Your Story is Your Voice
It's time that your voice is heard, your family united, and nationality by-descent acknowledged.
Audrey's Story - Anguilla
Audrey was born in 1967 in Boston MA, USA. Audrey’s father was born in 1946 in the British colony now overseas territory called Anguilla. Her grandparents on her father’s side were born also born in Anguilla. Audrey’s mother was born in France but lived her later years in Canada where she met her father. Audrey’s father never married her mother. When Audrey looked into getting her father British Overseas Territories citizenship, she was told that her application would not be accepted because her father never married her mother. Audrey’s father is now deceased. She feels disappointed that her father’s homeland island and mother country rejects her making her feel like an outcast.
”It’s bad enough having to deal with the stigma of being
born out of wedlock, but then to be told you are not valid hurts me to the core.”
Joseph's Story - British Virgin Islands
Joseph was born in 1972 in Atlanta, GA, USA. His mother was defined as a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies ‘CUKC’ being born in the British Virgin Islands ‘BVI’. She comes from a long line of descendants who were born and lived in the BVI. His father was from Puerto Rico. At the time, his parents did not marry for very good reasons. In fact, they did not marry. When Joseph wanted to identify as British and decided to try and claim his mother’s British citizenship by descent, his application was turned down. He was told that children born abroad to CUKC mothers before 1983 are viewed as ineligible for British citizenship and his application was rejected. He feels deprived.
“I am my British mother’s flesh & blood, to be shown the door by officials when I was trying to just embrace my heritage hurts deep.”
Rogers' Story - Anguilla
Rogers was born in Anguilla in 1988. Her mother was born in St. Kitts in 1968, and naturalized in Anguilla in 2005, based on her residency. Her father was born in Anguilla in 1966 and holds a British Overseas Territories passport. In 2002, after the British Overseas Territories Act was introduced, he automatically becomes a British citizen. Sadly, he passed away in 2019. Her grandparents were also born in Anguilla. So her connections with being Anguillan & British are strong. After applying for a British passport, Rogers was informed that due to the fact she was born outside of marriage, and her parents never married, she is not eligible for BOTC or British passports.
“I don’t understand why the UK & Anguilla government officials cannot see me as a valid citizen. Denying me just because my father did not marry my mother is so very wrong and out of date with the modern way of life. I have a right to belong and be recognized.”
Shelley's Story - St. Helenia
I was born March 1979 in South Africa, raised by my St. Helenian-born mother born in 1943, and my St. Helenian maternal grandparents who were also married on the island.
My mother was not married at the time of my birth, and my father's details are unknown. They arrived in South Africa as British subjects and were all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
My whole childhood was centered on my St. Helenian heritage, and I was taught from a young age to be proud of it!
Two years ago, I decided to get in touch with my heritage and submitted all documents required to "claim my heritage" left for me by my mother and my grandparents. They, at that time, according to their passports, stated they were valid for all parts of the commonwealth and all foreign countries.
I received this reply via the immigration office, who informed me that: “I am not entitled to citizenship because I was born to a Saint Helena mother, but had it been my father, I would have been entitled.” COMPLETE discrimination, yet here we are in 2021 and nothing has been done to assist the adult children of BOTC to claim retrospective rights to British & British Overseas Territories citizenship.
For St. Helenian status, a person must first qualify for British Dependent Territories Citizenship - we use the British Nationalities Act (BNA) to ascertain this. We use the dates of birth of the person in question to refer to the relevant BNA.
Here's the response I got back from the UK Immigration & Nationality Service:
"In response to your email below, I can confirm that your mother and grandparents qualified as follows:
As you were born in 1979, we referred to the previous 1948 British Nationalities act. The 1948 act gives preference to the male line (as was very common to do with a lot of situations in those days). You didn't gain status because of the following clause in the BNA 1948 5 (I) "Subject to the provisions of this section, a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if his father is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the birth..." the keyword being "father."
So basically, this means is that if your father was born in St Helena, you might have qualified for British Overseas Territories Citizenship; however, your father is unknown, and unfortunately, the descent cannot be passed to you via your mother, and you yourself were not born in St. Helena.
I understand you might think this unfortunate and unfair, but this was the law in those days, and the repercussions still resonate."
"British Subjects - Part 1.1. (1) (a) Any person born within His Majesty's dominions and allegiance - under the British Nationalities Act 1914.
“Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies -12. (I) (a) .... born within the territories... -
transitional under the British Nationalities Act 1948”
“British Dependent Territories Citizen - 23. (1) (a) immediately before commencement, he was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who had that citizenship by his birth in a dependent territory - acquisition at commencement under the British Nationalities Act 1981.”
Your mother and grandparents were all born in St Helena; thus, they all qualified as British Dependent Territories Citizens (BDTC) under the British Nationalities Act 1981.
We would welcome your support for our campaign.