The Chagos Islands… The Chagos archipelago is a place close to our heart as the founder of Bonheur Legal originates from the Islands. It is a place that has seen its’ inhabitants expelled from their own land by the UK and made homeless between 1967 and 1973 in order for the US to set-up a military base.
In 2002, the UK agreed to grant British citizenship to British Overseas Territories citizens which meant that the Chagossians and their children could gain British citizenship. This however did not extend to grandchildren and great-grand-children.
After years of campaigning, the Government has agreed to amend the Nationality and Border Act, such that the British nationality has now been extended to People of Chagossian descent. The chagossian descent have a five-year period to register as British citizens.
Applying for the British Citizenship
The application process is now opened and since the 23 November 2022, the applicants can apply for British overseas territory citizenship or British citizenship at the same time and if successful, will obtain both statuses.
Applications can be made online at https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/nationality-biot
Note that if you live overseas, you will be required to attend a biometric appointment at a visa centre as part of the application process.
As part of the requirements, the applicants will have to provide evidence that they are a descent of a Chagossian born in the Chagos Islands. This can include marriage certificates, court records etc. It is our understanding that the Home Office will approach each case on its own merits and where evidence might be lacking, they will attempt to check their records to locate this.
The application is free of charge.
How can we assist
We can help you with the whole application and some of our staff can speak and write in creole.