British Citizenship Services
Types of British Nationality and Entitlement to full British Citizenship
Because of the UK’s complicated colonial history, there are several different types of British nationality:
- British citizen
- British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC)
- British Overseas Citizen (BOC)
- British National Overseas (BNO)
- British Protected Person (BPP)
- British Subject
The status of “British citizen” is by far the most valuable of these British nationalities; it is the only status which confers the right of abode in the UK, ie the right to live in the UK and come and go from the UK without hindrance. The other British statutes provide lesser rights.
People who hold any of the other categories of British nationality are from countries or territories which have been part of the British Empire or under British control.
Some people are born British citizens; for example, someone born in the UK of a British or settled parent or parents. Someone born outside the UK of a British parent or parents could, depending on the circumstances, also be born British.
But, since the passing of the British Nationality Act 1981, which tightened up the requirements for British citizenship, many people born in the UK of foreign parents are not born British.
But both adults and children may be able to acquire full British citizenship. The process for adults to acquire British citizenship is called “naturalisation” or, in some cases, “registration”.
The process for children to acquire British citizenship is called “registration”.