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Immigration Corner | Am I eligible for a British passport?

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:06 AM
John Bassie
John Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am a Jamaican but I was born in the Cayman Islands. Please explain to me what the term ‘British overseas territories citizen’ means, as I am told that I may be eligible for a British passport.


Dear UY,

Please be aware that British overseas territories citizenship was called ‘British dependent territories citizenship’ prior to February 26, 2002.


Persons became British overseas territories citizens on January 1, 1983, if both of the following applied:

•They were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) on December 31, 1982; and

•They had connections with a British overseas territory because they, their parents or grandparents were born, registered or naturalised in that 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 are British overseas territories citizen if both of the following apply:

•They were born in a British overseas territory; and

• At the time of birth, one of their parents was a British overseas territories citizen or legally settled in a British overseas territory.

Please note that persons are also considered British overseas territories citizens if one of the following applies:

•They were adopted in an overseas territory by a British overseas territories citizen; or

•They were born outside the overseas territory to a parent who gained British overseas territories citizenship in their own right. This is known as ‘otherwise than by descent’.


As British overseas territories citizens, persons can hold a British passport. They are eligible to receive consular assistance and protection from United Kingdom diplomatic posts.

Please note that unless persons are also British citizens, they are still subject to immigration controls. Those persons do not have the automatic right to live or work in the United Kingdom.

In addition, they are not considered a United Kingdom national by the European Union.


Please note that 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

Persons may be able to register as British citizens if they became British overseas territories citizens after May 21, 2002, and if they meet certain conditions.

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, deputy global president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: