessment - will set out all your possible solutions.
  • Step 3: Status Trace. From your Results Page (reached in Step 2), you can instruct Philip Gamble (our founder and senior partner, and widely regarded as the world's leading expert on the subject) to review your family tree that you create in Step 2. By ordering this FREE review, you are asking Philip for his opinion on your chances of claiming British Nationality. Philip will respond by email with a Definite, Likely, Possible, Unlikely or Remote answer.
  • Step 4: Citizenship Report. You instruct Philip Gamble and his team of specialists in London to review copies of your family documents and research your rights to British Nationality. After searching for any possible way in which you can qualify, they will write a detailed Nationality Report, giving you a Yes/No answer. A fee of £350 applies.

What should I do NOW?

To avoid incurring unnecessary research or application fees at this point, we ask you to complete Steps 2 and 3 by:

  1. Completing our FREE online Nationality Assessment
  2. Ordering our FREE Status Trace

You will receive a series of emails, setting out clearly the solutions that you appear to qualify for, as well as Philip’s response to your Status Trace. Once you have completed these two steps, we will contact you by phone or email to discuss your nationality situation and talk through what should happen next. This may involve advising you to instruct our team of UK Nationality specialists to look into your case further to provide a definitive answer (Step 4).


The United Kingdom recognises 5 forms of British Citizenship: 

British Citizen

  • This is the traditional concept of British Nationality, known as full British Nationality.

British Overseas Citizen (BOC)

  • This is a form of British Protection granted to those people born in a non-UK territory where foreign nationality was not granted at birth. It is possible to upgrade to full UK Nationality in some circumstances.

British Protected Person (BPP)

  • This is a form of British Protection granted to those people born (or descended from those born) in a British Protected State or a British Protectorate. It is possible to upgrade to full British Nationality in some circumstances.

British National Overseas (BNO)

  • This form of British Nationality was granted to those with specific links to Hong Kong.

British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC)

  • This form of British Nationality is based on birth, residency and "belonging" to the various British Overseas Territories. 

The history of British Nationality can be summarised as follows:

British territories include:

British Crown Dominions

British Colonies

British Protectorates

British Protected States

British Mandated Territories

British Trust Territories

British Overseas Territories

Foreign Countries with Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)


European Union


Key Terms

British Nationality
UK Nationality


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.