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  • Writer's pictureRosy Leveque

Home Office - Update on the proposed new route for Chagossians to acquire British nationality

Tuesday 25th April 2025, Home office published their latest guidance/FAQ on the proposed new route for Chagossians to acquire British Nationality. This guiadnce has been translated to Kreol word for word in a YouTube video by Rosy Leveque which you can access here:

You can also access the link directly on the Home Office webpage here.

Below you can also find the guidance copied directly from the Home Office webpage:

Important information for Chagossians

The UK wants to change British nationality law so that direct descendants of those born on the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) will be able to apply for both British Overseas Territories Citizenship (BOTC) and British Citizenship.

Don’t do anything yet

This change is currently being considered by the UK Parliament, which will need to agree it before it can become law. This law is expected to pass by early May 2022.

Once the law has been changed, it will not come into force straight away. A date will be agreed for when the law comes into force. The UK Home Office needs this time to set up the process for applicants, wherever they live, to make an application for BOTC and British Citizenship. This will include creating access to historical records which will help applicants demonstrate they are the direct descendant of someone born on BIOT.

We will let you know how and when to apply

The UK Home Office will provide further updates when the law is passed and we know the commencement date, and when we are ready to accept applications. We will send updates as soon as we are able to and will include Chagossian communities in Mauritius, UK and the Seychelles.

The new law will give adult applicants (over-18 years old) five years from the commencement date to make a free application. This means the time we take to get everything ready to help you apply for nationality, will not affect your application – you will still have five years from the commencement date.

Your children (under-18 years old) can be included on your application, but to ensure no one misses out, they will also have until they reach the age of 23 to apply in their own right.

You don’t need to come to the UK to apply

Your application will not be considered sooner if you come to the UK and cannot be considered before the new law commences.

It is important that you take time to fully understand the process, the information you will need to supply, the implications of becoming a BOTC and a British citizen, and the options available to you.

If you are successful in applying for BOTC or British Citizenship and wish to move to the UK, you will need to think carefully about how you will support yourself in the UK. There is no automatic right for help from the UK Government such as financial assistance or housing support for you and your family. Advice about relocating to the UK will be available through the British High Commissions in Port Louis and Victoria once the application process has launched.

Frequently asked questions

1. Do I have to wait for the Bill to pass to come to UK? Can I go to UK and Home Office will pick up my application when I arrive?

You do not need to come to the UK to apply for citizenship. Applications can be made from your current country of residence. The Home Office is unable to accept any applications until the law has been passed and the application process is ready. Applications from those in the UK will not be prioritised or considered sooner than those submitted from Mauritius or Seychelles.

2. Can my spouse come with me to the UK even though they are not British?

British citizens wishing to bring their non-British spouse to the UK will need to make the appropriate family visa application and meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules in the normal way. Further information can be found at GOV.UK.

We will explain the immigration options for family members when the route is launched, including what further support and advice there will be to assist Chagossian families seeking to settle in the UK.

3. What support will the UK Government provide to assist me making an application and settling in the UK?

Information on how to apply will be given when the process is launched. In addition, the UK Government is also considering whether the Chagossian Support Package could be used to provide additional support to Chagossians seeking to register as British citizens.

4. What can I do right now to prepare for the launch of the application process? Should I gather documents?

Any official documents you already have that demonstrate your family connection to someone born on BIOT, such as birth and marriage certificates will be useful evidence to gather now. We will provide further information on what documents will be needed as we finalise the application process.

5. What do I do if I don’t have copies of my birth and marriage certificates? Can I get access to them?

FCDO is working hard to identify what historical records, in particular relating to birth and marriage information, can be made available for use in establishing a person’s family relationships with someone born on BIOT. We will also seek to use passport and nationality records we hold to verify claims.

6. When I get BOTC, can I live on BIOT? Why is there BOTC and not BIOT Citizenship?

BOTC is British Overseas Territories Citizenship. It is one of six different forms of British nationality that someone can hold today. It is possible to hold multiple forms of British nationality at once.

BOTC nationality status is only available to those with a continuing connection to one of the 14 British Overseas Territories, including the British Indian Ocean Territory. There is no difference between the nationality status someone has as BOTC connected to for example Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, or BIOT.

BOTC status does not given any legal right to reside in the UK or any of the British Overseas Territories. Those rights are governed by each territory’s local immigration laws.

In the case of BIOT, the law states no person of any nationality is able to reside there without the permission of the BIOT Administration.

BOTC status does however give holders access to British citizenship. Once BOTC holders acquire British citizenship they also acquire a right to reside in the UK. Under the new route for Chagossians, you will be able to apply for both BOTC and British citizenship at the same time.

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