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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

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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