British Nationals Before 1983

This page contains additional historical information. You do not need to read or understand any of this for your prospects to be evaluated. For those who are seriously interested, listed below are the categories of people treated as British nationals before 1983. Throughout this website, nationals of the United Kingdom are referred to as “British nationals.” British nationals are eligible for a passport issued by the government of the United Kingdom (or a UK dependency) and consular protection from the government of the United Kingdom.

Before 1949, a person with a status listed below was treated as a British national:

  • a British subject,
  • a British protected person (then a status largely defined by policy) comprising mostly by the following:
  1. a national of a mandated territory (Iraq, Transjordan or Palestine)
  2. a national of a British protectorate or protected state with a local nationality law (Zanzibar, British North Borneo, Sarawak and most British protected states outside India
  3. a person born in or whose father was born in a British protectorate, protected state, mandated or trust territory,
  4. a person naturalised in a British colony, protectorate or Dominion under its local law,
  5. a person registered with a British consulate as a locally resident “British protected person”: typically a long-standing employee of a British embassy, consulate or business, in a country in the Near East, Middle East or North Africa.

In the period from 1949 to 1982, a person with a status listed below was treated as a British national:

  • a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies,
  • a British subject other than by citizenship of an independent Commonwealth country, i.e.:
  1. a British subject without citizenship [1],
  2. a British subject who gave notice as a citizen of Eire/Ireland [2],
  3. a British subject by registration (woman only) [3],
  4. a citizen of Singapore, before 16 September 1963,
  5. a citizen of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Federation of), before 1 January 1964,
  6. a citizen of Southern Rhodesia, before 18 April 1980.
  • a British protected person, normally:
  1. a national of a Zanzibar or an enduring UK protected state with a local nationality law (most UK protected states), only states with a “to date” after 1948),
  2. a person born in, or whose father was born in, a UK protectorate, or trust territory or an enduring post 1948 protected state (see list here, only states with a “to date” after 1948).
  • a British Registered person or Royal Prerogative person (special cases of a pre 1949 British protected person who never had another nationality).

(There are a few other very obscure categories not mentioned in the lists above.)

[1] Such a person must have been a British subject before 1949, or deemed so.
[2] Such a person had to have been a British subject and citizen of Eire (Ireland) before 1949. The notice could be given to the government of the United Kingdom, a UK colony or protectorate, Australia, Southern Rhodesia (before March 1958) or the Federation of Rhodesia or Nyasaland (before 1964).
[3] Only the wife of a man in category 2. a) or b) could be so registered. under s. 1 of the British Nationality Act 1965 of the UK or s. 26A of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 of Australia