Immigration Corner | British citizenship and British overseas territories
Dear Mr Bassie,
Could you please explain to me the meaning of ‘British overseas territories citizen’? I have heard the term, but I am not sure what it means.
Please be aware that British overseas territories citizenship was called ‘British dependent territories citizenship’ before February 26, 2002.
PERSONS WHO WERE BORN BEFORE JANUARY 1, 1983
Persons became British overseas territories citizens on January 1, 1983, if both of these applied:
• They were citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) and Colonies on December 31, 1982;
• They had connections with a British overseas territory because they, their parents or their grandparents were born, registered or naturalised in the British overseas territory.
Persons also became British overseas territories citizens if they were a woman married to a man who became a British overseas territories citizen on January 1, 1983.
PERSONS WHO WERE BORN ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 1983
Persons are British overseas territories citizens if both the following apply:
• They were born in a British overseas territory;
• At the time of their birth, one of their parents was a British overseas territories citizen or legally settled in a British overseas territory.
They are also British overseas territories citizens if one of the following applies:
• They were adopted in an overseas territory by a British overseas territories citizen;
• They were born outside the overseas territory to a parent who gained British overseas territories citizenship in their own right (known as ‘otherwise than by descent’).
RIGHTS AS A BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES CITIZEN
Those persons can:
• Hold a British passport;
• Get consular assistance and protection from UK diplomatic posts.
Unless they are also British citizens:
• They are still subject to immigration controls – they do not have the automatic right to live or work in the UK;
• They are not considered a UK national by the European Union.
Persons automatically became British citizens on May 21, 2002, if their British overseas territories citizenship was gained by connection with a qualifying territory.
The qualifying territories are:
• British Antarctic Territory
• British Indian Ocean Territory
• British Virgin Islands
• Cayman Islands
• Falkland Islands
• Pitcairn Islands
• Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
• South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
• Turks and Caicos Islands
REGISTER AS A BRITISH CITIZEN
Persons may be able to register as British citizens if they became British overseas territories citizens after May 21, 2002, and meet certain conditions.
All the best.
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, global vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org