United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Overseas Citizen (BOC) - Losing South African Domicility Pre 1949
Listen to our BRITISH NATIONALITY WEBINAR on South Africa where our two British nationality experts - Philip Gamble and Mishal Patel - discuss a family birth in South Africa and its implications for claims to British nationality in the modern day.
Where a person was born in South Africa before 1949, there were some circumstances where such a person can claim the British Overseas Citizen (BOC) status.
The South Africa Nationality Act of 1949 determined who was granted South African nationality when the country was granted the right to determine its own citizenship laws. An anomaly in the Act meant that those who lost their South African domicility (because they or their parents left SA before 1949) did not automatically get the new South African citizenship. In such a case, the person retained their British Subject status (based on their birth in what was then a British Crown Dominion) and, after 1 January 1949, became a Citizen of the UK & Colonies. On 1 January 1983, they would have been automatically reclassified as a British Overseas Citizen, even if they weren't aware of it.
The key criteria of this solution are:
- Candidate born in a South Africa before 1 January 1949; AND
- Candidate (or their parents) emigrated from South Africa before 1949.
There are several circumstances where this status of British Overseas Citizen (or BOC) could be upgraded to full British nationality. This normally occurs where the candidate:
a) has a grandparent born in the UK or Ireland;
b) spent time in the UK before 1983; OR
c) is a woman and married a British or Irish husband before 1983.