British overseas citizen

You became a British overseas citizen on 1 January 1983 if both of these applied:

you were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies on 31 December 1982
you didn’t become either a British citizen or a British overseas territories citizen on 1 January 1983
Hong Kong
If you were a British overseas territories citizen only because of your connection with Hong Kong you lost that citizenship on 30 June 1997 when sovereignty returned to China.

However, you became a British overseas citizen if either:

you had no other nationality and would have become stateless
you were born on or after 1 July 1997 and would have been born stateless if one of your parents was a British national (overseas) or British overseas citizen when you were born
Rights as a British overseas citizen
You can:

hold a British passport
get consular assistance and protection from UK diplomatic posts
Unless you’re also a British citizen:

you’re still subject to immigration controls – you don’t have the automatic right to live or work in the UK
you aren’t considered a UK national by the European Union (EU)
Become a British overseas citizen
You can only apply to become a British overseas citizen in limited circumstances.

Stateless people

You may be able to register as a British overseas citizen if you’re stateless (not recognised by any country as having a nationality) and both of these apply:

you were born in the UK or an overseas territory
one of your parents is a British overseas citizen
You may also be able to register if you’re stateless and all of these apply:

you were born outside the UK and qualifying territories
one of your parents is a British overseas citizen
you’ve lived in the UK or an overseas territory for 3 years or more
You have to fill in different forms depending on whether you were:

born before 1 January 1983 – read the guidance and fill in Form S1
born on or after 1 January 1983 – read the guidance and fill in Form S2
Children

A child under 18 can be registered as a British overseas citizen in special circumstances.

Read the guidance notes before you apply using Form MN3.

British citizenship
You may be able to register as a British citizen if you’re a British overseas citizen and meet certain conditions.