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British colonies

These countries and territories were former British colonies from their formation on 1 January 1949.

Nationality status and British colonies

Birth (or descent from a father born) in a former British colony granted citizen of the UK and colonies (CUKC) status.

Depending on the independence day arrangements and how nationality of the newly independent country was granted, this status could be retained in some cases. On 1 January 1983, all citizens of the UK and colonies would have become British citizens, British overseas citizens (BOC) or British dependent territories citizens (BDTC), depending on individual circumstances.

Do you qualify for British citizenship?

You could qualify for a British passport if one of the following applies:

  • You were born between 01 January 1949 and 31 December 1982 in a British colony if you had a UK-born grandparent
  • You were born between 01 January 1949 and 31 December 1982, a parent was born in a British colony, and that parent had a parent born in the UK
  • You were born after 1 January 1983, your parent was born in a post-1949 colony and you have a UK-born grandfather

The former British colonies were:

Africa

  • Ashanti (now part of Ghana) – to 3 May 1957
  • Basutoland (now Lesotho) – to 10 March 1966
  • Gambia – to 17 February 1965
  • Gambia Colony (Banjul and Kombo St Mary) – to 17 February 1965
  • Ghana – to 5 March 1957
  • Gibralter – to 31 December 1982
  • Gold Coast Colony (now part of Ghana) – to 5 March 1957
  • Kenya Colony (now part of Kenya) – to 11 December 1963
  • Lesotho – to 3 October 1966
  • Malaysia – to 15 September 1963
  • Mauritius – to 11 March 1968
  • Nigerian Colony (now part of Nigeria) – to 30 September 1960
  • Seychelles – to 28 June 1976
  • Sierra Leone Colony (now part of Sierra Leone) – to 26 April 1961

The Americas

  • Belize – to 20 September 1981
  • Bermuda – to 31 December 1982
  • British Guiana (now Guyana) – to 20 September 1981
  • British Honduras (now Belize) – to 31 May 1973
  • Dominica – to 2 November 1978
  • Falkland Islands – to 31 December 1982
  • Grenada – to 6 February 1974
  • Guyana – to 20 September 1981

The Arabian Peninsula

  • Kuria Muria Islands (now part of Yemen) – to 17 January 1963
  • Perim Islands (now part of Yemen) – to 17 January 1963
  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia UK Cyprus Military Bases – to 31 December 1982
  • Aden Colony-Port of Aden (now part of Yemen) – to 29 November 1967

Australasia

  • Christmas Island (now part of Australia) – to 30 September 1958
  • Cocos and Keeling Islands (now part of Australia) – to 22 November 1955
  • Gilbert Islands (now part of Kiribati) – to 11 July 1979
  • Fiji – to 9 October 1970
  • Kiribati – to 11 July 1979
  • Line Islands (now part of Kiribati) – to 11 July 1979
  • Phoenix Islands (now part of Kiribati) – to 11 July 1979
  • Rotuma (now part of Fiji) – to 9 October 1970
  • Tuvalu – to 30 September 1978

Asia

  • Hong Kong – to 31 December 1982
  • Kowloon (now part of Hong Kong) – to 31 December 1982
  • New Territories (now part of Hong Kong) – to 31 December 1982
  • North Borneo and Labuan (now part of Malaysia) – to 15 September 1963
  • Penang and Malacca (now part of Malaysia) – to 30 August 1957
  • Sarawak (now part of Malaysia) – to 15 September 1963
  • Singapore – to 2 June 1959
  • St Christopher, St Kitts and Nevis – to 31 December 1982

The Caribbean

  • Anguilla- to 31 December 1982
  • Antigua and Barbuda – to 31 October 1981
  • Bahamas – to 9 September 1973
  • Barbados – to 29 November 1966
  • Cayman Islands - to 31 December 1982
  • British Virgin Islands – to 31 December 1982
  • Jamaica – to 5 August 1962
  • Montserrat – to 31 December 1982
  • St Lucia – to 21 February 1979
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines – to 26 October 1979
  • Trinidad and Tobago – to 30 August 1962
  • Turks and Caicos – to 31 December 1982

Europe

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia UK Cyprus Military Bases – to 31 December 1982
  • Cyprus – to 15 August 1960
  • Malta – to 20 September 1964

Other territories

  • Antarctic Territory – to 31 December 1982
  • British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos) – to 31 December 1982
  • Pitcairn Islands – to 31 December 1982
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands – to 31 December 1982
  • St Helena, Ascension Gough and Tristan da Cunha – to 31 December 1982

Contact our citizenship team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2139

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

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
London
WC1A 1DG
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Australia

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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