Who is a British subject?
This page explains what a British subject is and what that status means.
In some circumstances, British subjects are able to register as British citizens.
The rules about British subject status changed in 1949 and again in 1983, so those dates are important when deciding if someone is a British subject.
Until 1949, nearly everyone with a close connection to the United Kingdom was called a British subject. And all citizens of Commonwealth countries were British subjects until January 1983. Since that date, very few categories of people have qualified as British subjects.
You became a British subject on 1 January 1983 if, up to that date, you were:
- a British subject without citizenship, which means you were a British subject on 31 December 1948 who did not become a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, a citizen of a Commonwealth country, a citizen of Pakistan, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland;
- a person who had been a citizen of Eire and a British subject on 31 December 1948 and had made a claim to remain a British subject; or
- a woman who had registered as a British subject on the basis of your marriage to a man who was in one of the two categories above.
If you are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who was born before 1 January 1949 and you did not make a claim to remain a British subject, as above, you may do so in certain circumstances.
British subjects normally cannot pass on that status to their children if the children were born after 1 January 1983. But a child may be a British subject in certain circumstances.
A person who is stateless may be able to register as a British subject in certain circumstances.
Since 1 January 1983, a person who gains citizenship of any other country can no longer be a British subject. However, this does not apply to a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who has made a claim to remain a British subject as explained above.
If you are not sure of your position or need more information, contact us.
MORE NEWS AND UPDATES
- Immigration fees change on 6 April 2013
- Changes to the Immigration Rules - April 2013
- Revisions to the codes of practice for skilled migrant workers
- New immigration fees proposed