Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Immigration Corner | What makes someone eligible for a British passport?

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2021 | 12:06 AM
John Bassie
John Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

Under what circumstances can a person be eligible to hold a British passport? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

– HV

Dear HV,

With respect to British passport eligibility, persons can apply for a British passport only if they possess British nationality. However, it should be noted that there are some circumstances where those persons’ applications can be refused, or their existing passports can be retained.


As stated above, persons must have British nationality to apply for or hold a British passport. However, having British nationality does not guarantee those holding British nationality a passport. For example, persons with British nationality may not get a new passport, or their existing passport may be taken from them, if they are suspected of a serious crime and an arrest warrant has been issued; also, if there is a court order in place that stops the holder from having a United Kingdom passport or restricts them from travelling.

Persons may also not be eligible to get a new British passport, or their existing one taken away from them, if they are on bail and bail conditions mean that they cannot leave the United Kingdom.

There are same restrictions with respect to eligibility and holding a British passport if persons have been brought back to the United Kingdom before at the government’s expense and have not repaid what they owe. Further, persons will not be eligible if they have received a European Union or United Nations order which restricts their travel. Persons should also be aware that a British 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 United Kingdom.

It is important to note that a person’s eligibility and entitlement to a British passport will be considered when their application is submitted and considered. Persons should be aware that British passports belong to the British government and can be cancelled or withdrawn at any time.

Just to be complete, persons should be aware that there are different types of British nationality, and persons can apply for a British passport if they are one of the following:

• British citizen;

• British overseas territories citizen;

• British overseas citizen;

• British subject;

• British national (overseas);

• British protected person.

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: