British protected person

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A British Protected Person (BPP) is a member of class of certain persons under the British Nationality Act 1981 associated with former protected states, protectorates, mandated and trust territories whose external affairs and defence were under British control. The inhabitants of these former states or territories were never automatically entitled because of their birthplace to become British subjects or citizens, but were given the status of British Protected Person instead. (A few of those born in such areas might have other claims to British nationality, for instance, based on the status of their parents.)

BPP status is a form of nationality under public international law, but is no longer associated with the right to live anywhere or to enjoy citizenship of the European Union.[1]

British Protected Persons are not Commonwealth citizens in British nationality law; they do not have full civil rights in the United Kingdom. However, BPPs, like Commonwealth citizens and Irish citizens, are not considered aliens in the United Kingdom.

History[edit]

Certain parts of the British Empire were under British suzerainty or effective control but did not become part of the Crown's dominions. These included protected states, protectorates, mandated and trust territories. As these states were considered to be 'foreign' soil, birth in such a place could not, in general, confer British nationality. Instead, the denizens of the these states were conferred with the status of British Protected Person.

Originally BPP status was conferred on the subjects of the rulers of the protected states, with those rulers determining who were their subjects. Subsequently, a more sophisticated test of 'belonging' was established by Royal Prerogative under the British Protected Persons Order 1934. BPP status was defined in statute law for the first time by the British Nationality Act 1948.

The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order came into force on 28 January 1949, establishing for the first time a statutory basis for British Protected Person status. The status of statutory BPP was largely replaced that of Royal Prerogative BPP by the 1949 Order. However some persons may still be granted Royal Prerogative BPP status if connected to a former protectorate or protected state, with no other nationality and no prospect of obtaining another nationality.

BPP status was normally lost automatically upon acquisition of the nationality of the country with which the person was connected. In some cases, any person with BPP status connected to that territory lost BPP status, even if they did not acquire the citizenship of another country when the status of a protectorate or trust territory came to an end. While the majority of BPPs connected with former protectorates or trust territories retained BPP status if they did not acquire the citizenship of another country, BPPs connected with former protected states all lost BPP status.

Historically, British Protected Person status was associated with the following kinds of overseas possessions:

  • Protectorates – similar to protected states, but where an internal government was also set up by Britain. In many cases there was little practical distinction between a protectorate and a colony, except for the legal status of its belonging or otherwise to the Crown's dominions. In many instances, Britain provided for the possible retention of the BPP status of protectorate's denizens if they did not acquire the citizenship of the fully independent state. However this was not always the case, and no provision was made for BPPs from British Somaliland[3] or the Aden Protectorate to retain their status after independence.

Statutory British protected persons[edit]

Today a person is a statutory BPP if he or she

Protectorate / trust territory Independent state Independence day
Bechuanaland Protectorate Botswana 30 September 1966
British Solomon Islands Protectorate Solomon Islands 7 July 1978
Gambia Protectorate Gambia 18 February 1965
Kamaran South Yemen 30 November 1967
Kenya Protectorate Kenya 12 December 1963
Nigeria Protectorate Nigeria 1 October 1960
Northern Rhodesia Zambia 24 October 1964
Northern Territories of the Gold Coast Ghana 6 March 1957
Nyasaland Protectorate Malawi 6 July 1964
Protectorate of South Arabia South Yemen 30 November 1967
Sierra Leone Protectorate Sierra Leone 27 April 1961
Uganda Protectorate Uganda 9 October 1962
Tanganyika Tanganyika 9 December 1961
British Togoland Ghana 6 March 1957

Pre-independence[edit]

by birth
  • was born in one of the former protectorates or trust territories shown in the table to the right,[4]
  • has never become a citizen of the newly formed independent state,[5] and
  • has not acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship) since 16 August 1978.[6]

A person born in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate after 1 January 1975 only becomes a BPP if he or she would otherwise have been stateless.[7]

by male descent (pre-1949)

Or if his or her father:

  • was born in one of the former protectorates or trust territories shown in the table to the right,

and he or she:

  • was born before 28 January 1949,
  • was born outside the former protectorate or trust territory,
  • has never become a citizen of the newly formed independent state,[5] and
  • (Solomon Islands) has never acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship) before or after independence.[8]
  • (elsewhere) has not acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship) since 16 August 1978.[6]
by male descent (1949 to independence)

Or if his or her father:

  • was born in one of the former protectorates or trust territories shown in the table to the right, and
  • was a BPP at the date of his child's birth (or would have but for his death),

and he or she:

  • was born on or after 28 January 1949 but before the creation of the newly formed independent state,
  • was born outside the former protectorate or trust territory,
  • has never become a citizen of the newly formed independent state,[5] and
  • has not acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship) since 16 August 1978.[6]

A person whose father was born in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate after 1 January 1975 only becomes a BPP if he or she would otherwise have been stateless.[7]

Post-independence[edit]

by male descent (independence to August 1978, other that the Solomon Islands)

Or if his or her father:

  • was a BPP by birth on his child's birth (or would have been if he predeceased the child),

and he or she:

  • was born on or after the creation of the newly created independent state but before 16 August 1978,
  • has never become a citizen of the newly formed independent state, and
  • has not acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship) since 16 August 1978.[6]
by male descent (Solomon Islands; 1978 to 1980)

Or if his or her father:

  • was a BPP by birth on his child's birth (or would have been if he predeceased the child),

and he or she:

  • was born on or after 7 July 1978 but before 7 July 1980, and
  • would, if not for possessing BPP status, have been born stateless and remain stateless.[8]
by male or female descent and birth within UK and overseas territories post 1982

A person is a BPP if:

  • either of his or her parents was a BPP at the date of his or her birth, and

he or she:

  • was born in was born on or after 1 January 1983 in the United Kingdom or its overseas territories,
  • had no other nationality at birth, and
  • has not acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship).[6]

By registration[edit]

registration as a BPP on the basis of descent and residence

A person can apply to be registered as a BPP if:

  • either of his or her parents was a BPP at the date of his or her birth, and

he or she:

  • was born outside the United Kingdom or its overseas territories,
  • has fulfilled the required residence requirement (three years with minimum absence) within the United Kingdom or its overseas territories,
  • has never possessed any nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship).

Any person so registered would have lost or will lose their BPP status if they ever acquire or had ever acquired any other nationality.

by marriage

Before 1 January 1983 the wife or widow of a BPP could apply to be registered as a BPP herself if:

  • she has never become a citizen of the newly formed independent state,
  • her husband was a BPP on the application date, or would have been, if alive on that date,
  • she has not acquired any other nationality (including British citizenship, British Overseas Territories citizenship or British Overseas citizenship) since 16 August 1978.

Solomon islands[edit]

There are two ways individuals would still have BPP status owing to their connection with the Solomon Islands, these are that:

  • they had BPP status prior to the independence of the islands and did not gain citizenship of the Solomon Islands or of any other country subsequently, or
  • they were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies prior to independence solely by reason of their connection with the islands, and did not acquire citizenship of the Solomon Islands or of any other country subsequently.

Like in other protectorates, a person born in the Solomon Islands whose father was at the time of his or her birth a CUKC, was deemed to be a CUKC by birth.[9] This had the effect of allowing United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship to be maintained indefinitely, in contrast to the normal position of the children of CUKCs born outside "Her Majesty's dominions".

People whose United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship was held solely by their connection with a protectorate normally kept that citizenship if they did not became citizens of the independent state formed on that protectorate's demise. This did not occur in the case of the Solomon Islands. CUKCs who held their citizenship for their connection with the Solomon Islands lost that citizenship but were given BPP status if they would otherwise have been stateless.

In common with other Solomon Islands BPPs, the BPP status acquired under this provision is lost if the BPP acquires any other nationality.

British nationality and protectorates[edit]

Although most people connected with protectorates and protected states did not acquire British subject status there were some exceptions:

  • Persons born in a protectorate and some protected states with a British subject father were British subjects by birth (even if the father was a British subject by descent). This exception to normal rules on transmission of British subject status was put on a statutory basis by section 2(1) of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1943.
  • On 1 January 1949 any British subject born in a protectorate or a protected state automatically became a Citizen of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) under section 12(3) of the British Nationality Act 1948.
  • Governors of protectorates and some protected states had the right under sections 8 and 10 of the British Nationality Act 1948 to register or naturalise persons as Citizens of the UK and Colonies by virtue of a connection to that protectorate or protected state.

Some of these persons may have lost CUKC at independence of the protectorate or protected state concerned. If they retained CUKC they would generally be British citizens or British Overseas citizens.

Access to British citizenship[edit]

British protected persons may normally become British citizens through one of the following routes:

Residence in the United Kingdom[edit]

  • After 5 years residence in the United Kingdom, and holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or its equivalent for at least 12 months, a BPP may apply for registration as a British citizen under section 4 of the British Nationality Act 1981.
  • If married to a British citizen, it is possible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen after 3 years residence in the United Kingdom provided ILR is held on the day of application.

Both of these options confer British citizenship otherwise than by descent and hence children born subsequently outside the United Kingdom will normally have access to British citizenship.

Persons otherwise stateless[edit]

British protected persons who hold no other citizenship or nationality, and have not lost or renounced any other citizenship or nationality after 4 July 2002 (whether voluntarily or otherwise) may apply to be registered as British citizens.[10]

Loss of BPP status[edit]

A British Protected Person who acquires another nationality, voluntarily or otherwise, automatically loses BPP status.

BPPs may be deprived of BPP status on terms similar to those applicable to British citizens.

A BPP may renounce BPP status on the same basis as a British citizen. However there is no provision to resume BPP status after renunciation.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ UK Border Agency. "Chapter 54: British protected persons - general information". Nationality instructions 1. p. 18. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Protectorates and Protected States". UK Home Office. Paragraph 2.10. Retrieved 15 July 2013. "No person could be a statutory BPP by virtue of a connection with a former Protected State or mandated territory." 
  3. ^ HC Deb, 30 June 1960 vol 625 cc145-6W
  4. ^ See section 9(1)(a) of the The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order in Council, 1949, article 10(a) and 12 of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1965, article 10(1) of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1974, article 8(1) of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1978 and article 6(1) of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1982.
  5. ^ a b c Per the provisions set out and listed in Schedule to The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1982.
  6. ^ a b c d e See article 13 of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1978 and article 10 of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1982.
  7. ^ a b article 6(4) of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1974.
  8. ^ a b section 4 of the Solomon Islands Act 1978.
  9. ^ Section 5(a) of the British Nationality Act 1948.
  10. ^ See section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981, as inserted by the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

External links[edit]