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

The 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.

Regardless of the above, British Protectorates and British Protected States were considered very much part of the British Empire and British Protected Persons (BPPs) were, and still are, issued British Passports describing them as such. As a general rule, those born in former British Protectorates were at some stage holders of this obscure form of British Nationality. Whether such persons still hold this nationality to this day (or indeed whether their dependents are entitled to it) is a question of law and determined usually by the Independence arrangements of the country concerned and subsequent Orders in Council (UK).

In the case of the Malay states, they were a British Protectorate up until 30 August 1957. A birth in that territory would result in that person being a British Protected Person (or BPP). Whether this person retained this status after independence will depend on the circumstances and family lineage, and can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.


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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