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Case study: British overseas citizens

by Sable International | Oct 13, 2011
  • This South African resident was born in Rhodesia. Her father was born in Bechuanaland (now Botswana), and his Paternal Grandfather was born in South Africa. Despite no direct ancestral link to the UK, this client can claim to be a British Overseas Citizen, and also claim full British Nationality.
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    Do you qualify for a British passport as a South African?

    Below is a letter written by one of our UK Nationality partners on behalf of a client who qualified for one of the five forms of British Nationality. To protect the identity of the client, their name has been redacted but all other information is unchanged.

    Summary

    This South African resident was born in Rhodesia. Her father was born in Bechuanaland (now Botswana), and his Paternal Grandfather was born in South Africa. Despite no direct ancestral link to the UK, this client can claim to be a British Overseas Citizen, and also claim full British Nationality. Click here for more information on British Overseas Citizens (BOC) and British Protected Persons (BPP) as supplied by Whatpassport.com.

    The Letter to the UK Home Office

    Dear Sir/ Madam,

    Our client is currently a British Overseas Citizen (BOC) and has no other Citizenship or Nationality, and now wishes to register as British Citizens in accordance with Section 4b of the British Nationality Act 1981.

    Our client was born in Southern Rhodesia in 1951 and as such was a Citizen of Southern Rhodesia by birth in accordance with Section 6(2)of the Southern Rhodesia Citizenship and British Nationality Act 1949. Her paternal grandfather was born in South Africa in 1896 and her father was born in the Bechuanaland Protectorate in 1924. At the time of her father’s birth and on 1/1/49, Bechuanaland was a Protectorate and so our client’s father, also being a British Subject by descent from his father, was automatically re-classified as a Citizen of the UK and Colonies by virtue of Section 12(3) of the British Nationality Act 1948.

    Furthermore, Section 12(8) of the same Act also allows for persons who acquired Citizenship of the UK & Colonies in accordance with Section 12(3) to pass the status to the next generation. Our client therefore also became a Citizen of the UK & Colonies by descent at her birth.

    On Independence of Bechuanaland, our client did not become a Citizen of Botswana as she held Citizenship of Southern Rhodesia and her father did not become a Citizen of Botswana – Section 20(2) of the Independence Constitution of Botswana applies. It therefore follows that our client was not subject to automatic loss of her British Nationality.

    Since 1966, our client has retained her claim to Rhodesian and Zimbabwe Citizenship in view of her birth there. However, when Section 9 of the present Citizenship Act of Zimbabwe took effect on 6/1/2002, all those who held another Nationality apart from Zimbabwean, lost their Zimbabwe Nationality by operation of this law. Therefore as our client was also a British Overseas Citizen (BOC) on this day, she lost her claim to Zimbabwe nationality.

    We conclude that our client cannot hold Zimbabwe or Botswana Citizenship now. Equally, we should state that our client is not a national of South Africa, regardless of having lived there for some time.

    Kind regards,

    How do you find out if you qualify?

    Sable has an online UK Immigration and Nationality search. Go to https://www.sableinternational.com/immigration/uk-immigration, complete the search and find it if you or any of your family could qualify automatically for a British Passport. The UK Nationality rules have been supplied by Philip Gamble & Partners.

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