We are writing to tell your readers about two little-known entitlements to British citizenship held by members of Hong Kong's ethnic minorities. Many of these people do not know they are actually British nationals already.
There have been no recent changes to British law but, following clarifications received this year from the Indian and Nepalese authorities, it has become clear that some people born in Hong Kong - who must to date have never held a British National (Overseas) passport - can register as British citizens.
Solely Nepalese passport holders born in Hong Kong before June 30, 1976, who have never held a BN(O) passport may qualify for a British Overseas citizenship passport if they did not formally renounce their British nationality upon turning 21. Solely Indian passport holders born in Hong Kong before the same date [note: SCMP editorial error, the date should be 30 June 1979 for those of Indian origin] who have never held a BN(O) passport may qualify if they did not formally renounce British nationality upon turning 18.
In most cases, applicants will be able to obtain a British Overseas citizen passport on application at the British consulate. To acquire the right of abode in Britain, they will need to make a separate application to the consulate for British citizenship, to be forwarded to the Home Office.
LORD AVEBURY, House of Lords, and TAMEEM A. EBRAHIM, London
Correction published in SCMP - Wednesday, 29 November, 2006
The letter "British citizenship", published on Monday advised that solely Indian passport holders born in Hong Kong before June 30, 1976, who have never held British National (Overseas) passports may qualify for British Overseas citizen passports and can register as British citizens if they did not formally renounce British nationality upon turning 18. In fact, the cut-off date was June 30, 1979.