United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Protected Person (BPP) - Kenya

The status of British protected person (BPP) is a status held by certain persons under the British Nationality Act 1981. It is not traditionally considered a form of British nationality—as British protected persons are not Commonwealth citizens in British nationality law, they do not have full civil rights in the United Kingdom.

However, BPPs, like Commonwealth citizens and Irish citizens, are not considered aliens in the United Kingdom, and it has been submitted that as they are not stateless, they must have some kind of nationality, and that nationality must by necessity be a form of British nationality. Their position is therefore sui generis.

Kenyans with an Indian parent or grandparent have a real possibility of being granted one of the five forms of British Nationality.

Because of how the Constitution of Kenya determined how Citizenship was granted, Kenyans with a parent or grandparent born OUTSIDE of Kenya have a real possibility of being granted one of the five forms of British Nationality.


From 1921 to 30.04.1925 (Jubaland, Kismayu and Port Durnford) and from 1921 to 11.12.1963 (Mainland Strip, Lamu and Patta), the area was a British Protectorate in which the Crown exercised extra-territorial jurisdiction. The area included the coastal town of Mombasa.

Birth in the Kenya Protectorate

If a person was born in the Kenya Protectorate BEFORE Independence, then they automatically became a British Protected Person (a BPP). On Independence Day, the Kenyan Constitution dictated who became Kenyan citizens and who did not. If neither parent was born in an area that made up modern-day Kenya, then that person did NOT get Kenyan Citizenship on Independence.

Likewise, if that person's father was born anywhere which remained a UK Colony, Protectorate or Protected State AFTER Independence (with the exception of Northern Rhodesia), then that person would also NOT become a Kenyan Citizen.

Finally, if that person's father was Naturalised or Registered in a place that remained part of the UK & Colonies on Independence, then that person would also NOT get Kenyan Citizenship.

In these circumstances, this person would become a British Protected Person (BPP). It is possible under some circumstances to upgrade a BPP into full British Citizenship. 

Birth in modern-day Kenya

If a person was born in Kenya AFTER Independence, then they would assume Kenyan Citizenship as long as the rules applicable set out in the Constitution apply. However, it is possible to become a BPP By Descent if born BEFORE October 1965 and if their father was born in the Kenyan Protectorate and would have become a BPP (as above).

Birth outside of modern-day Kenya

If a person was born outside of Kenya AFTER Independence, then they would assume BPP by Descent  status if born BEFORE 16.08.1978 and if their father was born in the Kenyan Protectorate and would have become a BPP (as above).

Click here for more information on a British Protected Person, based on:


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.

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