Thu | Oct 17, 2019

Immigration Corner | Denying a British national a British passport

Published:Tuesday | July 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
John Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I was told that it is possible for a British national to be refused a British passport. Is this true? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

- D.V.

Dear D.V.,

With respect to British passport eligibility, persons can apply for a British passport if they have British nationality. However, there are some circumstances where person's applications can be refused, or their existing passports can be retained.

A person can get or hold a British passport, but he or she must have British nationality to apply for or hold a British passport. It should be noted that having British nationality does not guarantee a person a passport. For example, a person may not get a new passport, or the existing passport may be taken away if he or she is suspected of a serious crime and an arrest warrant has been issued, or if a court order stops that person having a United Kingdom (UK) passport or restricts their travel.

A British national may also not be granted a passport if he or she is on bail and bail conditions do not permit that person to leave the UK. Also, if a person has been brought back to the UK at the Government's expense and have not repaid what is owed, a passport can be withheld. A passport will also not be obtained if that person has received a European Union (EU) or United Nations order that restricts their travel.

A passport can also be cancelled or not renewed if it is for a child and there is a court order in place stopping the child from leaving the UK. A person's eligibility and entitlement to a British passport will be considered when the application is made.

Persons should be aware that passports belong to the Government and can be cancelled or withdrawn at any time.

Please note that persons should be aware that there are various types of British nationality and persons can apply for a British passport if they are a:

- British citizen

- British Overseas Territories citizen

- British overseas citizen

- British subject

- British national (overseas)

- British protected person

Just for completeness, persons who may also be EU citizens over there should take note that there will be no change to the rights and status of those persons living in the UK until 2021. Those persons and their families can apply for 'settled status' to continue living in the UK after June 2021. This scheme will open fully by March 2019.

I hope this helps.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email