British Nationality

The terms British national  and British citizen do not mean the same thing. At its simplest British nationality might be thought to capture those persons, natural and legal, who belong to the UK or who are to be attributed to it under its domestic law. However not all British nationals have the right to come and go freely into and from the UK.

For historical reasons dating back to the colonial era there are six classes of British national, only one of which – British citizen –  carries the right of abode in the UK. The other classes of British national arise out of connections either with current British overseas territories or with former British possessions.

Only some classes and descriptions of British national are considered to be ‘UK nationals’ so as to be EU Citizens for the purposes of EU law and free movement within the European Union.

Care must also be taken to consider which classes of British national may properly be considered classes of British nationality for particular purposes in international law and when considering human rights treaties.

All six classes of British national are listed below. Each one has a page on which you can access relevant articles and posts.

At present there six classes of British national:


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