Helping you to navigate your path to British citizenship

Entering the Isle of Man through Ireland: the definitive guide
Entering the Isle of Man through Ireland: the definitive guide
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Helping you to navigate your path to British citizenship

Our dedicated team of immigration, naturalisation and nationality law experts is here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring that your naturalisation, British citizenship registration or passport applications are successful. This post will help you understand the differences between three concepts: nationality, naturalisation and citizenship.

Starting with terminology, we find that the concepts of naturalisation, nationality and citizenship are often misunderstood.

Nationality refers to the legal relationship between an individual and a state, often indicating the country where a person has been born or holds significant ties.

Naturalisation is the legal process through which a non-citizen can acquire citizenship or nationality of a country, typically after fulfilling specific residency and legal requirements.

Citizenship is a legal status granted by a state that entitles an individual to its protection, rights, and responsibilities. It is often synonymous with the notion of being a full member of a nation-state.

One can either make a naturalisation application or apply to register as a British citizen, there is no “citizenship application” as such. Until a person obtains citizenship by birth, naturalisation or registration, they cannot obtain a passport.

Types of British Nationality

In 1983, the British Nationality Act came into force, establishing a framework for determining UK nationality. The Act defines six different types of UK nationality, all of which can be evidenced by a British passport:

British Citizen: British citizens constitute the largest number of British nationals by far. They are free from immigration control, meaning they have the right of abode and can live and work in the UK without restrictions. British citizenship is determined by factors such as birth location, birth date, and the nationality status of one’s parents at the time of birth.

British Overseas Territories Citizen: This status applies to individuals who have migrated to the UK from a British Overseas Territory or those born in the UK as descendants of BOTCs.

British Overseas Citizen: British overseas citizens are British nationals who do not have the right of abode. This status applies to those who retained their British nationality after their countries gained independence.

British Subject: Historically, British subjects were individuals with a close connection to the UK until 1949. Commonwealth citizens were referred to as British subjects until 1983. Today, the number of British subjects is very limited, typically including those people who were born in Ireland before 1949 and did not become Irish citizens.

British National (Overseas): This category includes people with ties to Hong Kong before 1997. These individuals became British Nationals (Overseas) from that date onward. They do not have the right of abode in the UK, but they and their families may apply for a special visa entitling them to live and work in the Isle of Man.

British Protected Person: This status was granted in 1983 to individuals who were citizens or nationals of former British protectorates (formerly, British-ruled areas which were never formally incorporated into the British Empire) or those who already held this status before the Act came into effect.

What is the difference between a British citizen and a British national?

The distinction between a British citizen and a British national lies in the right of abode. This right determines your eligibility to reside permanently in a specific country. Those with the right of abode are exempt from immigration control and can live and work in the United Kingdom without needing official permission from the Home Office. Every British citizen has the right of abode in the UK, but not all British nationals possess this right.

You may be a British citizen without realising it in which case you will have to make a passport application or register as a British citizen. We are here to help you figure this complicated process out.

Contact Us Today

We advise on all types of Isle of Man immigration, nationality and passport applications. Kinley Legal can be contacted by direct message or by sending an e-mail to contact@kinleylegal.com or by completing our simple contact form and we will be in contact with you about your immigration needs and how best to resolve matters.