Different Types of British Nationality Explained and Simplified
The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
6 Types of UK Nationality Explained

The 6 Types of British Nationality

The rules that determine United Kingdom nationality changed in 1983. This section lists the six different types of British nationality explained and simplified for easy understanding.

Differences between British nationality and British citizenship determine the rights and entitlements.

The 6 different types of UK nationality are:

The United Kingdom has a complex international history - if compared to other nations. In fact, there are several different forms of UK nationality that citizens can hold.

As a rule, three different factors will help to determine your nationality as an individual:

Note: The British Nationality Act 1981 has been in full force since 1983. Its introduction has changed many of the rules that determine United Kingdom nationality.

Contacting UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

You can contact UK Visas and Immigration about an application from inside or outside of the UK. Contacting UKVI can also help you determine whether you have British nationality - or not. But, the staff cannot give advice on any personal circumstances.

British Citizenship

As a British citizen, you can live and work in the United Kingdom. You would be free of any immigration controls for doing so.

The key factors of being a British citizen are when you were born and where it took place. The circumstances of your parents can also be a determining factor. You can check if you are a British citizen if you are not sure.

Note: There are different types of British nationality with differing rights and entitlements. Read the full section that explains British citizenship in further detail.

British Overseas Territories Citizen

The original title for these citizens was 'British dependent territories citizenship'. But, the term has been British overseas territories citizenship since the 26th of February 2002.

BOTC refers to individuals who migrated to the United Kingdom from a British overseas territory. The term can also apply to UK-born people who are descendants of these citizens.

Note: There are different types of British nationality with differing rights and entitlements. Read the full section that explains the rights of a British overseas territories citizen in further detail.

British Overseas Citizen

Despite being British nationals, most British overseas citizens do not have UK right of abode. These citizens would have retained their British nationality after independence took place.

You would have become a British overseas citizen on the 1st of January 1983 if (both):

Note: There are different types of British nationality with differing rights and entitlements. Read the full section that explains British overseas citizen in further detail.

British Subject

Almost everyone with a close connection to the United Kingdom was a 'British subject' until 1949. The term also applied to all citizens of Commonwealth countries until January 1983. Since then, very few people will qualify as British subjects.

Note: There are different types of British nationality with differing rights and entitlements. Read the full section that explains British subject in further detail.

British National (Overseas)

British nationalities include the status of British national (overseas) - also known as BN(O). Despite being British nationals (and Commonwealth citizens), individuals with this nationality may not actually be British citizens.

The status was set up for British overseas territories citizens connected with Hong Kong. These individuals could register as a British national (overseas) before the 1st of July 1997.

But, some British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong did not register as British nationals (overseas). As such, they had no other nationality or citizenship on the 30th of June 1997. So, these individuals became British overseas citizens on the 1st of July 1997.

Note: There are different types of British nationality with differing rights and entitlements. Read the full section that explains British national (overseas) status in further detail.

British Protected Person (BPP)

Having BPP status means you are a member of a class of persons set up under the British Nationality Act 1981. As such, you would have an association with former protected states or other territories under British control.

Certain individuals would have become a British protected person on the 1st of January 1983 if:

Note: There are different types of British nationality with differing rights and entitlements. Read the full section that explains British protected person citizenship in further detail.

Explaining the Rights and Entitlements for 6 Forms of British Nationality