Other types of British nationality

British Passport And Map Of EuropeIn the days of the British Empire, there were different types of British nationality because there were different types of British territories. Although the number of British territories and colonies has decreased, the different types of nationality still exist. They each have their own requirements, based on family connections in Britain, previous citizenship, previous residence in British colonies or territories and year and place of birth.

The six different forms of British nationality recognised in the UK are:

1. British citizenship

2. British overseas citizenship

You qualify to be a British overseas citizen if:

  • you were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth, descent, legal adoption, naturalisation or registration in the United Kingdom on 31 December 1982
  • you lived in the United Kingdom, while a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, for at least five years at any time before 1 January 1983

You are a British overseas citizen if you did not become a British citizen or British overseas territories citizen on 1 January 1983. You are considered a British National but do not have an automatic right to live in the United Kingdom.

3. British overseas territories citizenship

British overseas territories were previously known as the British dependent territories. You are considered a British overseas territories citizen if you have a family connection to a British overseas territory because a family member was born, registered or naturalized there.

4. British national (overseas)

If you lost your British overseas citizenship when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, you could register to keep British citizenship. It did not give a right of abode and cannot be inherited by children.

5. British protected person 

If you were born in a protected state, mandated territory or trust territory of the British Empire, you are a British protected person. This allows you to hold a British Passport and be considered a British national. There is no automatic right of abode. 

6. British subject

You are classed as a British subject if you were a British subject 31 December 1982 but did not gain any of the above types of British citizenship or citizenship of a Commonwealth country on 1 January 1983. Before 1 January 1983, all citizens of Commonwealth countries were considered British subjects. 

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