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British overseas citizen

As a general rule, the British overseas citizen status is granted where an applicant or their father was born in a former British colony and was not granted nationality of that territory on independence. 

The British overseas citizen (BOC) status arose as a result of the independence day arrangements of former British territories (mainly former British colonies) and how nationality was granted in the newly independent country with regards to, amongst other things, where the parents were born.

Those eligible to apply for a British passport describing themselves as a BOC may gain advantages in applying for visas for other countries and are entitled to the protection of the British government in times of need overseas.

It is possible, in some circumstances, to upgrade a BOC to full British citizenship. This is sometimes possible even if another nationality is held. This is a complex area of British nationality law and requires specialist advice.

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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