The rights of a person born in Djibouti in 1962 holding a British passport issued in 1985 with the designation "British Overseas Citizen" and a United Kingdom visa issued in 1996 valid until 2006, with the notation "cancelled" on the first few pages [GBR33585.E]

British Overseas Citizens do not have right of abode in Britain (Shutter 1995, 232). Information from the British passport office states "the British Nationality Act, 1981 came into force in 1983 and replaced all earlier nationality laws. Citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies was replaced by three separate citizenships: British citizenship, British Dependent Territories citizenship and British Overseas citizenship. (United Kingdom 16 Dec. 1999) Two other categories, British Protected Person and British subject status were also created, and another category, British National (Overseas) has since been created (ibid.; Shutter 1995, 1). British citizens have the right of abode; the other categories are "subject to immigration control and therefore their passports have immigration stamps showing any time limit and conditions on their stay" (Shutter 1995, 232).

Djibouti gained its independence from France in June 1977 (Europa 1999, 1207). According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), British Overseas Citizens are people who were "born in a place that used to be a British colony but did not qualify for citizenship under the law of the new independent country or of any other country and therefore retained their British nationality" (Shutter 1995, 311). The British Passport office defines British Overseas Citizens as persons "who have a connection with a former British colony (e.g. Kenya colony) who did not become citizens of those countries when they became independent and did not become British Citizens" (United Kingdom 16 Dec. 1999). Thus, it is unclear from sources consulted under what circumstances a person born in Djibouti would acquire British Overseas citizenship.

There is also a special quota system dating from 1968 under which certain British nationals (including British Overseas Citizens) who are under pressure to leave the east or central African countries in which they reside can apply to be admitted to Britain.This system is primarily for people of Asian origin who "derived their British Overseas citizenship from birth or residence in a former British Dependency in east or central Africa" (IND June 1998, Chapter 7 Section 2, Annex C).

Two references to the notation "cancelled" appearing in a British passport were found. The JCWI Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook states:

Most British passports issued before 1 January 1983 describe the holder, on page 1, as a 'British subject: Citizen of the UK and Colonies.' If this is the case, turn to page 5 of the passport. This usually says 'holder has the right of abode in the UK.' If this is in the passport, and has not been crossed off, it is almost certain the holder is now a British citizen…If the wording on page 5 has been cancelled, then it is likely that the holder is now a British Dependent Territories citizen or a British Overseas citizen. This will mean that he or she does not have right of abode in the UK and will need to fit into the immigration rules, or get a special quota voucher to come to stay in the UK (Shutter 1995, 278).

In the section of the instructions to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate staff that deals with Refusal of Leave to Enter, it is stated that "In cases where it is decided to cancel refusal of leave to enter [e.g., new information has come to light] and grant indefinite or limited leave in its place, the refusal stamp in the passenger's passport should be endorsed "cancelled" and the indefinite or limited leave stamps should be endorsed as near to the refusal stamp as possible…." (Chapter 9, Section 6).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Europa World Year Book 1999. 1999. Vol. 1. London: Europa Publications Ltd.

Shutter, Sue.1995. JCWI Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook. London: Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)

United Kingdom. Immigration and Naturalization Directorate (IND), Home Office, London. June 1998. "Immigration Directorates' Instructions."  [Accessed 6 Jan. 2000]

_____. UK Passport Agency. [last modified 16 Dec. 1999] "Eligibility for a British Passport"  [Accessed 6 Jan. 6 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

Immigration and Nationality Law and Practice [London]. Quarterly. 1995-1999. Tolley Publishing Company.

United Kingdom. British Nationality Act 1981. (1981 c 61) 1990. Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales Vol. 31. London: Butterworths.

_____. Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

_____. The Immigration Rules (includes all changes up to and including 31 July 1997).  [Accessed Jan. 6 2000]

_____. Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules: Laid Before Parliament on 5 July 1993 Under Section 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971.

United Nations Commission on Human Rights. 1998. (E/CN.4/1999/4). Human Rights and Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality: Report of the Secretary General.