New Opportunity for British Citizenship – for Applicants of Chagossian descent

The UK Home office has introduced a new application process to obtain British citizenship/British overseas territories citizenship. This is a welcoming news for the applicants of Chaggosian descent as the people had been driven away from their homeland in 1967 and are still fighting to return.


Looking back, the UK government in 2002 decided to grant British citizenship to citizens of the British Overseas Territories giving the Chaggossians British Citizenship as well. But this grant was limited to those people born on the islands of Chagos and their immediate children which tore many families apart as it did not apply to grandchildren or great grandchildren. After numerous campaigns, the parliament introduced and passed an amendment by the Nationality and Borders Act in 2022 which allowed for the opportunity for ‘People of Chagossian descent’ to register as British Citizens if they choose to within a period of 5 years.

Our immigration team is comprised of Solicitors and Barristers with decades of experience at the very highest levels of immigration law. Members of the team are regularly instructed to deal with all types of points based applications along with family visas, visit visas and general appeals and are involved in judicial review and immigration appeal tribunal hearings at all levels. Our team has the expertise to deal with all immigration issues and the desire to ensure our clients achieve only the best possible results. Our team firmly believes that immigration matters ought to have specialist legal attention from the very outset when it matters the most.

The application process opened on 23 November for the people of Chaggossian descent and there is no application fee. However, as the Home Office has set a time limit on these applications it is imperative that correct legal advice and representation is sought so the application can be successful within the time limit set by the Home Office. Those who are already 18 or over will have five years from 23 November 2022 to apply.

How to Apply

You can apply to become a British overseas territories citizen and a British citizen if you meet both of these conditions:

  • you’ve never previously been a British overseas territories citizen, British dependent territories citizen, or British citizen
    • you’re the direct descendant of someone born in British Indian Ocean Territory

We can help you apply online or by post, once the application has been submitted, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will ask you to make an appointment to provide fingerprints and a photo. You’ll need to bring supporting documents unless they have already been posted with the application. The decision is typically made within 6 months but in some cases, it could take longer and additional information may be sought.

Our experienced professionals will help you by carrying out a detailed assessment of your personal circumstances to ensure you meet the relevant criteria. We ensure that you have the correct documents to support and strengthen your case. We complete and submit your application, on your behalf, to the best standard. We will arrange for legal representation at court to assist your application if needed. We will keep you updated in regards to your application and aware of your current position.

Requirements for the Application

The requirements for the application are relatively simple, as the applicants need to provide evidence of their direct descent from someone born on the Islands of Chagos. For Assistance in meeting this requirement which may not be so straightforward to prove, the Home Office has published caseworker guidance on these citizenship applications in which have defined ‘direct descendant’ as:

‘Direct descendants are the biological children and grandchildren of an ancestor. For example, you are a direct descendant of your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother, and so on. This also applies to the paternal side and includes your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather and so on. Direct descendants do not refer to aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, cousins, and so on.’

Apart from ID and two references to verify identity, further Evidence of direct descent may include birth certificates and birth records, but medical or dental records, marriage or civil partnership certificates, change of name deed polls and factual records (including court proceedings) may also be included

Where an applicant does not have access to a copy of their ancestor’s birth certificate, the BIOT should be able to help with verifying the applicant’s Chagossian ancestry.

You are not eligible to apply if you have ever previously been a BOTC or British Dependent Territories citizen.

We Provide a Bespoke UK Immigration Service

We are a UK Solicitors law firm and are fully authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and as a professional law firm are completely exempt from requiring authorisation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Many businesses offering immigration services are only OISC regulated and as such are not professional legal organisations such as Solicitors firms or Barristers’ chambers. OISC businesses are not allowed to do legal work before the Courts such as Judicial Review or statutory challenges of Home Office decisions. Also as a professional organisation our policy is not to employ sales staff to give you “advice” (all our telephone consultations are handled by lawyers). We are often instructed at immigration appeal stages in cases that ‘immigration businesses’ have dealt with and which were clearly hopeless applications at the outset. When you instruct us, qualified immigration solicitors or immigration barristers work on your case from the outset when it matters the most in order to ensure no time and money is wasted and more importantly that no mistakes are made.

We are a leading London Law Firm

As a leading law firm with a track record of success, you can be assured your immigration matter is in safe hands and that the best strategy for your case will be adopted. It is crucial that you seek specialist legal advice at the outset and prior to making any type of immigration application. We can assist you with your applications for any type of Visa or permit and any form of leave to remain (or for entry clearance) under the points based system. We ensure our clients comply with the Immigration Rules and the strict requirements of the UKBA prior to making an application, thereby eliminating much of the stress of the application process.

Expert UK Immigration Lawyers, London

If you have a UK Immigration matter and want expert legal advice, we invite you to contact us so we can assess your case. We can subsequently provide urgent help, advice or representation to clients from our expert legal team of leading UK Immigration solicitors and barristers. Just call or email us now; our London immigration lawyers team are waiting to help.

To contact us about your case call ☎ 02030110276 or email

[email protected]

Please note: If you have received an Immigration ruling or notice or otherwise have deadlines then do not delay in contacting us for assistance as soon as possible.

Authored by Tehreem Fatima, Paralegal

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